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"A Born Teacher Returns"

(Photo © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing)
(Photo © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing)

By Allan Scotto


On November 7th, 2015, Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley did something that he hasn’t done since November 12th, 2011.

He knocked someone out.

But, not just anyone, he knocked out Brandon Rios, a rough and tumble fighter who had never been knocked out before! The loss was so devastating for Rios; he emotionally announced his retirement before he even left the ring.

That is a very different story than what happened when Bradley fought Jessie Vargas on June 27th, 2015. Just like his first fight with Manny Pacquiao, the fight ended in controversy.


In the final round, after Bradley had dominated most of the fight, Vargas landed an overhand right that caused Bradley to stumble back into the ropes and he was in serious trouble as Vargas pounced on him.

Suddenly, with 7 seconds left in the fight, referee Pat Russell jumped between the two fighters and waved off the fight.

Everyone, including Vargas thought he had won by TKO.

But that was not the case. Russell had not stopped the fight, he had made a mistake.

As Vargas ran around the ring with his hands held high in victory, Russell announced to the judges that he thought he heard the bell.

After much discussion, the fight went to the scorecards and Bradley was awarded the decision, something Vargas and his handlers were rightfully extremely unhappy about. After all, when you’ve got a fighter in serious trouble, seven seconds is a very long time.

Many people in the boxing community felt that the fight should have been called a “no-contest” based on the fact that Vargas, who was undefeated entering the fight, had Bradley in serious trouble and Pat Russell made a major mistake, stopping the fight early. But, the decision stood and Bradley was awarded the win, but it was yet another win, tarnished by controversy.

After the Vargas fight, Bradley decided that he needed to make a change. In a surprising move, Bradley made the decision to part ways with his long-time trainer Joel Diaz and went about the task of finding a new trainer.

Somewhere in that process, Bradley turned to Teddy Atlas, who asked him two questions.

“I asked him if he knew what happened in the Vargas fight and he told me he got caught with a right hand,” Atlas said.

“I then asked him if he knew why he got caught with that punch and I explained to him that Vargas had been setting him up for that punch all along.”

After that conversation Bradley took some time to absorb what Atlas had explained to him and then he called Atlas back and asked if Teddy would be interested in coming on board as his trainer.

Most trainers would have jumped at the opportunity to train a world champion, but Atlas was conflicted and not so sure he wanted to commit himself to the pressure of running a training camp again.

After his stint with Alexander Povetkin, Atlas had retired from training fighters, concentrating his efforts on his duties as a color commentator for ESPN.

But after Bradley and Atlas had spoken, seeing that their father was very conflicted, Atlas’ children, Nicole and Teddy III, sat down with their father to discuss the situation.

While discussing the pros and cons of Atlas returning to train Bradley, they reminded him of something Cus D’Amato had told him years ago. “Dad,” they said, “you’re a teacher. It’s the very core of what you are!”

It was something that D’Amato had recognized when Atlas was only 19 years old and Atlas studied under Cus as D’Amato’s protégé.

But there was more to Atlas’ decision. Atlas really liked Timothy Bradley as well.

Teddy Atlas “I liked Timothy as a human being,” Atlas stated, “and it felt good to be around him because I could tell he was eager to learn.”

And so, Atlas signed on and in the ninth round of the Rios fight, it was obvious to everyone that was watching that a beautiful partnership had been formed.

Smiling broadly during the post-fight interview, Bradley told Max Kellerman, “Teddy said he’ll stay on for the next one, so I’m happy.”

Of course the big question is who will be standing across the ring for the next one?

Bradley is in the welterweight division and that division is rich with talent right now. Possible opponents for Bradley include, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, and of course he could fight Manny Pacquiao for a third time.

Some folks have offered an interesting scenario.

If Bradley were to fight Pacquiao again and beat him, that might lure Floyd Mayweather out of retirement to fight Bradley in an attempt to break Rocky Marciano’s record.

When asked about that, Atlas replied, “Timothy has an excellent manager in his wife Monica and he is promoted by Bob Arum, who is an excellent promoter, so I’m sure they will make the best moves for Timothy’s career.”

“But, if you’re asking me if I’d be interested in matching X’s and O’s with the best fighter of our generation,” Atlas continued, “I’m in.”

Discussing his partnership with Atlas, Bradley said to Max Kellerman, “This is after only seven weeks! Imagine a year from now, imagine two years from now! The sky’s the limit!”

For the team of Teddy Atlas and Timothy Bradley, it would appear that truer words have never been spoken.

Allan Scotto can be reached at: boxingriter@aol.com.



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