Clear 37° Good Afternoon
Clear 37° Good Afternoon

Why Teddy Atlas returned to train Timothy Bradley Jr. for fight with Brandon Rios

Teddy Atlas during the Premier Boxing Champions event

Teddy Atlas during the Premier Boxing Champions event at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida, on July 11, 2015. Photo Credit: Rob Foldy / ESPN Images

Teddy Atlas didn't want to go down this road again.

Too many times in the past, he had been recruited to take a fighter to the next level, only to be disappointed somewhere in the process.

The most recent occurrence was 2011 with Alexander Povetkin. Fighter and trainer had an agreement to split training time in the United States and Russia. It worked well enough for Povetkin to win the WBA heavyweight title. But after that, the fighter decided he didn't want to train in the States any longer. Atlas, who was equally as committed to his job as an ESPN boxing analyst, walked away.

So when the call came to train Timothy Bradley Jr., Atlas balked.

"I had been disappointed too many times," he said. "The business side of boxing, the stuff that goes on outside of the ring, usually ends up disappointing."

Throughout his career as a trainer and broadcaster, Atlas always has consulted his family when such offers arose. Even though he pretty much decided he would not train Bradley, he shared the information with his wife and children.

Atlas' daughter Nicole, 32, and a lawyer, said, "You are a teacher, you are a trainer. That's the essence of who you are."

His son, Teddy Jr., 30, the college scouting coordinator for the Oakland Raiders asked, "Do you think you can help him?"

Atlas responded in the affirmative.

"Then do it," his son said.

"If you can help someone," added Nicole, "it would really be a shame if you didn't share your knowledge."

So when Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) defends his WBO welterweight title Saturday night against Brandon Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs), Atlas will be in Bradley's corner. The fight airs on HBO from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, with the undercard bout of Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Romulo Koasicha kicking off the telecast at 9:30 p.m.

"My kids were right," said Atlas, 59. "When I was away from all the business side of things, the interference and people with agendas and I was with just this fighter and it was all about the teaching, it was still special to me."

To start, Atlas decided to spend three days with Bradley at his base in Palm Springs, California. They spent one day watching film and two days in the gym.

"There were two things I liked right away," said Atlas, 59. "His speed. He still has speed. And he's very intelligent. I had someone eager to listen and intelligent enough to understand what was being taught. He was willing to put his ego aside and open himself up to some new ideas."

Bradley, 32, is anxious to execute those ideas on Saturday night. He's been boxing professionally since 2004 and holds wins over Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and Ruslan Provodnikov.

"I am not the same fighter I was before," Bradley said on a conference call this week. "When Teddy came to camp he challenged me, not what I could do physically but my mental aspect of fighting. He took a book of images of certain rounds I had fought previously. There were notes about what I did right and what I did wrong. No trainer of mine has ever prepared for a fight like Teddy has for me against Rios."

New York Sports