By Dan Ambrose: WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley’s trainer Teddy Atlas came firing back at Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach this week in response to Roach saying that he didn’t see any improvements that Atlas had made since he took over as the trainer for the 32-year-old Bradley.
Roach also said that Bradley is already a finished product, a made fighter in other words, and that there’s nothing that Atlas can add to his game.
In response to those comments, Atlas fired back, saying that Roach has made a career out of training fighters that came to him already the finished product as far as development goes. Atlas uses Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao as examples of that. Both fighters were already talented and successful before Roach started training them.
“I think Cotto was already a made fighter,” Atlas said to esnewsreporting. “I thought Pacquiao was already made. He [Roach] would know, because he’s been with a lot of made fighters. You know what? Trust what he said, because he would be the expert on that, because that’s where he made his career on made fighters,” Atlas said
It’s hard to argue with what Atlas is saying about Roach having been with fighters that were already developed at the time that he got them. That’s one of the benefits of Roach having Pacquiao as one of his fighters.
With the success that Pacquiao has had over the years, it’s caused a lot of fighters to come to Roach thinking that he can improve their own games and make them successful like Pacquiao. The thing is Pacquiao was already very good before he came to Roach, and he likely would have just as good if another training had been with him all these years instead of Roach.
What Roach did do for Pacquiao was teach him how to use his right hand. When Pacquiao first came to Roach, he was pretty much just a one-handed fighter in mainly using his left hand. But Roach did a good job of teaching Pacquiao how to use his right hand, and that made him a well-rounded fighter and almost unbeatable.
It’s debatable whether Atlas is really doing anything at all to help Tim Bradley’s game. If anything, it’s more mental. Bradley believes that Atlas is helping him, so it’s possible that the belief that he’s getting will help him fight a little harder than he did before. The main thing that I think Atlas gives Bradley is someone that can get him to listen to the instructions given to him, and to make him think more about using his boxing skills instead of him slugging all the time.
If Atlas can keep Bradley from going toe-to-toe so much, I think Atlas will be a huge improvement over Bradley’s previous trainer Joel Diaz. But for Atlas to accomplish that task, he’s going to need to get in Bradley’s face in between rounds and bark at him when he’s making mistakes by slipping back into his old brawling style. Bradley is getting up there in age, and he’s got to learn to start fighting smarter now. Atlas might be able to help Bradley be a smarter fighter.
“We considered Adrien Broner before this fight was made. Khan, Bradley, Marquez, and the rematch with Floyd,” Pacquiao said to fightnews.com. “I chose Bradley because he is a different and improved fighter now. I am impressed with his performance. He knocked [Rios] out with body shots. We know Brandon Rios is hard to knock him out because he has a strong chin and legs. I think Brandon Rios underestimated Bradley.”
Bradley might be a better fighter now. Who knows? If Bradley is better, then that’s not a good thing for Pacquiao, because it means there’s a good chance that he’ll end his long 24-year pro career with a loss on April 9th rather than a win. It wouldn’t be a big deal for Pacquiao to go out on a loss, but with him having political aspirations in the Philippines, it might be a good idea for him to end his career with a win instead of a loss. I’m sure the voters will still vote him into the office even with him losing badly, but I think it would be interpreted as a negative for Pacquiao’s political career if he loses his final fight of his boxing career.