ESPN analyst and sometimes trainer Teddy Atlas touched base with TSS on Tuesday, as he hustled about, just a scant two days away from the 14th annual Atlas Foundation Dinner.
The Dinner raises funds for the underprivileged, for those with no other place to turn after the regular charitable channels dry up. People call the Atlas Foundation begging, pleading, after the insurance company tells them no, that procedure your kid needs to stay alive is experimental...or they lack insurance, and the work to build a handicap accessible bathroom will cost $11,000..and coming up with $11 to feed mom, who lives off Social Security/Disability, and her two kids will in itself be a high hurdle.
Atlas was working the phones, calling up some of those folks whod shown up in prior years, but who hadnt yet told him theyd be attending. (Get more info if you want to give, or attend, here: www.dratlasfoundation.com/ But he was kind enough to answer some questions about the sport, and some of the recent headlines in the sweet science.
First things first...Atlas copped to his bum call, as he gave Margarito a good chance to spring the upset last Saturday in Dallas. Im not going to be a Monday morning revisionist, he said. I knew I was dead after one round. I knew he had to kill himself to make weight.
He had an inkling that this might be the case when he saw Margarito on 24/7, always with the workout clothes on, running the treadmill at 1 AM after getting to Texas from LA. I concurred...On Nov. 7, I wrote, Margarito, looking like he has not an ounce of fat to burn, weighs 154 pounds a few days he is to leave for Texas. Oh yes, the catchweight is in the contract for a reason, people. That last couple of pounds will be a b-tch. I didnt ever really latch on to the Tony-might-be-too-damn-big argument. I wrote on Nov. 12, Some will wonder if Manny’s too light, if he would not have been wiser to up the caloric intake to 8,000 or so calories a day, so he won’t give away so much weight to Margarito, who one figures will gain almost 15 pounds overnight. I say speed is his main edge, so maximize it, by being light on your feat.
Atlas figured Margarito could land the uppercut, but he didnt figure his strength would be so sapped as to render it lame. Yes, that weight advantage fight night was anything but.
I offer this comparison. You take a sponge, its bone dry, put water into it, it blows up. But it doesnt have the capacity to be a sponge anymore. Gaining all that weight, it told me he was dehydrated. He went beyond the limit, his body was compromised. He was not going to get the electrolytes, the potassium, get the fluids back. He was hurt before the fight.
Atlas also weighed in on the rumor mill having Oscar De La Hoya, inactive in the ring since he got pummeled by Pacquiao in Dec. 2008, coming back to fight Ricky Hatton, inactive since getting pummeled by Pacquiao in May.
What makes people tick is sometimes what destroys them, he said. Ego is part of the equation. Many fighters cant be satisfied by normal civilian life. I think a lot is ego gratification. And hes not picking Pacquiao. Hes looking at Hatton, who might be diminished, he figures he can get over him. And some of it could be greed. As much money as hes made, its hard to turn down $15 million, 10 million, whatever. Do you think Brett Favre would keep coming back if he wasnt making $16 million or whatever, think he would come back if he was only offered $1 million? Greed is a powerful, powerful monster. For the record, after this report came out, Oscar on Wednesday told Dan Rafael that it was baloney. Hmm. Was it a trial balloon, a leak to do some market research, and when public sentiment came back unenthused, the rumor was squashed?
Who will Manny fight next will probably be the most persistent theme in the fightgame in the next six or so weeks. Atlas would like to see Manny-Money, as would we all, and if we see it, hes still taking Mayweather. Mannys not going to put those fast hands on Floyd the way he has on other guys, Atlas said. Floyd matches him in size, is maybe a little bigger, and can match or maybe surpass him in skill. And in dimensions, fight inside, outside. And he matches Manny in one other area: confidence. Nobody is talking about that.
If that falls through, Atlas said hes a fan of junior welter titlist Timothy Bradley, as a person and fighter, and likes his ability to fight inside and outside. He also would love to see Pacman take a challenge from the Cuban, Yuriorkis Gamboa, the featherweight champ who has fought as high as 133 1/2, in 2007. Gamboa is probably too small, but as far as pure ability, pure speed....
Looking ahead to this Saturday, the Williams-Martinez sequel, Atlas likes Williams, for his youth, and in the belief that he has the capacity to improve a bit, more so than Martinez. Im going to take the taller, the longer guy, the southpaw, he said. He could see Williams cutting down to 147, for the money, to meet Manny, if he wins.
Atlas and me are on the same page regarding Shane Mosley--he has no desire to see Mosley, 2-2-1 in his last five, get a chance at Pacman. Nah, I dont want to see that. That ship has sailed. Im not saying its lights out completely for Mosley, but we saw that movie, against Mayweather, and it didnt end well. Atlas pondered if Mosley without PEDs* is as effective, and if he might need that extra edge to fight at the A grade level. And if Pacman didnt demand Olympic style testing, Atlas pondered...But that isnt a reason to make that fight, he said. Mosley is what, 40? I have no interest in seeing him anymore. Thanks for the memories, but hes not a guy Id go out of my way to watch.
SPEEDBAG Had a good time at the open workout to check out Zsolt Erdei Monday, at the Trinity Gym in NYC. I chatted with Erdeis promoter, Lou Dibella, and he said hed love to get Manny in with Martinez, if Martinez wins Saturday. But I dont want to jinx myself, look past Paul Williams, the promoter said. One thing that maybe hasnt been factored in...the inter promotional battling could really influence who we see Manny fight next more so than usual. Williams is with Al Haymon, and you all recall that the Arum-Haymon-Schaefer-Greenburg negotiations for the Manny-Manny fight exploded into a snarly catfight of claims, counterclaims, and offers of lie detector tests. We might not be so likely to see an Arum-Haymon pairup in the near future...
--Had a nice chat with website publisher/advisor to fighters Greg Leon. The Bronx-based Leon, age 32, has made a move in the last couple of years away from the keyboard tapping world, and into the advisor/management sphere. He handles Erdei, as well as Allan Green, and was in the news on Nov. 8th, when he put out this release. Allan Greens advisor (and Boxingtalk principal) Greg Leon has formally notified the Nevada State Athletic Commission of Greens intent to appeal referee Robert Byrds decision to call a halt to his bout this past Saturday evening against Glen Johnson in Las Vegas. With Green ahead on two of the official scorecards, Johnson was awarded a knockout victory at the close of the eighth round. Green went to the canvas after receiving what he feels were rabbit punches. Although Green beat the count, Byrd stopped the bout and Johnson was declared the winner. To handle this appeal, Leon has hired attorney Josh Dubin, who successfully had Timothy Bradleys originally declared knockout victory over Nate Campbell changed to a no contest in California. The appeal will be filed by the end of the week, and the rules of the NSAC entitle Mr. Green to a decision within sixty days of the filing of his petition. A review of the fight makes it clear that the blow which put Mr. Green to the canvass, and led to Mr. Byrd stopping the fight, was a rabbit blow. No question about it. There is absolutely no point in having rules in the first place if they are not going to be enforced. Now it is just a matter of asking the Nevada State Athletic Commission to apply its own rules. That is all we ask for. I have full confidence that the Commission will do that, said Dubin. At the time of the stoppage, Green was ahead on two of the three scorecards. Said Leon, the fight was close, no doubt about that. But my guy was winning and I just want him be able to win or lose within the rules. He was hit in the back of the head at the end of the third round and then again in the eighth. He should have been given time to recover. I just hope the Nevada Commission hears our case fairly. If they do that, I have no doubt they will overturn the referees decision.
I checked, and re-checked, the replay of the Johnson knockdown. I see Green leaning waaaay over to his right side, offering the side of his head to be hit. I see Johnson landing a hard right, which to me looks like it lands on the side of the head, towards the back. And the followup grazes Green, and looks to graze his chin area. I dont see the shots as being anything close to conclusive fouls. That said, I must admire Leon for going out on the limb for Green, a guy, who, it must be said, hasnt truly stepped up and delivered when given the chance. Its worth the roll of the dice for Leon and Green, considering that unless something changes in Greens head, he is not likely to again be given the opportunity for a big TV fight. Now, a battle after a couple decent wins, against a Euro titlist looking for a soft touch, thats another story..
More on Leon. He and Bernard Hopkins go way back. Hes let Bernard babble on B-Talk for years. So Leon told me Hopkins called him while he was at dinner with Erdei, and they chatted, and things simmered, and Hopkins basically said hes like to battle Erdei if and when he gets past Jean Pascal on Dec. 18. Why, Greg? Hopkins wants this guy, he said. I think he wants to beat a white guys, cause Calzaghe is white. Thats my opinion. You will recall Hopkins drew justified fire when in March 2008, before his fight with Calzaghe, he said, I aint ever gonna lose to a white boy. For what its worth...
--Lastly, points to Leon for honesty. I asked him if Erdei, with a 31-0 mark, but with just 17 KOs, is boring to watch. Hes not Arturo Gatti, he said. But hes not Smoke Gainer.
*Mosley last week quietly withdrew his $12 defamation suit against Victor Conte, the guy who made and sold the PEDs that Mosley denied taking, but admitted to taking under deposition. In 2008, Mosley sued Conte after the boxer said publicly that he unknowingly took steroids, given to him by Conte. Conte in April released video of Mosley being deposed in October 2009, in which he admitted to taking PEDs, and knowing what they were. Mosleys lawyer, Judd Burstein, went ballistic when Conte put out the video. He said the video was taken out of context, and promised that his dog could win the case against Conte. Woof.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?