ATLAS: “I Just Don’t Want To Be Betrayed Anymore”

teddyaTeddy Atlas had to laugh, which isn’t something he’s been doing a lot of lately.

Atlas can thank former WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck for his temporary good humor, for it was Huck who suggested at a press conference called to hype his Feb. 25 showdown with WBA heavyweight champion and former Atlas protégé Alexander Povetkin that the split between the champion and his trainer was one based on fear more than on business.

“Atlas found a way out because he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of Povetkin’s failure in the fight with me,’’ Huck (34-1, 25 KO) boasted.

Alerted to this comment, Atlas snorted, which in his case passes for laughter.

“Sasha will kill this guy,’’ Atlas said of Povetkin. “He’s too big. He hits too hard. He’s far from a finished product but he’s more polished than Huck. Huck will walk in with those wide punches and get hit in the face. A lot.’’

When Huck’s challenge was first made the night of Povetkin’s successful title defense against Cedric Boswell last December, Atlas was also visibly amused. A German boxing writer suggested it to him during a post-fight press conference and Atlas’ reply indicated nothing resembling fear of Huck.

“Can we do it tonight?’’ he asked. It didn’t sound like he was kidding.

Huck was a German favorite during his days as cruiserweight champion and hence a logical foil for the undefeated Povetkin (23-0, 16 KO) but the assumption was Atlas would be in his corner, where he’s been since transforming him from a stalled former Olympic gold medalist going nowhere slowly into a world champion over the past two years.

But when Povetkin and his people scheduled a title defense during ESPN’s Friday Night Fights schedule and then refused to train in the United States so Atlas could avoid scheduling conflicts with his regular job and preparing Povetkin as they were contractually obligated to do, Atlas balked. That has left Povetkin’s manager, Vladimir Hrunov, continually hinting Atlas would be on the next plane to Moscow when he knew that would only be if ESPN had a fight scheduled in Moscow, Idaho, which they do not.

So come Feb. 25, Povetkin will risk his title and an eventual big-money shot against one of the Klitschko brothers with Alexander Zimin in his corner rather than Atlas. Conspiracy theorists abound in boxing, even in Germany, and some wonder if Povetkin’s promoters, Wilfried and Kalli Sauerland, purposely set up the match in the hope a conflict would result that split their fighter from a trainer who has often warred with them over how Povetkin’s boxing future should be run.

There is no way of knowing whether this is the case or not but everyone in boxing was well aware of the contentious relationship between Atlas and the Sauerlands. Removing him from the picture, they might well have concluded, was good for business whatever happens to Povetkin because like most promoters they have both sides of the fight on Feb. 25 and thus will continue to control that portion of the WBA title whether Povetkin has it or Huck does.

Atlas declined to comment on that but Sauerland has already agreed to having the winner face former champion Hasim Rahman within 120 days, assuming no injuries result from the Feb. 25 match in Stuttgart. Might Atlas and Povetkin be reconciled by then? Not likely.

Atlas recently rejected an offer from Miami-based promoter Luis DeCubas to train one of his undefeated Cuban prospects after working with him in a training session for several hours. Atlas did not reject DeCubas’ offer because of any doubts about the fighter. He rejected them because of his disillusionment with the fight game in general.

“He was a nice kid and I like Luis but I told him I just don’t want to be betrayed anymore,’’ Atlas said. “Everyone says Sasha (Povetkin) broke our contract but it was more than that. He broke our trust. I don’t need that anymore.’’

So if Marco Huck really wants to know why Teddy Atlas won’t be staring back at him from Alexander Povetkin’s corner he can ask DeCubas or Kalli Sauerland why. The former is the one who knows best why Atlas is insisting he’s finished training fighters and Sauerland is the only one who knows if the problems that led to that were merely coincidental or part of a larger conspiracy to rid Povetkin’s corner of the one voice always arguing for him.

Comment on this article


-Radam G :

Betrayal is a nature act of this naturally crooked-arse sport. And I don't believe Teddy for a New York minute. He will be BACK. He got too much fighting-split of the old-school trainers and he knows his boksing sh*t, and it doesn't stink. Dude is REAL REAL! He'll treat you right, and will never use you as a meal for any fighter at anytime. The old-time trainers -- who Teddy exemplifies -- clearly would tell you in similar spit, "A lot of fu*king fighters are like pretty girlfriends. They will drive yo' a$$ crazy. You will be given 'em your all. Then one day outta da blue, they will just break your heart and break up with yo' a$$ for no reason that you can think of. And sometime will say all type of made-up, imaginary sh*t about you" Not a single break up ever stopped even a decent trainer of stepping out of teaching, preaching and just plain-old training another fighter's arse. Teddy is hurt for minute. He going through a minute-man act. But just for a minute. My BOLD prediction is that Teddy will be shouting, "Let's do it again....Glove UP! Holla!

-Real Talk :

I like that Radam. Where's the loyalty in this game huh Teddy. I feel you. Hope he shakes it off sooner than later. I'd like to work with Teddy Atlas once. He wouldn't have to worry about me jumping ship. I'm cut from that Old school cloth. You'd be hard oressed to find someone loyal as me, haven't seen that many in my lifetime. A good trainer is like a good woman, when you find hold on to'em. Povetkin better hope it doesn't bite him in the ***. Dueces

-OneTonMan :

Atlas' biggest "betrayal" experience started with Tyson. At the height of Tyson's popularity, he was dumped. And then came the Lalonde experience. Atlas never really moved on. Those 2 chapters in Atlas' life made him what he is today, I guess.

-dino da vinci :

@OneTonMan. Actually, Mike was still very much an amateur when they parted ways. Of course, the part that probably angers Teddy is he did most of the heavy lifting, and received no real credit for it. ( Financially, or otherwise.). Also, it IS possible Teddy showed him more in their time working together than everyone else combined, and just about everybody in boxing got the benefit but Atlas. Yeah, you can see how he'd be angry.

-Radam G :

@OneTonMan, NO! NO! NO! You are wrong about Mike Tyson dumping Teddy Atlas. Teddy Atlas dumped Mike Tyson. MT tried to do the wrong thing with a niece of TA. And TA doesn't like that syet when it comes to family. He put a gun upside MT's head and told him that he'd "KILL" him, if the "Iron" one ever messes with that niece or any of TA's peeps again. Like I've said a million time, most people just don't know the back rooms, side rooms and even the sh*t rooms of boxing -- the amateurs or pros. Fighters are -- and will be -- standing in line for the service of TA. He doesn't have to take SH*T! Dude is one of the most real commentators/trainers/people in the game that you will ever encounter. Teddy is just going through a little sumpin,' sumpin! All greats -- be they boxers, trainers, cut men, commentators, promoters, and/or any positions, that I may have left out, go through heartbreak, anger, frustration, stupid shyt, bullshyt and _______ _______. But they get over it, suck it up and bounce back full of the greatness that is in them. It takes most than betrayal and lies to keep a good [or in Teddy's case, a great] man down, or make him quit, because some dumba$$es are gettin' on their clown. Holla!

-dino da vinci :

...and I agree with everything Radam said about the great Teddy Atlas, with the possible exception of "and ______ ______."

-dino da vinci :

@Radam. I meant to add this to the last post. Are we supposed to know what the blank words always are? 'Cause I'm probably batting like 1 percentage point if I'm lucky.

-Radam G :

@dino da vinci, it means nothing. It is just like when a person is talking to you and he is saying, "You know, you know what I mean," or maybe the guys is saying, "um huh, um huh, huh, huh!" ____ ____ ____ for me, simply means blank, blank, blank! Just some extra jive that means absolutely ZERO, jack NOTHING! I use to write blink, blink, blink da blinka da blind. I just decided to just keyboard ____ ____ _____ and ______, instead of writing out the word blank. A good example of my _____ [blank] is like somebody saying, "That boxer is sharp, nice and syet and syet." Now the way that I would write that is: "That boxer is sharp, nice and ___ and ____! You know me, I'm down with just doing jive and syet to rock the time away. Man, I cannot wait for that Sin City GOAT Ali's bash to come out. You muthaguys are going to be going wacky trying to figure out which Asian am I -- hiding in plain sight. Anyway, it is an awesome affair. Holla!