Teddy Atlas, the passionate and opinionated fight analyst and trainer, on Thursday night held his 18th annual Teddy Dinner, the fundraiser for his charity, which honors his late father, and helps out people who fall in between the cracks in the Staten Island area and beyond. The ESPN talent drew a sold out room on Staten Island, at the Hilton Garden Inn, and raised another load of cash which will help out those needing a hand up.
He was kind enough to share his thoughts on the Pacquiao-Algieri scrap with me the day before the dinner, as he attended to last minute details.
“I like Algieri, he really started his journey to here on ESPN,” Atlas said. “He beat Emanuel Taylor on our air, he made like $15,000, and for this fight he makes like $1.5 million…I’m happy for the kid, he’s a terrific kid, a gentleman. I’m happy for him, the message he sends out, which is work hard, stick with it, dreams can become true.”
“But this fight, it’s up to Pacquiao,” said Atlas, who is gearing up for the new Friday Night Fights season, which kicks off in January. “I will say that is this kid Algieri will get in there and show heart…but he’s never been on this kind of stage, and he’s a lot farther from home. His character is there, it will be consistent, he will be prepared, in shape…but this sort of fight, it’s a whole different animal, whole new pressures that come with that.”
Atlas said he isn’t sure what Pacman will be there tomorrow not, though. “I don’t think this is the same guy. I am not saying he’s not a higher level talent, I think he’s much more experienced, he’s been at that top level, we know he can perform there. And we know Algieri came within a knockdown of beong kayoed in the first round versus Provodnikov. And Pacquiao throws faster, he’s a more complete fighter than Ruslan. There’s a danger early in the fight…but it comes down to, will this be the Pacquiao of five or six years ago, if so, then I don’t think Algieri would have much of a chance.”
But no, that Pacman is not likely to return, Atlas thinks. So…”I don’t think he’s the same, I know he’s not as aggressive…I don’t know if he’s as big, as strong. I do know he has a different body than years ago, there’s no getting around that. And he has more going on than years ago, marital stuff, religion, politics, pulling at him. It can distract you, take youre focus away. To what degree we can’t say. If Pacquiao is aggressive in a consistent manner, I like him. But if things have distracted him.. Algieri is undefeated, he pulled an upset no one thought he could, came off the floor twice. If he survives the early rounds against Pacquiao, and Pacquiao doesn’t go after him in aggressive fashion…He got better in the Provodnikov fight, his confidence grew grew..but in this fight at the end of day, I’m picking Pacquiao to win the fight.”