Atlas Helped Bradley Stay Focused During Rios Bout, And That's All

Some upper-tier professional fighters are difficult to like and root for.

WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley 33-1-1 (13) falls into the category of fighters who it's easy to see why he's liked and why fans usually root for him to do well.

Count me as one of those who respects Bradley and all that he's accomplished as a professional fighter….and yes, I root for him to do well regardless of who the opponent is in front of him.

This past Saturday night Bradley took a very tough, though washed up, former title holder named Brandon Rios 33-3-1 (23) to boxing school.

After clearly winning all but perhaps the second round, Bradley dropped Rios twice in the ninth round and won by stoppage. Bradley's stoppage of Rios marks the first time he's won inside the distance in four years. And it was also the first fight for Bradley while under the tutelage of Teddy Atlas serving as his new head trainer.

Prior to the bout I said the marriage pairing Bradley and Atlas together as fighter and trainer will be a successful one, mostly because of Bradley and not Atlas.

Tim Bradley is a grounded man, not a know it all pertaining to the sport of professional boxing. He wants to learn and get better, which makes the trainer's job much easier. Atlas is a boisterous know it all and loves to take credit for his fighter's success by subterfuge. That said, Teddy knows what he's doing and is a terrific trainer. He understands the mental aspect and tribulations that fighters confront during combat better than most other trainers do, but believe me, he's no miracle worker…..and certainly not to the degree that HBO commentators Max Kellerman and Jim Lampley implied during the bout with Rios.

Everyone has known for years that Bradley is a skilled boxer and could fight on the move while using his feet for defense. In fact it was never more evident or on display better then when he beat Juan Manuel Marquez two years ago. Because Bradley respected Marquez's ability to counter-punch so efficiently, he relied on his hand and foot speed to get in and out while scoring and not being lured into trading and exchanging with the more accurate and sharper punching Marquez. 

During the bout with Rios Saturday night, Bradley boxed as well or even better than he did against Marquez. He jabbed beautifully and set up his finishing hooks and crosses with almost surgical precision. And during those occasions when he was tempted to fight it out and go to war with Rios, he broke off the exchange and prevented Brandon from using his 15 pound post weigh-in advantage. But in all honesty, Rios was lethargic from the rapid weight gain and was always vulnerable to being out-boxed by fighters who didn't fight him as if their feet were cemented to the ring canvas. Brandon has always been easy to hit, so if you didn't stand there and wait for a receipt after hitting him with two and three punch combos, you could more often than not get away unscathed, and that's exactly how Bradley fought him.

I think Bradley looked terrific in taking apart a shop-worn, tailor-made stylistically Rios. I also don't think Teddy Atlas and his rules of no cell phones or music at training camp had a damn thing to do with it. If Bradley is in shape, he can fall out of bed every day of the week and twice on Sunday and still out-think and out-maneuver Brandon Rios. If you want to give Atlas his due credit for what he brought to the table enabling Bradley to fight such a clean bout versus Rios, I say it boils down to one word: “focus.” Yes, Atlas was wonderful in preventing Bradley from falling into the same traps he has in past bouts when he went to war with his opponent and suddenly what should've been an easy fight turned into a life and death struggle.

The fact that Atlas kept Bradley focused on the fight plan and held his Arturo Gatti/Matthew Saad Muhammad mindset of wanting to go to war in check, played a big part as to why Bradley jogged to a ninth round stoppage and was unmarked after the fight. As good as Bradley looked this past weekend, it had everything to do with Timothy owning the style match-up in much the same way Floyd Mayweather holds it over Manny Pacquiao. Bradley could fight Rios and have his wife advising him in the corner between rounds and the result is always going to be the same. The difference is Atlas's insistence on Bradley not taking too many punches and fighting more like a professional boxer resulted in him not taking unnecessary punishment.

Bradley was terrific with Atlas in his corner, but I didn't see one thing that has changed my mind in as far as picking him to beat a fighter who I thought he'd lose to before aligning with Atlas. However, I expect the media to make a big deal over the influence Atlas had on the outcome of the bout, but then again they really don't know any better.

If by chance Bradley is Manny Pacquiao's next opponent, which was mentioned before the bout, I expect him to acquit himself well and the reason for that is, Bradley has the speed and style to trouble Manny. If Timothy goes into the bout realizing he's the boxer and boxers really bother the older Pacquiao, it'll make for a pain in the rear-end night for Manny, and it was like that before Atlas arrived.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Focus, not hocus-pocus, is the more important thing in dat squared jungle. So that makes Teddy da MAN! I have to disagree that moving boxers give Da Manny all that many problems. He has beat down umpteen moving boxers, including T-Brad and Marquez -- not Hulkquez full of dat syet. Now moving boxers are harder than statues, as they suppose to be. But as a one-armed pug, Da Manny did just fine with moving Money May. Even TSS saw it as a close scrap by scoring it 115-113. "And That's All." Holla!


-Radam G :

"Are you ready for the fire. We are firemen. We live in the fire...." WOW! Teddy Atlas pull some late, great Cus D'aMato stuff. Old Cus's spirit was right up in T-A's grill and soul. "The heat doesn't bother us. We live in the heat. We train in the heat. It tell us we are ready. We are at home. We are where we supposed to be. Flames don't intimidate us.... WTF! T-A turned T-Brad into a flame thrower. And T-Brad scorched Bam Bam's whole 9. And profited from him like taking golden watermelon-size nuggets from a goldmine. Holla!


-SouthPawFlo :

I said this before the fight... Bradley he Boxers is a top 5 welterweight Bradley the brawler is gonna get concussed in the ring and like he did in the Provo fight


-kidcanvas :

Tim Bradley has always been a real good fighter just never got the props he should have because of how he executes. that said ,for me ,it shows how how great Pacquiao was to beat him, twice really,we know thats no easy task at all. Bradley is a real decent human being and i hope with floyd gone for now ,pacquiao rt behind him that he makes some big a** paychecks.. Decency should be worth something


-amayseng :

I saw a better TB with new angles, better focus, better combinations, pivoting out better defensively. However, Rios looked like absolute **** and prepared like ****. He should be embarrassed. What kind of father sits around and gains 80lbs in 8 months and then blames the system for not getting him a fight. Whether you are off 8 months or 5 years as a father your job is a provider through boxing which requires staying in shape and being prepared to do your best for your family. Rios has always been a **** person who makes fun of those disabled. I was glad to watch him cower like the scumbag he is.


-Radam G :

I saw a better TB with new angles, better focus, better combinations, pivoting out better defensively. However, Rios looked like absolute **** and prepared like ****. He should be embarrassed. What kind of father sits around and gains 80lbs in 8 months and then blames the system for not getting him a fight. Whether you are off 8 months or 5 years as a father your job is a provider through boxing which requires staying in shape and being prepared to do your best for your family. Rios has always been a **** person who makes fun of those disabled. I was glad to watch him cower like the scumbag he is.
Hehehe! Bam Bam is going up to light heavyweight and then heavyweight. He is trying to get a match against James "Lights out" Toney for the donuts and fried chicken eating championship of the world. Holla!


-michigan400 :

Tim Bradley has always been a real good fighter just never got the props he should have because of how he executes. that said ,for me ,it shows how how great Pacquiao was to beat him, twice really,we know thats no easy task at all. Bradley is a real decent human being and i hope with floyd gone for now ,pacquiao rt behind him that he makes some big a** paychecks.. Decency should be worth something
Definitely! The last sentence especially! Guys like Bradley I respect. Some of these other clowns, not so much.


-george0383 :

You have to Love Teddy's passion and desire for his fighter to win. The only problem is that, depending on the fighter, his motivational technique will become overkill and start to turn off the fighter to Teddy's directions and they may tune out. Just like a boxer can physically overtrain for a fight, Atlas has to be careful not to motivationally overtrain his fighter to the point where they stop listening. I am glad that Atlas is having success again as a trainer, and I hope it continues for a long time, since he adds tremendously to the sport, which we all can see he loves so much, as do I since 1953, when my father had Rocky Marciano visit my house when I was 5 years old!


-deepwater2 :

WE ARE FIREMEN!!!!!! WE CONTROL THE FIRE!!!!!!! The trainer switch might be a good fit. I hope Bradley doesn't have his wife learn everything she can from Teddy and fire him to save 30%?


-Radam G :

WE ARE FIREMEN!!!!!! WE CONTROL THE FIRE!!!!!!! The trainer switch might be a good fit. I hope Bradley doesn't have his wife learn everything she can from Teddy and fire him to save 30%?
Hehehehe! I'm riding with cha. Holla!


-gibola :

Good performance against the worst Rios we've ever seen. Love Bradley, a credit to the game and I root for him. However, no matter who's in his corner I'm a realist about who he'd beat and wouldn't beat. I think Khan and Porter outpoint Bradley, while Brook and Thurman KO him.


-brownsugar :

From Batman to Satan,.... To the Klitschko Apocalypse is a huge leap of logic. But the inexperienced Jennings had a relatively safe and lively go at at the Doctor, ....could Fury fare any worse???


-Radam G :

Good performance against the worst Rios we've ever seen. Love Bradley, a credit to the game and I root for him. However, no matter who's in his corner I'm a realist about who he'd beat and wouldn't beat. I think Khan and Porter outpoint Bradley, while Brook and Thurman KO him.
T-Brad is no Rios. No welterweight kayos him. And I think that he easily beat the diva soft-chinned Khan, out hustles Porter and Brooks, and loses a close one to Thurman. Holla!


-gibola :

Hi Radam - beg to differ. Bradley is absolutely made for a sharp, focused, Khan. Superior speed and reach would be too much, could be a wide decision too. Bradley's not a big puncher so I think Khan gets through this one without getting ko'd and no way Bradley outboxes Khan. Brook and Thurman, too big, too strong and they do what two 140lb guys (Provodnikov and Vargas) almost did - ie, KO Bradley. Perhaps I'm underrating Bradley, I just think he peaked at 140lb and looks much more vulnerable as a welter. For me Chaves bullied him late in their fight, Brook and Thurman would do much worse. I make Brook and Thurman the two best welters in the world now PBF has gone. If they met I'd narrowly favour Brook and the fight could happen as none of the so-called stars at 147 will fight either of them anytime soon. It's all speculation, lets hope some of these fights happen even if I'm proved wrong with my predictions once again!!


-Radam G :

Hi Radam - beg to differ. Bradley is absolutely made for a sharp, focused, Khan. Superior speed and reach would be too much, could be a wide decision too. Bradley's not a big puncher so I think Khan gets through this one without getting ko'd and no way Bradley outboxes Khan. Brook and Thurman, too big, too strong and they do what two 140lb guys (Provodnikov and Vargas) almost did - ie, KO Bradley. Perhaps I'm underrating Bradley, I just think he peaked at 140lb and looks much more vulnerable as a welter. For me Chaves bullied him late in their fight, Brook and Thurman would do much worse. I make Brook and Thurman the two best welters in the world now PBF has gone. If they met I'd narrowly favour Brook and the fight could happen as none of the so-called stars at 147 will fight either of them anytime soon. It's all speculation, lets hope some of these fights happen even if I'm proved wrong with my predictions once again!!
Okay! I hope that it happens one day. But the China-chinned diva Amir Khan likely will be put to sleep by somebody else before T-Brad gets a chance to mow him down. Brook is too easily injured since he got sliced up by whacha-ma-calla [sic]. So T-Brad will have it easy breezy. "One Time" Thurman would have a hard time, but will like edge T-Brad out. All respect and luv due to ya, my readermate. But barely anything is as it appears in the "theatre of the unexpected. And size doesn't matter. "It is skills dat pays da bills, so lovely coined by Uncle Roger May. Holla!