Best Trainer – Freddie Roach or Teddy Atlas?

04/07/2016 - By Paul Strauss - Comments

Will the winner of Manny “Pac man” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38KO) vs Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, Jr. (33-1-1, 13K0) fight at the MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV also determine which trainer is best? It might, at least for one fight. The previous years are a little cloudy on Atlas’ side of the ledger. Who has Teddy trained besides Michael Moore, Barry McGuigan (one fight), and Donny Lalonde to 8-0 before Donny dumped him? Teddy trained Alexander Povetkin for a fight with Ruslan Chagsev. Povetkin earned a UD, but his relationship with Teddy fell apart and the two parted ways.

It would seem reasonable to assume Teddy has trained other fighters over the years, but the ones previously mentioned are the ones receiving the most attention. It’s also well known that Teddy got his start, working briefly with famed trainer Cus D’Amato. A back injury ended his own boxing career (kind & severity?). Teddy briefly helped Cus train a very young Mike Tyson, but not long enough to earn himself much credit for Mike’s eventual success.

Then, of course, there’s Teddy’s long and successful career as a television boxing analyst. Teddy worked for NBC’s coverage of boxing in the Olympic Games in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008) and London (2012). He is also well known for his long time association with ESPN/ESPN2 Weds/Fri. Night Fights and he is a current commentator for Premier Boxing Champions.

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Without question, both Teddy and Freddie should be credited for their tremendous contributions to the sport of boxing. Freddie;s reputation keeps a steady stream of fighters showing up at his Wild Card gym requesting he train them. Freddie sees future champions.

On the other hand, over the years, Teddy couldn’t help but soak up a lot of knowledge sitting ringside for innumerable bouts. Teddy’s knowledge has been displayed and appreciated over and over again with his pre-fight analysis. He sheds light on what fans can expect, diagnosing fighters’ styles, strengths, and weaknesses. He does it in a humorous and entertaining fashion.

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In addition, his charitable work through the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation is commendable, awarding scholarships and grants to individuals and organizations. Teddy also published his autobiography “Atlas: From the Streets to the Ring: A Son’s struggle to Become a Man.” Teddy compares training fighters to the role of a father.

It’s a good bet that Freddie agrees with Teddy’s comparison. Freddie talks about the close relationships he has with fighters, especially with the Pacman. So, there’s definitely a match there. But, which man has had the most success training fighters? Freddie has been BWAA seven times. If you don’t count Mickey Rourke (kidding), it would seem Freddie wins hands down. Freddie has a long list of successful fighters, due in no small way to Freddie”s great trainer and mentor Eddie Futch. Eddie trained four of the men who beat “The Greatest”. Can’t beat that. Freddie worked with Eddie for five years..

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What is expected of each man? All trainers are expected to keep their fighters focused. Freddie and Manny have been dealing with continuing the battle back to the top after Manny’s brutal knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. They were on their way until the Mayweather fight and shoulder surgery. That represents a pretty good drop on the success graph. Plus, everyone knows Manny has many demands on his time, as a politician and popular figure in his homeland.

Teddy is a “johnny come lately” with Bradley. Timothy had been trained his entire career by Joel Diaz. Apparently there was some kind of fallout, and that’s when Tim approached Teddy with a request to train him. Tim was 32-1-1, and a former champion when he approached Teddy. So what is Teddy tasked with? He’s already got a champion. Both Tim and Teddy are working on what most fighters do. They’re perfecting personal strengths and weaknesses. Tim believes Teddy has the ability to give him specific examples about certain vulnerabilities and missed opportunities. The important thing is Tim believes it. It’s giving him confidence.

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The question remains, though. Come Saturday night, what are fans going to be saying after the final bell?