Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes that one of the biggest selling points for the third fight between his fighters Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley is the improvements that have been made in Bradley’s fighting style with new trainer Teddy Atlas. Arum thinks that this isn’t the same Bradley that Pacquiao fought in the past in 2012 and 2014, and got the better of in both fights.
Pacquiao lost the first fight in 2012 and won the second one in 2014. However, the general consensus is that Pacquiao was the better fighter in both fights with Bradley. Freddie Roach, the trainer for Pacquiao, says he cannot see how Bradley has improved with Atlas. The two only worked together for the Brandon Rios fight last November, and Rios came into the fight a fat 170lbs.
Rios weighed in as a light heavyweight the night of the Bradley fight, and was sluggish and not nearly the same fighter that had beaten Mike Alvarado earlier in the year in January 2015.
“Bradley looked good, but … with all that fat on Rios, I had never seen him look like that before, so I don’t think Bradley had that much in front of him,” Roach said to the latimes.com. “Bradley did what he had to do. Teddy Atlas is a good motivator, and Bradley fought a good fight. I don’t think you can give Atlas credit yet.”
Roach is correct. You cannot give Atlas any credit for having changed Bradley for the better based off the Rios fight, because this was Rios at his worst instead of his best. It’s not Atlas and Arum’s fault obviously that Rios was so out of shape for the fight, but you also can’t say for sure that Bradley was a better version of himself with the so-called changes that Atlas made with him. Just from looking at how Bradley fought against Rios, it doesn’t look like Atlas changed his fighting style at all. If there are changed that Atlas made in Bradley’s style, they were so small that they would be considered negligible.
The only real way boxing fans can find out if Atlas has improved the 32-year-old Bradley is to see how he performs against Pacquiao in their third fight. If Bradley has gotten better, then he’ll use movement to befuddle Pacquiao for 12 rounds instead of trying to punch with him the way he did in their first fight. If Atlas can succeed in having Bradley follow his instructions each round, then you can say that he’s improved. But as far as physical skills go, Bradley isn’t going to improve no matter what Atlas tries to teach him. Bradley already knows how to fight and he’s not likely going to develop any additional punching power with Atlas’ help.