Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |



Teddy Atlas: Intense with good intentions

Fighters Network
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions

Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions

The intensity of Teddy Atlas, it isn’t for everyone.
Not everyone can handle it, that NY edge, those Manson lamps, those Vince Lombardi-Knute Rockne-tinged surges of passion can be off-putting to someone unaccustomed to the Staten Islander’s manner, be it in person or on TV, where he calls fights for ESPN.
Or, for that matter, in the gym or in the ring, when he’s going back to his roots, as a trainer, not a talker. He’s in the 1%, intensity-wise and, for that, I say, bless his soul, because it is that trait which makes him a pitbull of philanthropy.

Tomorrow night, he will convene over a thousand people – shhh…don’t tell the fire marshal; it’s for a great freakin’ cause – in Staten island, his home base. It is a fundraiser, the 19th annual, to raise dough for the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation. That body serves to give a hand or two up to people who so shamefully (being their plights – not them as people – are a shame) fall between the cracks in our land of plenty. When the big insurers or those bigwig charitable organizations don’t return calls or turn down a family in need to protect their bottom lines, it is Atlas’ foundation which builds the wheelchair ramp…or buys the chair…or does a dozen other things to keep good souls slammed by fate from drowning.

The task can be draining. Atlas left me a voice message, “I’m dealing with a lot of crap and s**t; excuse my language,” he admitted.

There had been a pullout…a big-deal personality had been heavily promoted to attend, for a long spell. But Atlas learned, a day-and-a-half before, the personality was not going to show…

“I’m not in love with that…but sometimes we gotta deal with things we’re not in love with, right? I like to keep my word; I promoted that person was gonna be there, to the people who will be attending. But we’ll be alright; there will be plenty of other people. Someone always picks it up in a great way. Like Timothy Bradley. He’s in California and he’s working for truTV, Friday, in Las Vegas, on TV. He wasn’t going to be able to come…but his wife (and manager, Monica) called yesterday, said he’s flying in tomorrow afternoon, coming to the dinner. He’s coming anyway, because that’s who he is. That’s why I’m training him…He will fly out the first thing Friday, with me, because I’m working for ESPN for the (Miguel) Cotto-Canelo (Alvarez) fight. Timmy didn’t have to do that but that’s why I’m training him because he has that kind of character.”

That character, that might be how Bradley lands a third fight against Manny Pacquiao too. I snuck in a boxing question to Atlas; forgive me. “My job is to get the fighter ready for whoever he fights,” he told me. “The next fight, it’s in good hands, with his manager, who is his wife, and promoter Bob Arum, who I think is still the best in the business, still. It’s up to them and Pacquiao personally. But I think a rubber match would be intriguing, see who takes the second of three.

“At the end of the day, I think another Bradley fight is at the top of the list for Manny’s last fight.”

Like I said, that intensity, it’s not gonna be processed by everyone. But that same intensity translating into tireless effort to be that safety net for persons exhausted of options, is what keeps the fire marshal – shhhh…he’s a friend of the Foundation – at bay. It’s what makes Atlas the pound-for-pound top philanthropist in the boxing sphere and why his manner is to be appreciated and lauded by everyone.


Michael Woods is the giving type too, you know. If you ask politely, he might spot you a fiver…but damned if he doesn’t remind you about it every other day, man.