Behind The ScenesBoxing

ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas trains Tim Bradley Jr. for showdown with Manny Pacquiao

How objective can you be when you’re analyzing a fight on air?
Part of being objective in your profession is knowing the realm of what you do. It makes it easier for me to do broadcasting having trained fighters at a higher level. It’s a different aspect of it, but it’s the same business and sport. When you know what it takes to be successful in the ring, you bring that knowledge to your medium. You need to have confidence in what you talk about and having trained world champions gives me that confidence and strength.

For the past eight weeks, ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas has been training former welterweight champion Tim Bradley Jr. for this Saturday’s bout against eight-division titlist Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. This marks the third Bradley-Pacquiao duel.

Atlas, who joined ESPN in September 1998, has more than 40 years of experience as a professional trainer. But when Bradley selected Atlas as his trainer for a bout against Brandon Rios last fall, it marked Atlas’ first fight camp since 2011.

He tells Front Row how he handles his roles inside and outside the ring.

How do you transition from television analyst to trainer?
It’s been a pretty seamless transition. I was hired to be a broadcaster because I knew something about the business. I’ve been training since I was 19 years old, so I can bring an opinion as a trainer to the broadcasting end of it. I’ve been blessed and fortunate that ESPN would have me and that the people would tolerate me and allow me into their living rooms.

What have you learned as a boxing analyst at ESPN?
I am a teacher more than a trainer. I try to improve somebody to be successful. You don’t need Teddy Atlas to tell you when a jab is landed. As a broadcaster, my goal is to bring a better portrayal of the mental landscape and explain why the fighter is doing certain things or why not. The audience needs to understand what they are feeling in every situation. It’s not just black and white or about who is the fastest and strongest. It’s about who can handle that mental landscape of controlling their fears.

With Tim, I’m completely invested in him winning, and on TV I only care about the audience getting a [telecast] that helps them view the match in the best way possible.
– Teddy Atlas

How do you connect with your TV audience compared to how you relate to Bradley as his trainer?
As a trainer, I’m physically there and with the audience I’m there with my voice, but there are similarities. I’m trying to teach on air, to enhance the viewing experience at home so the audience can gain something from that experience; maybe they can walk away knowing a little bit more about the sport. I try to put it across in the most simplistic way.

With Tim, I’m completely invested in him winning, and on TV I only care about the audience getting a [telecast] that helps them view the match in the best way possible.

ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna shot the video above.

To see more video of Atlas and Bradley working together, visit ESPN3.

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