Training Camp Q&A with
Five-Time World Champion Timothy Bradley,
Trainer Teddy Atlas and Top Rank President Todd duBoef
TODD duBOEF: We are weeks away from this highly anticipated match between two Hall of Fame fighters. Tim has shown an incredible rebirth, beginning with his November fight in his union with Teddy Atlas. He did what no one had ever done, stopping Brandon Rios. He is motivated and a classy person inside the ring and a classy, classy person outside the ring. We are really excited to hear what he has to say and how he is preparing for this fight. He just found out today that Everlast has signed Tim (https://goo.gl/utpZTx). As he is winding down his training camp days I think it’s a good time to talk to him and Teddy.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Thank you very much Todd. I would like to thank Team Bradley because without them I wouldn’t have this opportunity once again. I want to thank my wife and I want to thank Teddy for coming on board once again. I want to thank Top Rank and HBO and all of the media for putting the word out that there is a real fight happening on April 9. Training camp has gone very well and we are ahead of schedule. I am ready to go 12 rounds right now. Training camp goes on every day. There is never a down moment. Teddy is always on me. He’s a guy that cares. He’s a guy that loves. He’s a guy that knows what he’s doing. He’s a guy that believes in what he’s doing and he’s a guy that believes in me. We are a dynamic duo and everyone should check it out on April 9.
You were beaten handily the second fight and many thought you lost the first fight. What do you think you can do this time to beat Pacquiao?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Well, everyone has their own opinion regarding the first fight. However way you want to look at it, it was a very close fight. The second fight, Pacquiao definitely won that fight hands down. I had the injury in the second round, which I actually told my camp about. This time around I have a new guy — Teddy Atlas — a guy that analyzes fighters for a living. That’s what he does — he’s an analyst and a trainer. The approach this time is going to be a lot different and I will be looking to exploit Pacquiao’s weaknesses.
Do you think you are getting Manny at the right time as he may have one foot already out the door?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: You may hope or think that but I am expecting the best Manny Pacquiao. I hear he is training hard. He is training six days a week and sparring ten rounds already. I hear he is highly motivated for this affair. He knows what is at stake. For me to depend on any thoughts of weakness of Pacquiao would be wrong. I have to count on me to prepare and be ready for the fight.
Are you tired of seeing him after 24 rounds and it being not so long ago?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I am not tired of fighting this guy. I just want to have the opportunity to definitely seal the deal, and that same opportunity for my family as well. It is an opportunity for my kids to talk about years from now with their classmates – that their father beat Manny Pacquiao.
What have you learned from Teddy in this camp that you may not have learned in the last camp?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I have learned a lot of things in this camp, but mainly the hardest thing for me is to remain focused at all times in the ring, in training. What I mean by that is no matter what is going on or no matter what is happening that day, I always have to be focused and I always have to be committed and concentrating through the whole training camp. That is there every single day that I show up to the gym – total concentration and total focus. Sometimes we fighters can have off days and lose concentration and get hit with a couple of shots – it could be a jab or not being in the right position at all times – you can’t have that with Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao is fast and he’s quick and he is always looking to take advantage of you.
What can you take from the first two fights?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I can take a lot from the first two fights. I could look at it a couple of ways – not even having a game plan in the first fight. I was fighting on my skills and experience. In the second fight I had the injury in the second round and after six rounds it was three rounds apiece. I think fundamentally I have a better chance to win this fight.
What do you think of the feud between Teddy and Freddie?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I don’t even pay any attention to that. The trainers train the fighters and the fighters get in the ring. I don’t pay any attention to that I just pay attention to my job. I have to prepare for a dangerous firecracker Filipino.
Are you learning about yourself a little bit more as you go through your second camp with Teddy? He is obviously forcing you to dig deep down – are you surprised in your ability to do so?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: No I am not really surprised at my ability to do so. I am what you call a perfectionist. I take my training and my boxing seriously. Teddy is a very serious guy too. He puts his heart into it and I feel the same way. I wouldn’t be a five-time world champion if I didn’t feel that way. I think the difference this time around is I have a game plan – I really do have a game plan. My game plan before was to avoid the left hand. Avoid the left hand and hit him with the right hand. Now, the game plan is a little more in detail. There are things that Manny Pacquiao does that I can take advantage of that I didn’t see before in watching film and breaking film down that Teddy has brought to my attention. I feel like it’s going to be a completely different fight than the first two.
What was your takeaway of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Pacquiao fought to the best of his ability. Mayweather is known for taking the air out of the ball – that’s the reason why he is the best in the world. He doesn’t let you do what you want to do and he’s able to do what he wants to do. Mayweather always has a way to keep the ball on his side of the court and don’t let you play with the ball. He’s able to do what he wants to do and not let you do what you want to do. He didn’t allow Manny Pacquiao to do what he wanted to do and he came out successful.
Do you expect Pacquiao to be the same that he was?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I’m sure his right hook will be better. But Manny Pacquiao pretty much does the same thing. He’s going to come forward and be the same Pacquiao we are always used to seeing being explosive with speed and looking to take guys out. He’s going to be the same dangerous Pacquiao we have always seen. I’m expecting a tough fight and I’m expecting a smart fight. I am not expecting any weaknesses from Manny Pacquiao.
Is there anything Pacquiao could surprise you guys with that would be out of the ordinary?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: No, he does pretty much the same thing – I don’t think there is anything out of the ordinary. I don’t think he’s going to do a new wrinkle right away. He’s been fighting the same way since I have seen him. He knows me but I think I’m going to be a little different this time.
Manny hasn’t knocked anyone out in a while do you think he has been fighting cautiously?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I don’t know what it is. He hasn’t knocked anyone out in a long time. It could be the weight class – he has been fighting at 147 pounds – it could be that, but I’m not depending on any decline of Manny Pacquiao. If I beat Manny Pacquiao I already know what is going to be said – “Oh he was old” – but I know Pacquiao is still great and he still can fight. I’m not depending on Manny Pacquiao to be weak. I think he is going to be stronger than ever. He’s going to be motivated and he’s going to be looking to taking my head off.
You are going to have to move to make sure he doesn’t dictate the fight…
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Yes, we have the game plan. I just have to go out there and execute the game plan. If I execute the game plan I will have no problem beating Manny Pacquiao just like I was able to beat Brandon Rios with the game plan. I trust everything that Teddy is telling me and teaching me. Teddy can instill everything that I need and I just go out and instill the game plan to win this fight. He has told me everything I need to know to win this fight and if I don’t go out there and do it I’m not going to win this fight.
Are you working together even more after the Rios fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Yes we are going off of what we started in the Rios fight. It’s funny you say that because after watching our sparring sessions or during sparring when I make mistakes I know exactly what I’m doing wrong before I am told. Teddy catches it and I do too at the same time and we correct it.
Is there anything you can to t help avoid the leg injuries you suffered in the last two fights?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I’m eating meat now so that’s a good thing. I’m back eating fish and chicken and a good steak every now and then and I think that has a lot to do with it. I just want to be able to fight this guy with a great game plan without being injured at all and see what happens.
Do you think this will be his last fight? Many are skeptical…
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: You know I don’t know and to be honest with you I really don’t care. If it is, so be it and if it isn’t then more power to him – whatever he wants to do. I don’t think about this being his last fight. I just know there is a fight on April 9. It’s a fight on April 9 that I want to win and I’m sure Teddy wants to win and we just have to do our job.
Can you evaluate Pacquiao before the Marquez KO and after?
TEDDY ATLAS: He has the same skill sets and the same dynamic abilities, speed, power – speed in his hands and speed in his legs. The same animal, maybe a touch more conservative and a touch more thoughtful since the last Marquez fight. That would be the only thing – he still has the same package of talent and the same moves.
What was your reaction to Pacquiao’s comments about gay people?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I don’t really want to get into any of that stuff. It’s pretty much irrelevant to boxing and what we are here to talk about – you can ask Pacquiao about that. But if you ask me a question about gay people – I love all people for what they are. I respect people for what they are. I judge people by their heart. If they just talk it and don’t show it then I don’t believe it – that’s what it’s all about. Show me. That’s the most important thing. I have a gay uncle that passed away and he had the biggest heart out of all of my uncles and I miss him to death and I still miss him today right now.
Is there some way you can avoid the leg injuries?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Overtraining – too much training on my legs. We don’t run like I did and we don’t do any of that stuff anymore. We’ve got it down to a science the way Teddy has this thing orchestrated. The way the workouts are spread out during the day and the proper rest, the rest at night, and the water intake – everything is all approved by Teddy – we are not making mistakes this time around.
Did the Vegan diet have any other affects on your body?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I need to fight a fight with two good legs so I said ‘darn it, I need to make a change.’ So I had to go back to eating meat. I feel the difference when I am in there fighting; I am recovering during my workouts. I think now I have all of the pieces to the puzzle. I have a great strength coach, I have a great nutritionist and I have a great trainer. I’ve got a great manager, which is my wife. I think I have all of my eggs in one basket – all the right pieces to the puzzle and it gives me the best opportunity to beat Manny Pacquiao.
How did the injuries limit you in the two fights?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Well, you are not only battling a dangerous guy and battling against yourself but you are battling against quitting. You think hitting is the easiest thing to do then it becomes the hardest thing to do. Quitting is not the easiest thing to do because quitting will stay with you for the rest of your life – you never get over it. It will always linger. That’s the hardest thing to do is to battle against quitting, letting go and fighting my fight and giving 110% no matter what is going on in that ring. That’s pretty much how I do it – never quit.
Did you see anything on film that you think led to Tim’s leg injuries?
TEDDY ATLAS: You never know going into a fight. Obviously if there was a slight injury going into the fight that was already leading into a problem with the leg. Obviously I wasn’t aware of that with Tim and with his camp if they had some prior problems going in maybe added to that situation. But when you are with a guy, I think Tim said it well, I think his diet and having more protein – the protein that comes from meat and fish – that very well may have been part of it, I’m sure it was part of it. Also you are dealing with a guy that if you do have a problem from a physical standpoint or the makings of a problem physically, maybe from the camp – you are dealing with a guy that gives you that kind of motion, that has the kind of wheels Manny has – it can put you out of position by adapting to him and staying with him and to adjust to him can put you in tenuous positions to defend yourself you are more prone to injury trying to stay with a guy like him.
Tim loves to train with a history of overtraining – how do you get the happy medium?
TEDDY ATLAS: First I understood that he had a 32nd birthday. I looked at the calendar and saw that he was 32 and it made sense to train a 32 year old – a five-time world champion – a little different than a 25-year old or 26 or 27. It is common sense just understanding with that kind of experience with those kinds of miles over the course of his career sometimes less is more. You do the same thing if you have a car – when it gets a little older you don’t take it on the highway 100 miles per hour – you don’t do that. You might bring it out fast on certain days but on other days you let it go at a more proper pace. It makes sense and I think sometimes in these fights there is tremendous pressure on everybody to be the most prepared. Sometimes you think the answer is to do more physical work and that’s where certain times you get comfortable – if I do more I’ll be OK. It’s like anything – there is a proper degree of everything. It’s a delicate balance – you have to pay attention to it and you have to understand it, be cognizant of it. You have to respect that. The human body is a very special machine and like any special machine it has to be worked properly. It has to be maintained properly. It has to be pushed properly and it has to be regulated properly. Too much of anything can be a negative. Like I said, you have to very aware of the right amount and what can be the wrong amount. I always say to him ‘we have an eight-week training camp, keep logs on the fire,’ we have to make sure that we will still have enough logs to burn at the end of training camp. That’s my philosophy.
When you heard what Manny said, did you think to yourself ‘this could be a distraction that we need?’
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Teddy can answer that
TEDDY ATLAS: Thanks a lot Tim. To me, it was similar to use a fighter on how they deal with adversity or how they deal with distractions. The prime example would be Floyd Mayweather Jr. His whole career has been full of what you guys would always ask before almost every fight at some juncture ‘do you think it will be a distraction’ and then he got past the fight and the next thing would happen, the next situation – ‘do you think it’s going to be a distraction?’ He’s able to live in a world of distraction; he liked to live in a world that is chaos for someone else. Some people have that ability, that mental toughness, whatever you want to call it. Manny has exhibited the same thing. Manny, throughout his career there has been many things around him. Whether it was a singing career – even though I didn’t think he was a great singer, a religious conversion or stronger beliefs to his religion which he was going through or the personal situation which everyone has; politics which he is involved in. Everybody asks and people forget now – none of that ever affected him, influenced him or affected him in a negative way. When that happened I will tell you I was one person that didn’t think it was going to be a distraction or an advantage to us at all. It’s another thing that at the end of the day, Manny will handle. Manny will get in the ring, when it’s April 9, and be a southpaw standing across the ring from us who is very fast with his hands and his feet and is very explosive, and that will be it.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: All I would say is ‘Dang, I hope he’s not messing up the promotion!’
Do you think your war of words with Freddie Roach is helping the promotion?
TEDDY ATLAS: No, I don’t think any of that stuff helps. It comes down to the professionalism of the fighters. They are the ones that the focus should be on. I didn’t ask for this to come about or to grow into the ways that it has. I made myself a promise and that was to be as restrained as I could be and with it when it was appropriate. When it was appropriate to respond, I responded but I did not fire the first shot across the bow and I waited awhile before I responded. If it helps the promotion, I’m not going out of my way – I’m never going to do things that I feel I am not comfortable with or embarrass my family or my fighter or put any of them in a poor light or position – I wouldn’t do that to promote a fight or help a fight but at the end of the day if some of those responses help the promotion that’s a good thing because without the promoters, I understood that since I started with Cus D’Amato always reminding me to help the promoters in any way you can because without that there is no place for your fighter to ply his trade. Again, it wasn’t in any thought that was I’m going to do this for this effect or to sell more pay-per-view buys – it was just a matter at some point my responding appropriately if I could under the circumstances. I could tell you now that I would have preferred that if it wasn’t initiated we wouldn’t have to talk about this at all and I try not to because the focus is the fighters. It’s the two fighters that get in the ring to take the risk. It’s the two fighters that have the most on the line and at the end of the day that should be understood.
You have been known for mostly training heavyweights – is there a difference training a welterweight?
TEDDY ATLAS: Yes, about 75 pounds (laughs). Other than that, sometimes heavyweights are a little bit more temperamental. I don’t know if that’s fair but it’s fair to me because I’ve been down that road and I find that they can be a little more temperamental sometimes – I don’t know if it’s proper to say privileged – but they are heavyweights. They don’t have to watch their weight, they get a lot of attention and the light’s been on them a lot and they’ve been brought up in a way where, I don’t want to say spoiled but all the things I just said you kind of get the idea. It makes sense – a guy that gets a lot of attention and everyone wants to see the heavyweights and to a certain extent when people think about the great sport of boxing they ask, ‘who’s the heavyweight champion? What happened with the heavyweight champs and how come they are all over in Europe? How come we don’t have more in America.’ So that question is asked, but it’s been the small guys like Timmy, like Mayweather and Sugar Ray Leonard back in the day too. There have been guys like Manny that have captured the attention of this sport to a great extent over the last few years that we haven’t done real well at the heavyweights at least on the America side. There’s always intrigue – there is always a curiosity in the big fights and they get that attention and coddled up to a little bit more where people pay a little bit more attention to them and that creates a certain temperamental balance that you have to deal with from an emotional side. Smaller guys haven’t had that coddling – they are just ready to go in and do what they’ve got to do. I think the way small guys are brought up with a little less of that attention sometimes they are a little less sensitive – put it that way. Although Timmy is a little sensitive (Bradley laughing), I will say that – but all in a great, great way. I guess at the end of the day, what I am trying to say, is that everyone pays their dues in this business, but the smaller guys may pay their debt to a larger amount. They may start paying it a little earlier.
How does it feel to be a full time trainer again?
TEDDY ATLAS: The timing is good that I don’t have an obligation to ESPN at this moment. I don’t have another ESPN fight until June it looks like so there was the gratuitous timing of that and I am appreciative that I don’t have to worry about that. I think, that aside, when you concentrate fully on the training you know it’s a worry business and concern business. When you have the trust of a fighter, something that is so difficult that can be so sudden and can be dangerous. When you have the trust and you have the responsibility of that, you don’t think about the relief of not having to do an ESPN show – when you are engrossed in the reality, that responsibility that you have of a person that puts his trus in your hands and you better not screw it up. At least for me, that’s on me every day – every morning and every night, ‘am I doing it right for this kid,’ and it’s a lot harder than doing broadcasting. I am very privileged and I’m blessed for the chance to do broadcasting, That they would let me do it, that ESPN would let me do it for 18 years now and the people out there would let me come into their living rooms – I’m blessed and I know that and that’s a responsibility too but it pales in the weight and the size of the responsibility and the burden of taking care of a fighter and caring about what’s going to happen with that fighter when he gets inside the ring and hope that for eight weeks you can get it right. You can have a football team and all of those coaches are great; and baseball and basketball but you could have four or five guys and things can go wrong and you still win the game. And if you don’t win the game, guess what? You go at it again the next day or the next week. We’ve got one shot at this – one person, one man – and that’s something to consider and it takes up your thoughts all day long when you are in camp. As much a responsibility that doing a broadcast is, it’s a lot heavier than that.
TODD duBOEF: It was terrific to hear from them. Obviously everybody can hear their voices and hear the enthusiasm that they’ve got something really good going on right now and you can talk to Monica and talk to Tim and hear it in their voice and see it in Teddy they are really getting prepared for this and they only have the last couple weeks to get ready. You are talking about a Hall of Fame fighter that is going to try and go out there and settle the score in the third fight. They are not taking anything for granted and I think we are going to see a terrific fight on April 9.
TEDDY ATLAS: We know what’s in front of us. We know the difficulty of what’s in front of us and we’ll be prepared for it
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I just want to thank my team again and my kids and my brother in law and everyone that helps make this possible for me. I want to thank Teddy and I want to thank his family and his kids as well. I want to thank my father. I want to thank Top Rank once again for believing in me and for bringing me back once again – our business relationship and our family relationship – we are a family. I love being a part of Top Rank and I love being a part of this promotion – they are a great organization and promotional company. HBO, the best in boxing – I want to thank them for bringing me back and believing in me and giving me this opportunity. And Manny Pacquiao. And tune in April 9 and after the fight we come out victorious.