"I have found in the past that a lot of these strength and conditioning guys are frauds. I have found some of them are good; guess you find that in everything, but a lot of times, some of them are frauds...I do care about the kids in my sport that can get hit by somebody that they shouldn't be getting hit by because of what they have running through their veins, and you're going to allow John Dillinger to go and be your accountant? You're going to allow John Dillinger to go behind the counter and work behind the desk at a bank. No, you're not, so why do we allow John Dillinger, meaning Conte, to walk into my sport of boxing to be in position to possibly do what he has done in the past? Why? Why? Why," stated world-class trainer and ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas, who shared his thoughts strength and conditioning coaches, performance-enhancing drugs, and much more. Check it out!
PC: Another unfortunate situation in boxing is the fact that we've lost two big fights due to positive drug tests for PEDs. You came up in the era where strength coaches didn't exist, and I'm not solely blaming them for the positive tests, but this is a major issue in boxing right now. What are your thoughts on this situation?
TA: I have found in the past that a lot of these strength and conditioning guys are frauds. I have found some of them are good; guess you find that in everything, but a lot of times, some of them are frauds and they get their too fast. They get a good body and a big body and that's not all that we're talking about. How did you get that good body, and is that good body good for a fighter? And the main thing is does it fit into the realm of what we're trying to do with this fighter, with all of the other things that go with training a fighter. Is that a part of his conditioning and his goals for what he's trying to do with that body. And then the way that body is going to react to situations it's going to be in. I've found a lot of guys that don't have the background that they say they have or that they present themselves as, and if they do, it's a standard background with weight training and nutrition, but not understanding, again, how it would fit into a fighter's workout. How it would be a piece to a puzzle and not overtraining them, not hurting them, and not enabling him to do the things he has to do as a fighter; not making him too stiff and not taking away from the dimensions that don't need to be taken away. Just strictly supplementing.
A lot of these guys, they don't have the practical experience and understand how what they are doing fit in there. They just bring what they think is their knowledge from where they are coming from with making the body look bigger and cut, but that's not near the end goals that you are dealing with when you are talking about a fighter. And a fighter being improved and prepared to step into the ring and be healthy on that kind of program. With a lot of these guys, you have to really know what their background was. They come in and most of them are certified, but still they don't have the practical experience to attach to what they knew about just making muscles bigger in some cases. And sometimes, the egos are out of control. You know, they would be talking, "Watch this guy on HBO, watch this guy on ESPN, and watch this guy on Showtime! Watch what I did to his body. Watch how I made him bigger and stronger." But again, was that the goal? Was that the goal of the fighter or was that the goal that he had in his mind for himself. And I've had a lot of bad experiences, and quite honestly, I've stayed away from them if I'm not so sure about them. I just do it myself. I've been doing it for 40 years. I've done pretty good. I've never heard anyone say my guys aren't strong enough or my guy wasn't in good enough condition to do what he had to do and handle the task in front of him. So a lot of times, I do it myself. But can they be helpful and take something off of your plate? Yeah, if they are the right guy as far as the temperament and his character and his background and understanding how, from a practical standpoint, where he fits in and where he doesn't fit in. He has to be supplemental and not more than that.
But now, with the PEDs, you got a guy like [Victor] Conte. It frustrates me to hear his recent reports basically putting all of the blame on Berto. I'm not saying that these fighters don't have a responsibility; of course they do. We all do and everyone does as a man when you get past a certain age. He is in charge of that part of his training, that part of his nutrition, and that part of the supplementation aspect that's being given to him. And then he's going to go make a statement, "Ah, he must've took something I didn't know about. I didn't give it to him." I thought you were the guy that was in charge of that. I thought you were the guy that was making the charts and making the nutritional program up. I don't understand that. Where did that disconnect come from? And of course, Conte is the guy that has the background we know about with Balco and Barry Bonds and all that stuff.
Again, we have a situation now with Peterson, and again, it's up to boxing to step up in a lot of areas. One of the areas...and I've been yelling a lot about them all for years. I'm tired of yelling them. I am. I am really tired, but I try to use my platform as responsibly as I can because in a way, I do feel like I have a responsibility. I care about the sport and the people that are in it. One area is with the decisions and the judging, like with the Pacquiao situation and all of the other situations and other bad decisions that are tearing this sport apart and hurting the fan base, hurting the fighters and the sport as a whole. That's the structure of boxing that I have been yelling for years has to get better. It has to police itself over. Well, the PEDs, it's the same thing. We don't have testing. We don't have testing for PEDs; very rarely in some states when it's a title fight. But these tests aren't at the levels that they should have to be at to catch these guys with the sophistication and the knowledge they have to be able to use these things and mask these things. The only reason there is a misconception here. A lot of people and fans said to me, "Teddy, I'm glad to see boxing has stepped up and they are testing and they caught these two guys. It's good and important that they did that." Boxing didn't step up and catch these guys. These guys put their wrong foot in the bear trap. The testing wasn't available, but they asked for it and volunteered it. If they wouldn't have volunteered, it wouldn't have been done. So if anything, it's just a sign that it has to be done and it has to be done across the board on a broader spectrum, in a broader light, and that hasn't been done regularly in all states. And not just title fights, and again, not just available when somebody says, "I volunteer for the program." It looks like it should be a mandatory program because if anything, it shows us that we have a problem. Just like baseball had a problem, just like football had a problem, it's up to us to do something about that problem.
The problem with boxing, unlike the other sports that aren't perfect, is they have structure. They have commissions that can put mechanisms and policies in place, but not in my sport; not in this sport. Boxing, those mechanisms aren't in place, those policies aren't in place, and there is no structure in place. There is no national commission in place. One state says one thing and the other state says something else. At the end of the day, you don't know what you're getting, but the problem is you do know what you're getting and you're not getting anything in uniform or consistent the way you should be getting it. You're not getting good judges across the board, you're not getting accountability for the bad judging, you're not getting action when they're bad judging and enforcement of rules, and again, getting back to the PEDs, you caught two guys. Good! But there are more guys out there and that's pretty apparent now. You have to put policies and programs in place to make sure that you can run with it across the board.
And I think it's much stronger than baseball or any other sport because baseball, yeah, you want to get rid of it because the sport is at risk, but not necessarily the health of the players. The health of the players using it themselves, yeah, that's at risk because of the long-term effects it has, but not as far as the other players who aren't using it. But in my sport, boxing, yeah, because the other guy who isn't using it is at risk. Because instead of hitting a ball further, instead of hitting it 500 feet instead of 400, and instead of hitting 400 homeruns instead of 280, it's got a much more dangerous repercussion. You're hitting somebody's head instead of a ball. The consequences are much different. Instead of Babe Ruth's homerun record or Hank Aaron's homerun record being shattered and that's too bad for the history of the sport. And that puts question marks next to the history of the sport, and I understand that, but I'm more concerned with the health of the participants of my sport. Again, in baseball, it can only break records and hit balls further. They're not hitting someone in the head with their bat. In boxing, the people that are putting these things in their bodies and they are stronger and faster and they have an uneven advantage, they are hitting somebody in the head, and because of that, we need to be on top of this and make sure we remove it.
PC: I say this all of the time Teddy, only boxing would let someone with Victor Conte's past in with no problem. The NFL would have laughed at him if he would have offered his services to them.
TA: Exactly! Thank you my friend. Thank you! He wouldn't walk into baseball. Pete Rose can't even go into baseball. He is a mortal, but he can't come into baseball. Conte did so much more than that; much more than that. He's playing with people's health with chemicals, and he's going to be allowed with his background and after what he was found guilty of, he's going to be allowed to walk into a sport where those drugs can be put into somebody's arms or somebody's body to be used to batter somebody's head harder and be stronger. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? No other profession. Oh my God! I mean, if you look at the stock market, I don't give a damn about those Wall Street idiots, but even in the stock markets, they don't allow Michael Milken to go down there. He is not allowed to go down there no more. He robbed them of a billion dollars. Bernie Madoff, if he was to get out of jail, he wouldn't be allowed down Wall Street. Even they have standards. They have the FCC and different commissions in place. They have some kind of control on what goes on there. Are you kidding me? The only people that got hurt in those instances are these over-privileged white collar guys that I can give 2 shits about. But I do care about the kids in my sport that can get hit by somebody that they shouldn't be getting hit by because of what they have running through their veins, and you're going to allow John Dillinger to go and be your accountant? You're going to allow John Dillinger to go behind the counter and work behind the desk at a bank. No, you're not, so why do we allow John Dillinger, meaning Conte, to walk into my sport of boxing to be in position to possibly do what he has done in the past? Why? Why? Why? Because people don't give a shit and we don't have the structure. We don't have somebody that says, "No, that's not acceptable. We have to have rules and standards. We have to have censors up. No, you can't work here. You can go work somewhere else that I have no control over, but no, you can't work here." We don't have that, and God almighty we need it.
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