"Every time a fighter gets in that ring, they come out of that ring after a tough fight with less than they went in there with. That is a fact. That is a fact and that's why I take it very seriously when people rob these fighters and when we have no structure to protect these fighters and the system is not in place to do those things... there was some of Bradley and some of Provodnikov left in that ring after that fight the other night, and they will not get it back. Once it's gone, it's gone," stated ESPN commentator and world-class trainer Teddy Atlas, who shared his thoughts on last Saturday's war between WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and challenger Ruslan Provodnikov. Having watched Provodnikov up-close and personal in several fights on ESPN, Atlas had a lot to say about the performances of both fighters. Check it out!
PC: When I see a fighter suffer the kind of damage that both Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov suffered during their brutal fight, recent memory brings me to Trinidad/Vargas. Watching that fight, I knew Vargas would never be the same. Going back a little further, it was like Pryor/Arguello. Again, I just knew those guys wouldn't be the same. Do you feel that's what you witnessed last Saturday night?
TA: Is the question that he might not be the same again?
PC: Yes sir!
TA: Yeah, listen this was a different point in their career. This was when they were older, but when Frazier and Ali left that ring in Manila, they didn't leave the person that they went into that ring as. They left with less of those people. Every time that a fighter gets in a tough fight here is the reality people, so maybe they will understand it. And that's why I'm passionate and so strong and so thick-headed when I go after these people in boxing that rob fighters, these promoters that rob fighters, and the commissions that allow it to happen. These policies that are not in place to have structure to look out for the fighters, that's why I am such a pain in the neck for you fans out there that hear me screaming all of the time when I see something done wrong to a fighter because they only have so many fights. Every time they get in the ring, unlike the judges who sit at ringside with nothing but a pencil in their hand, they are not being dissipated by the fight. They are not being worn down. They don't have something taken out of their physicality. Every time a fighter gets in that ring, they come out of that ring after a tough fight with less than they went in there with. That is a fact. That is a fact and that's why I take it very seriously when people rob these fighters and when we have no structure to protect these fighters and the system is not in place to do those things. It's just like Frazier and Ali in Manila I know they were older. I know they were dissipated already, I understand all of that, but there was a lot of them left in Manila.
And there was some of Bradley I can't tell you how much, but there was some of Bradley and some of Provodnikov left in that ring after that fight the other night, and they will not get it back. Once it's gone, it's gone. Bradley, to me what bothered me and I love Bradley, his heart, the way he goes about preparing himself, the way he doesn't talk all kinds of crap; he just behaves like a fighter and acts like a fighter, he talks like a fighter and represents himself like a fighter. He acts like a champion. But I was concerned with the way he got affected. I know Provodnikov. He has fought 6, 7, or 8 times, I don't know how many times on ESPN. I've seen him on his way up. I've seen him through all of the developing stages of his career up front and up close on air, and he is not that kind of puncher. He is a decent puncher; he goes to the body and he's a tough son of a gun. I think he is a strong puncher, but my goodness, he looked like George Foreman. He looked like a wrecking ball the other night. Part of it is he caught him clean I get it, but I'm concerned about how much of a part of it is something else. Is part of it some of the wear and tear during his career from amateur to pro? Or is part of it see, I look at everything. Or is part of it the weight that he took off. I understand that he was heavy, the heaviest of his career, and he had to take off 30 to 40 pounds. I don't know what the exact number was, but I know he had to take a significant amount of weight off in camp, so that concerns me, because when I saw him touched, when I saw him hit with those punches, I saw Bradley affected in a bigger way than I have ever seen him affected. I seen him get off of the floor against Kendall Holt and hurt at times in other fights and he got up or shook it off and behaved like a champion, but I have never seen him affected and shaken the way he was against Provodnikov. And again, he made Provodnikov look like Joe Frazier and George Foreman all in one. And he is not that kind of puncher, so it concerns me. I'm in the business where you need to have answers. You can't just say, "Okay, let's go on to the next stage." No! You need to have answers if you care about this stuff and if you want the fighters properly looked out for. So one of the questions I ask is why was he so shaken up every time he got hit? Every time he got caught from the first round to the 12th round, he got badly hurt, and I'm just concerned as to why that was happening to the degree that it was happening.
PC: For his trainer Joel Diaz to come out and say that Bradley admitted to being hurt in every single round of a 12-round fight cannot be a good thing.
TA: I saw that and I agree and it was very apparent, very clear, and obvious that he was hurt in every round. Every time that he got caught, he was hurt. It was the kind of fight that you never felt comfortable that he would get through the fight because anytime he would get caught, there was a chance that he would get affected and affected very badly once again.