Teddy Atlas Interview on Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto In-depth and Prediction - Plus Floyd Mayweather Jr, Antono Margarito, Oscar De La Hoya and Much More! By David Tyler, DoghouseBoxing (Nov 11, 2009) Doghouse Boxing
Teddy Atlas is a boxing trainer and expert commentator for ESPN. In 1997 he founded the Dr. Theodore Atlas foundation in memory of his late father. Let’s welcome Teddy back into the doghouse.
David Tyler Hi Teddy, we need to discuss the Cotto/ Pacquiao bout this Saturday on HBO PPV.
Teddy Atlas Dave, I thought that may be why you called. ESPN wanted me to cover that fight and I was supposed to go up to Bristol to do live in-round scoring. For the big fights they get spike traffic that comes over, like when I did the live in-round scoring of the Mayweather/ Marquez fight they found that a lot of people didn’t have the money to pay for the PPV event or they didn’t have HBO to catch the replay. A lot of fans followed what I was doing by going to ESPN and monitoring my live in-round scoring of the fight. They wanted me to do that again but I’m supposed to go to Russia Monday to train Alexander Povetkin for a fight in early December. I was going to go over there and then come back for the Dr. Teddy Atlas Foundation annual dinner and then head back to training so I’m probably not going to be around for the big fight.
DT Teddy, what does Manny Pacquiao have to do to win this fight?
TA Well, first of all you always want to play to your strengths and you got to know what your strengths are and obviously you want to know where your flaws are and stay away from them. The Pacquiao strength is his speed and he is a southpaw. He wants to move to his right, behave like a southpaw and take advantage of being a lefty. Forcing Cotto to deal with angles and use his speed because he is quicker with his feet, his body movement, his hands, he must constantly be reminding himself that he is quicker with the feet, quicker with the body, quicker with the hands. He will need to box from the outside early on in the fight to establish a rhythm. Pacquiao seems to be the kind of guy that sets tones, he sets rhythms and when he gets into a good rhythm his offense flows like good music. I think he wants to get into that rhythm and I believe he wants to have good vision of his opponent so he can see if there is if there are remnants of the ghost of Margarito in the belfries so to speak. In the Clottey fight there certainly was and you could see it with the tentativeness of Cotto especially in the middle rounds. Clottey didn’t take advantage of it and I think that Pacquiao will be aware of that and if he sees some of the ghost of Margarito still hanging around then he might up the tempo a little bit. Cotto should know that he can’t match speed with Pacquiao so he will try to time him in spots. So Pacquiao should be aware of those spots and don’t give Cotto a chance to time him. Pacquiao likes to fight in and out and if he comes in from far enough distance then Cotto could time him so Pacquiao must be aware of this fact, so don’t give him that landscape.
DT And Cotto……
TA As for as Cotto, what are your strengths? Well you are the bigger man and one of the good ways to impose your bigness on somebody, so to speak, is to go to the smaller man’s body, that’s a great way of exploiting being bigger is to attack the smaller man’s body. He has a smaller body and you’ve got the bigger body. If you attack his body it provides dividends in other ways too. As the fight goes on it can take some of the speed away, take his wheels away, it can take some of his ability to be mobile. So there is no better way for a bigger man to take advantage of a smaller man than attack his body. Another thing is don’t get into a shootout and try to be Clint Eastwood out there. Don’t just go out there and shoot it out right away. You must have a plan, timing can negate speed, timing can defeat speed, it can take away speed, you must be aware of this, you’re definitely the slower guy but you are an experienced guy who has a great amateur background, you are the bigger guy, how can you find a way to get that into the equation, where my being bigger means something. It means nothing to say it, it means nothing on paper, and it has to be a practical application to mean something, how can they plan a practical application where my being bigger means something? Well, by timing the guy, timing means a lot in this case, once in a while you can hit Pacquiao with a right hand like all southpaws. I have noticed that Pacquiao leans back on his left side and I’ve noticed that he kind of camps out there, sometimes when he comes in he leaves himself a little bit available. You could hit him with a left hook. So Cotto must come in with a plan that includes taking advantage of timing which he must to win the fight. I think that’s it in a nutshell, I think the early part of the fight is very important, some will say in every fight the early part of the fight is very important and it is, but in this case it’s more important because the smaller man is going to feel like he can get the tempo he wants, he can get the setting he wants, he can get the levity he wants, and the bigger man Cotto is coming of the devastating fight against Margarito which did show in the Clottey fight, so can he get a little confidence early, can he chase away whatever spirits that may be still lingering from the Margarito fight, can he do that? The early part of the fight will tell him and us a lot about that point.
DT Your prediction?
TA My prediction is that it will be an interesting fight, but I will go with the smaller man even though this is the first fight in several fights where there is a risk for him. I don’t think there was a risk in fighting Diaz, Oscar, or Hatton. Diaz wasn’t a challenge, even though De La Hoya was a bigger man he started at 130 lbs, a lot of people forget that and De La Hoya never won the big fights so there wasn’t any risk there. Hatton just wasn’t the fighter that the media made him out to be. His style really fit into Pacquiao, he left holes in the middle, holes that could be filled by the faster Pacquiao, so there was no threat or risk fighting those bigger guys. This bigger guy is a legitimate threat; this bigger guy is a much better fighter than Pacquiao has ever fought. You have to explore the question is Pacquiao full of over confidence, we know he has a lot of self-confidence but he could also suffer from over confidence because of his easy victories against lesser fighters who just weren’t in the class of Cotto. I am still going to go with the confident guy who has his Mojo working so to speak. I am going to hope that all the influences that could be bad influences out there, all the temptations that could beget him being a superstar, being a national icon in his country, being a great, great inspiration for the Filipino people. But the negative side is all the distractions, the politics, he may not know anything about politics but he could be the mayor of any city, he could be a senator, or even president of the Philippines, he could be a major television star over there even though he doesn’t know how to act but the ratings would be off the charts, he certainly could star in a movie even though nobody would say he is Robert Redford, and the movie would make millions and millions of dollars because he is Manny Pacquiao, he could make an album of music and I doubt that he sings very well but that doesn’t matter, it would make him millions and millions of dollars, everywhere he goes thousands and thousands of people come out just to get a glimpse of their national hero, it’s terrific. But the negative of that is that it can start to weigh on him, it can start to digress him, and I’m wondering if some of that is not happening now, if you watch the 24/7 promotions on HBO you get the feeling that the fame and fortune is starting to bang on that door. That door where it starts to deteriorate you, it starts to make you comfortable, it starts to make you less hungry, people always telling you how great you are, that you are unbeatable. It starts to make you take your eye off the ball a little, and I’m wondering if that’s not starting to happen. To me it’s just as great an enemy as any left hook or right hand if that happens. But, I’m going to say that he still has that under control for this fight, his speed, his confidence will carry him to a victory. So I would have to take Pacquiao by decision.
DT Teddy as always we thank you for your time and wish you the best of luck with your Dr. Teddy Atlas Foundation Dinner as well as training your heavyweight prospect, Alexander Povetkin. Many blessings to you!
TA Thank you David, I always have time for you, and I appreciate your kindness to the foundation.
Readers: Prior to this interview Teddy told me that several of you have made contributions to the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation. You have received your hand written note of thanks from Teddy. I would also like to thank you for helping his foundation “fight the good fight”.