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Lennox Lewis and Teddy Atlas Interview Transcript - Boxing News
 
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 Last update:  8/24/2011       Read more by Random Hits         
   
Lennox Lewis and Teddy Atlas Interview Transcript
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NEW YORK Ė Live world championship boxing returns to EPIX when undefeated 2004 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist ALEXANDER POVETKIN (21-0, 15 KOs), of Russia, and former World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight champion RUSLAN CHAGAEV (27-1-1, 17 KOs), a native of Ukraine who fights out of Berlin, Germany, square-off for the vacant WBA heavyweight title, This Saturday!† August 27th.† Presented by Sauerland Event, the live broadcast will emanate from Erfurt, Germany.

The battle between the two highest world-rated heavyweight contenders will be televised live in the U.S. exclusively on EPIX, the multiplatform premium entertainment service.† EpixHD.com will stream the fight live as part of a free two-week trial offer.† The live broadcast and the live stream on EPIX and EpixHD.com, respectively, will begin with the main event at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

Following the Povetkin-Chagaev WBA heavyweight championship, the broadcast and live stream will continue with undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) and WBA Intercontinental heavyweight champion ROBERT HELENIUS (15-0, 10 KOs), a native of Finland who fights out of Berlin, Germany, defending his regional titles against former WBO heavyweight champion SIARHEI LIAKHOVICH (25-3, 16 KOs), a native of Belarus, fights out of Phoenix, Ariz

As has become the custom, EPIX will once again present the closed-captioned simulcast of both fights on a jumbotron in Times Square (Broadway between 44th and 45th Sts.), beginning at 5 p.m. ET.

Mark Greenberg:††††† EPIX is excited for this fight for a variety of reasons.† This is the fourth boxing match that we will have done since March.† We did a fight in March, May and June.† We entered this foray several months ago.† We found it to be enormously successful for us in terms of our subscribers and viewership, as well as gaining a lot of attention for the network.† Obviously, Iíve been involved with boxing for a long time in a previous part of my career.† Weíre excited to be doing this fight.† We think itís a great match up.† We think these are the kinds of fights that need to be shown in the United States to you know as boxing has become more global, we need to be able to find another entrťe to bring these you know great matches.† We think that the Povetkin/Chagaev fight will be a really good heavyweight championship fight.† So weíre excited to do it.

EPIX chose to put this on live, which is what we did on our previous fights we televised from Europe because we think fans want to see it immediately and for sporting events, (holding of) things for three or four or five hours or making the fight to be forced to a later hour we donít think is necessarily good for the fighters or good for the fight or good for fans.† So weíre excited to take this approach.† Weíre thrilled to be able to put it on our Website, EpixHD.com, where we will be streaming it.† Our first fight had an enormous amount of activity.† Weíve had great activity in Time Square and we will be on the big Jumbotron at Time Square between 44th and 45th Street and equally important, it will be on the network live at 5 pm East Coast time and then we will be rebroadcasting that at 10 p.m. East Coast time as a replay for those fans that may have missed it.

Weíre thrilled that our announce team, Lennox Lewis will be back along with Dan Rafael and the blow by blow for the first time will be Mike Crispino, which we think will be a good addition to the team.† Weíre looking forward to this.† Our fight in conjunction with our partnership with MSG Network as we you know do these things from the studio here in New York.† More importantly, weíre excited for the fight.† We think itís a good card.† We have two fights on for the night and we think itís going to be a great night for boxing and a place for fans to really enjoy the evening.† So weíre excited for this to be happening.

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Itís been a little while since Iíve been in the corner for a title fight.† I kind of walked away some years ago from actively training regularly anyway on a regular basis, training fighters, gave that up for the ESPN microphone.† When people ask me the difference, the main difference is nobody can talk back to me on the microphone.† I kind of like that.† And you know have to worry about who wins.† Now, Iím in a position where, unfortunately, I do have to worry about who wins and be very much involved in that.

Training camp was Ė I think we were effective.† We were productive in camp.† It was over in (Czechov), Russia, which is about an hour and a half outside Moscow.† It was a short camp, much shorter than Iíve ever experienced before for a fight of this magnitude and not what I wanted, to be quite frank.† I wanted a longer camp, but I had a commitment to ESPN.† Obviously it was during the ESPN season.† I do ĎFriday Night Fightsí, as you mentioned and the understanding was that if the fight took place during the ESPN season that Povetkin and his guys would come over to me to the U.S., which theyíve done before.† This time, for some reason, they did not come over and that caused a predicament.† That caused a problem because I could not come over to Russia to train him, as they wanted me to because of what I just said, I had a commitment to ESPN.† I could not lose eight Ė miss eight or seven weeks of ESPN ĎFriday Night Fightsí.

And so actually I had stepped away from it and said that I wouldnít be able to train him.† What happened was it got to be about three weeks before the fight and the fighter himself [Povetkin] and the people asked me to come over and I found out that they had made no other arrangements and the fighter was waiting for me and I had a decision to make, more from a personal standpoint, I guess a moral standpoint where I didnít Ė you know, do I stay away from it?† Because we didnít have the situation that was agreed to,. my brain told me that a little bit, but my heart told me, do I want to be thinking about the fighter being left alone?† And I didnít want to be thinking about that.

††††† So I got on a plane, I went to (Czechov) about three weeks and two days before the fight and as I said, we had a very condensed training camp, not the amount of sparring that we would normally want to have, especially southpaw sparring because we are fighting a southpaw.† So that puts another little twist into it.† But I organized things the best I could from a mental standpoint, trying to get his [Povetkin] mind right in the time that was allowed and trying to get the Ė obviously the game plan, the strategy in place.† I think weíve done a good job getting the strategy in place.† We understand what will work against Chagaev and what to be concerned about with Chagaev.† My biggest concern was having not the full amount of time for physical training, thatís my biggest concern that we didnít have that and the full amount of time in sparring.

†But again, with the time we had, I saw progress.† I tried to Ė sometimes I felt like a pilot in a plane that knew he didnít have enough gas to get to where he was going so he started ejecting stuff out of the damn plane.† I felt like I was throwing chairs and things we didnít need out of the plane to make the flight lighter.† I mean there were days I had to make choices, no bag work today, I couldnít do this work today, but I had to concentrate on more sparring than I might have done at that point in training.† So I had to make some adjustments, as I said, but we made those adjustments.

†Iíve gotten the best results I could get under those conditions and I think as far as the strategy, as I was touching on before, we know that we can Ė there are certain things Ė heís [Chagaev] very reliable.† Heís Ė his greatest talent, his greatest overall ability is not his left or right hand or his power or his you know his speed, anything like that, I think itís his behavior, his ability to be consistent, to behave like a champion.† This is a former world champ, he knows what it takes.† He also knows what it is not to be champ, which can be very powerful for him and heís a guy that is dependable and thatís a quality, thatís the Ė nowadays people forget as much as speed and power that thatís a great attribute and maybe your best quality that you can have and your best talent that you can have is that youíre dependable.

†He knows how to behave all night long.† Heís got a great chin.† He likes to be aggressive.† He likes to come forward.† Heís a southpaw, so that gives you some other problems that heís coming from a different direction.† But heís predictable, heís always in front of you, you know where to Ė where the attack is coming from and from an offensive standpoint, you have to worry about his left hand, thatís the power hand for a southpaw.† Thatís coming from the back where he can turn into it and thatís the weapon that you have to be concerned about.† If you canít pull straight back on it, you canít let him set you up with the jab with it.† You have to be ready to slip it and you have to be ready to counter it and you have to move your body to the left which is good against a south paw, away from that power hand, away from that left hand.

And I think heís susceptible to uppercuts, especially on the inside.† He likes to throw the uppercut.† Like I said, heís heavy with the left hand, he likes to use that as his main weapon.† He will push his jab sometimes.† I think heíll give his opportunities to counter over that jab a little bit.† Weíre going to look for that, thatís been something that Iíve worked on very much to see if we can counter over that slow jab when we see itís slow to see if we could exploit him a little on the inside with the uppercut.† And I think there might be opportunities maybe to turn the tables on him; heís going to look for the left hand, maybe if we know heís looking for the left hand, you know we can expect it, we can slip it, we can counter with the right hand, maybe we can even time it and time it with the right hand a little bit.

†Those Ė again, those are all of the things that weíve been working on and the most important thing is that my guy can physically and mentally execute that plan.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† Teddy, I wanted to ask about Povetkin.† You mentioned that he has the physical and the mental capabilities to carry out that game plan.† In the past, youíve worked with fighters whom youíve had to change either in the ring or have had to work with them to change, as you put it, their behavior in the ring.† What skills does Povetkin bring to the table that you like?† And is there anything that you have to change in this abbreviated training camp so far?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Well, I mean over the last two years, Iíve been working with him.† Itís been a work in progress and Iíve been working on just making him a more complete fighter, hopefully, a better fighter.† Just improving areas. That obviously is my judgment to figure out needs to be improved.† So in one way, itís not just a specific adjustments for this fight, itís how much heís gotten together the things that weíve been working on overall for two years, that heís the best he can be in the way that he needs to be and heís as confident as he needs to be with the identity that weíve kind of put forth to him.

One of my concerns with him was he was a guy who just threw punches.† He didnít always think about when and where, but he was just throwing.† And I wanted him to think about when and where and throw them when it made most sense and throw the right punches and not give up defense when youíre going into an offensive mode.† I thought that would be important for him as he stepped up the boxing ladder.† Itís going to be important for him now because heís stepped up the boxing ladder as high as you can get.† Heís fighting for the title.† So I think itís really a lot of it has to do with how much heís come together over the two years and the things weíve been working on and how comfortable he is, how sure he is of those things that hopefully theyíve made him a better fighter and I think they have.† But now heís going to be able to Ė heís going to have to be able to carry those things out you know obviously on the 27th.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† And just to follow up, youíve always made apt comparisons between fighters.† So for fans in North America that havenít seen Povetkin, is there a fighter that resembles him that maybe fans would know that you think Povetkin is a lot like?† Or is he just unique in his own way?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Well, every fighter has their own uniqueness.† I mean everybody has their own identity.† I think the thing with Povetkin is that as I use the word a work in progress for two years, weíve been trying to Ė you just touched on it, weíve been trying to find what his identity is.† You know itís always attached to your temperament.† You canít just make a guy into what you want to make him if thatís not fully a part of his mental realm, his temperament, his mental and emotional beliefs.† And heís a thoughtful kid, heís a kid who is intelligent and sometimes I notice that he might think too much, that heís waiting and heís waiting for the perfect shot too much.† I want guys to be smart, but at the same time, I donít want them standing in front of the guy waiting too much, giving up you know the ground that you can give up when youíre standing in front of a guy and you can get beat to the punch, as simple as that.

So itís a matter of getting confidence and a matter of being active.† I didnít think he was always active enough.† When I took him over, he had 17 fights and he just hadnít been fighting that often.† I think the more often you fight, the more sure you become of yourself.† The better you become at something.† No matter what it is that you happen to be doing, you get better at it when you do it more often.† When you get into that realm that you have to live in that you have to obviously perform in Ė the more often youíre in it, the more comfortable you become in that place.† But I think for the people out there watching him, his strengths from a physical standpoint is heís Ė his hands are deceptively fast.† Heís got much better hand speed than he might have you know to the casual eye.† You look at him, you donít think of him as a fast guy.† Heís got good hand speed.† Heís got a good jab.† Iíd like him to use it more.† I guess a lot of trainers probably say that about their fighters, but I definitely would like to see him use Ė heís a pretty good body puncher.

I think the most important thing is what heís not.† I think a lot of guys, especially guys that were attached to him from a personal standpoint in Russia and thereís an attachment culturally Ė obviously thereís an attachment as far as just being from the same country and the nationalistic pride.† Theyíve wanted him to be this Russian Tyson. Here people always say, ďWell, how does he compare to Tyson?Ē† Well, they do the same thing for a living, thatís about it.† You know heís not a Tyson, heís not a seek and destroy guy.† Heís a guy that tries to be smart.† Heís a guy that you know as I said will think about things, you donít want him to think too long and heís not a guy thatís that level of a puncher.† Heís a good puncher, but not where heís explosive to the degree that Tyson was in that way and I think heís a guy that weíve improved his defense hopefully where he can depend on defense to create offense sometimes instead of just depending on offense to create offense and not sometimes thinking about the responsibility of defense.

I think that the public . . . hopefully theyíre going to see a guy that can control the range, control distance and most importantly, a guy that can be consistent through the night

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† I had a couple of questions.† One is how did you find Alexander when you finally got to him this camp?† You said you only had a few weeks to work with him.† What kind of shape did you find him in?† And thereís been some criticism that maybe youíre bringing him along too slowly.† Can you answer those questions

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Yes.† Whether the people like the way I answer it or not, Iíll answer it.† As far as the first question, which Iím sure many people wonít like the answer, I didnít find him in top shape.† I didnít find him in the shape that his people were telling me he was going to be in.† You know maybe they just didnít understand from a standpoint that I look at it that I judge such things, they didnít understand it at that level that what they thought was conditioned and what I thought was you know conditioned to get ready for a fight with three weeks to go.

He didnít have the boxing condition.† He didnít have the sparring.† I mean thatís the most important.† He had been doing some running and some strength training, but Ė and his body looked OK - but when I got him in the ring to spar, you know his cardiovascular wasnít there because he hadnít had time with the boxing training.† So we had a lot of catching up to do and when you have that to do, you know if youíre in this business and you hopefully understand something about it, you canít just throw everything against the wall and say, ďOK.† Letís see what sticks and letís use every day we got.Ē† You canít do that, you have to be responsible and thereís a balance to it.† And you push, but at the same time, you have to realize that you canít push too much because youíll go right off of the cliff.

And so I had a predicament there, yes, I had a certain amount of days, but I couldnít use everyday.† I had to use some days for rest and like I said before, I felt like a guy in a plane flying somewhere and I knew that I didnít have a full tank, so I had to think about you know how fast I was going, what my route was going to be, what Ė where the mountains were and when I didnít have to go up high, I wouldnít go high and what I had to get rid of.† And there were certain things we had to get rid of, certain you know things that would have been in training normally that we didnít have time and we had to pick priorities.

As far as your other question, yes, I didnít want him to fight Klitschko, if thatís what theyíre alluding to bringing him along slow.† I didnít think that a year and a half ago, whatever that time was, that I (inaudible) you know like anybody.† I mean my responsibilities are to the fighter and itís my decision to think of whatís right for the fighter.† I just didnít think at that time he was ready for a guy that big with over 50 fights.† My guy had 17, 18 fights at the time and he hadnít been real active and hadnít been in too many deep waters yet and to fight Klitschko at that time, thatís the only time that I can remember being careful with him, I just didnít think from the physicality of the size of Klitschko, the experience of Klitschko, the lack of experience of my guy at that point, I didnít think it was the right time.† I mean it would have been a better payday for me.† I could have just said, ďYesĒ to it, you know I was going to make about $200,000, but I wasnít going to base it on that.† I was going to base it on what I thought was right for the fighter and what I thought was right was let him get more experience.

And as far as being careful, let him get experience with the right guys.† You know we shouldnít be getting experience with Godzilla, but we can be getting experience with decent guys, solid enough guys, guys that can improve us, guys that can give us a chance to progress and get experience and get (inaudible) and get more consistent with the things weíre trying to work on.† And obviously more confident.† A bit more seasoning.† I want him to fight more often.† I tell you I wasnít being careful as far as and Iíll take criticism as well as anyone, I really will and thatís no problem, bring it on.† But I wasnít Ė but they should understand what was and wasnít.† They should at least understand what I was thinking.† I wasnít being careful where I didnít want him to fight, I wanted him to fight, I wanted him to fight guys that made sense that would extend him, that would improve him, that would challenge him at the right degrees, each time a little bit more.

But what I didnít want to do was just sit around and be careful and not fight, I wanted him to fight.† I wanted him to fight more often.† And we had trouble sometimes getting that done.† But last fight he hurt his hand which he canít do anything about that and then this fight came up and here we are.† But I just thought that at the time of the Klitschko fight, understanding boxing a little bit, I know the landscape of boxing changes and I know how erratic it can be.† I just know how fickle it can be.† And I know that it can change at a moment and I just knew that if we waited, something else would come along that would be maybe make more sense than Klitschko at the time and that something else that did come along, as it turned out, is this and I think this fight from a match up of style, experience and physicality makes more sense for him even thought we have our difficulties and we have a tough guy in front of us, no doubt about it, it just makes more sense than Klitschko did at the time.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† Do you feel comfortable right now that your guy is ready Ė given the short camp?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† No.† Look, either Iím going to keep my damn mouth shut and say nothing, which I probably should do sometimes, or Iím going to tell the truth.† So since I did tell EPIX I would talk to you guys when they asked me if I would, Iím going to tell you the truth.† Iím going to tell you that Iíd feel more comfortable if I had more time.† Do I feel weíve done the best that we could do in these conditions, in these circumstances?† Yes, I do.† That I think we did a pretty good job and I think my fighter did a good job, the best we could.† But would I feel Ė as I said, would I feel better if I had a full eight week camp, which is what I usually would like to have?† Yes, Iíd feel better.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† So what I was wondering about when you† opened your remarks, when you talked about how you had made your commitment to ĎFriday Night Fightsí and if I remember a couple of weeks before you left ĎFriday Night Fights,í you said on the air, you talked about how you had made the decision, how you wouldnít be Ö

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Thatís right.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ö (inaudible) and so what Iím wondering is, did you get a call directly from Alexander, you know with a translator I suppose or how did that all go down where they called you to basically say, you know, ask you once again, would you come to Russia?† And why didnít they come to Jersey to train with you as they have done for the past several fights?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Iíll answer the last part first.† As far as why they didnít, Iím not sure.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† Did you ever ask?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† No, I didnít Ė I told them to get their ass over here [U.S.].† I was more busy saying that than asking them why the hell they Ė at that point, it was Ė it didnít matter to me why they didnít want to be Ė or it mattered to me that they wanted there.† I mean I did ask, ďWhy arenít you keeping your commitment?Ē† I did say that.† ďYou had a commitment to come over here.† We agreed to it.† We even put it in the contract.Ē Believe it or not.† So because I knew that this time would come up possibly when the fight came that there was a chance there would be a conflict with my ESPN duties.† So I said, ďWhy arenít you keeping you know your commitment?Ē and they said, ďWell, weíd rather train over here.Ē† I said, ďWell, I donít care what youíd rather do, I mean what needs to be done is you need to be over here because I canít be over there and itís kind of hard to train with your trainer when heís thousands of miles away.Ē

So once we got past that, unfortunately time just trickled and trickled and trickled and trickled away and I made that decision on ESPN, as you said.† I said, ďIím not going to be training himĒ and then they Ė well, they call me to say that Ė what really got me was they had a press conference in Germany and they had a press conference Ė and official press conference for the fight that always takes place at the time that it does and they called me after that and they said that a lot of press asked him where his trainer was and I had already made the announcement on ESPN that I wasnít going to be there and because of the actions weíve talked about.† And they called me up and said that the press was asking, who is your trainer?† Who is your trainer?† And that nobody was answering except Povetkin and Povetkin said, ďMy trainer is only one person, Teddy Atlas.Ē

And I wasnít there and all of this stuff and I donít know what they really told him.† But when he said that and he said, ďMy trainer is TeddyĒ Ė I realized they werenít telling him everything obviously.† You didnít have to be Columbo to figure that out.† And you know Ė and hereís this kid Ė and I can stand on the righteous side all day and say, ďHey, I got right on my side because we had an agreement, I couldnít break my commitment, you knew that.† You broke the agreement, the hell with you,Ē and it was over with.† And I could stand that way forever Ė but now, there was another part to it, it was just the plan wasnít just right or wrong; I thought I was right, but it wasnít that anymore.† It was just a human element of it that here is a fighter, the biggest fight of his life and they didnít make arrangements to get another trainer and they didnít say anything to him and here he is telling the press in Germany when they all asked him, they see thereís no trainer there, theyíre all asking him you know the only question that comes to mind, ďWhereís your trainer† Ė who is your trainer?Ē and he said, ďTeddy Atlas, Teddy Atlas is my trainer.Ē

And right there when I heard that, it just affected me from just a human standpoint and after that, he had called me.† He called me and he called just to say hello, and without an interpreter, and he speaks very few words in English, and he just said, ďTeddy, I call to say hello.Ē† And that was it and after that I finally got to the point it was that it was probably past the deadline, obviously, but it was definitely Ö there couldnít be any other deadline, couldnít be any more time.† And I just said to hell with it, Iím not going to have this kid even though the situation is what it is and itís become what it is and it didnít have to become what it became and it shouldnít have became what it became and all of that crap.† It is what it is.† Iím either not or I am and I just said, ďIím going to go over there.† Iím not going to have this kid thinking that he was just left alone.í† You know if he didnít get the full information and he may never get the full information.† Iím just not going to have him thinking that.

†And I got on a plane, I was as nervous as Iíve ever been.† Youíre always nervous before a fight because itís important.† Itís important to you, itís important to the person who is fighting.† Itís going to carve out part of their life thatís going to stay with them forever.† Iíve never felt this way in my life, getting on a plane for a fight where I had as many worries and doubts and reservations as I had, but I got on a plane and said, ďLook, if Iím doing it, Iím doing it for one reasonĒ and I did it for that reason.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† One other thing, when you say they didnít tell him, you know you use they a lot.† Iím wondering are you speaking about his promoters, his manager, somebody elseÖ

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Look, his promoterís in Germany Ė but the people around him are his managers and I just donít know that he was aware fully, when I say they, I guess probably the people with him that are physically around him.† I just donít know that they wanted to tell him obviously that information and I think that they were probably hoping that something would change.† While they were hoping that something would change, the problem was no arrangements were being made you know to deal with the situation at hand.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† Thatís what I was going to ask you about, Teddy.† You have a guy here who is training for a significant fight and you know if you donít get on the plane, is he still sitting somewhere Ö

Teddy Atlas:††††††† If I donít get on the plane at that point, at that deadline or past that deadline whatever the hell, you know what?† I donít know.† I donít know.† I tell you the truth, I think they were going to do it through a collective effort that the guys just there in gym were just going to Ė they were going to do it that way and itís beyond amazing to a certain extent and then itís frightening to me because Iím in the chair of responsibility now and I have made that choice to be, so at this point, Iím going to do everything I can to represent this Ė myself and this kid the best I can and you know just Ė Iíve been to church more than I normally go.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† When you finally did get to Russia and you went to the gym and saw him, I mean can you describe?† I mean was he surprised to see you?† Was he happy to see you?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† He was happy to see me, but quite honestly, there wasnít full disclosure of what the reason for me not being there earlier.† Heís a smart kid.† He knows I should have been there earlier.† But he also knew he was supposed to be in camp with me somewhere and the place was supposed to be the United States.† And I donít know how much he was aware Ė he always knew.† He never liked to come to America.† But when I decided to say, ďYesĒ to them when they asked me to train him and they brought me over to Russia, after I initially said ďNoĒ because I didnít want to deal with boxers anymore and the things that you have to deal with, such as this.

But when I finally did go over and I met the kid and they asked me if I would train him and I finally said, ďYesĒ, one of the things I understood and recognized was he did not like leaving.† He was just a small hometown kid from Russia.† He didnít not like leaving his homeland, his motherland as he says.† And but he made it Ė he understood that he couldnít train with me if he didnít and he made a commitment to do that and he even said to me through the interpreter, ďI never thought I would leave to train with anybody, never.† And I always said I never would, but to train with you, I will.Ē

And he made that commitment and you know I said, ďWhen you have to come, you come.† When I can come, Iíll come.Ē† And which I did, there was a time when I was off the air, back last year during the winter when we were off ESPN, I went over there for five weeks because I said I would do it.† So he understood that, but I donít know if he understood that it was an agreement that to the extent that when it came to this kind of situation, that he had to come over there.† And I donít think they told him that and when I came there, quite honestly, you could see a little attitude where he was confused and probably upset that I wasnít there earlier -- not understanding why I wasnít there, why we werenít together.† And that attitude lasted only a few hours because once I watched tape with him, the first thing I did was watch tape of Chagaev, I laid out a fight plan which was a little different from what he had envisioned and when I pointed out some things that I thought we needed to work on and that would work, he, at first, didnít think they were the things that he had thought about and when I showed them to him, he saw that they were.† And he agreed.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† And I could see that he felt better.† I could just see that he felt like, ďOK.† Now I got my guy telling me what I need to hear,Ē and when we got in the gym, you could just see he was glad I was there.† But Iím not going to lie, at the initial meeting when we first met, as I said, you could see that Ė and I could understand it, just like I was upset, but I was upset with knowing full disclosure of everything.† I donít think he had full disclosure of everything.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† What kind of raw talent do you see in him potential wise?† And how close is he to getting there?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Well, I think that any time the old timers will tell you, ďYou win the title, you get 30 percent better.Ē† I think he wins a fight like this, it does enormous leaps and bounds for you as far as putting it together, as far as going from potential to recognition of that potential.† Of the confidence of just the cement, the glue that puts all the pieces together, you win the title, he will be that much closer to realizing his full potential and on the road to that full potential you know being continually being brought out in front of you, where each fight you I think see improvement, where youíll start to get the complete picture.† You start to get the full job put together.

†You see that with fighters.† You see them that they have a good amateur career, they get to a certain point professionally and then they win that one fight.† That one fight, even if itís not really the fight that everyone thought it was going to be, but in their mind itís the fight thatís going to put them in the next level.† They win that fight and itís like a light goes off.† Itís like itís OK to trust yourself now.† Itís like all of a sudden, ďOK, I belong.Ē† Somebody gave you a badge Ė gave you one of those pins that tells you, you belong to this club.† Youíre recognized.† Youíre accepted.† And I think it will come together if he wins this fight and I think that heíll be at the point where every fight after that will just add to what he can be.

As far as raw potential, your first question, heís a guy that I think was just an offensive minded guy when I first got him and I think some of that might not have worked at the next level.† But I think that he Ė like I said earlier, heís not what some people around him want him to be and not for bad reasons, but just natural reasons.† Some people want him to be the ďRussian Tyson.Ē† They want him to be the Russian destroyer. But you are attached to what you are and what your make up is and that makeup started when you were a kid and the things that were part of your life and that influenced you.† And I think heís Ė I think his raw potential is that heís got good speed, heís got a good jab, heís got to learn to have confidence and more confidence in that jab and heís a decent puncher, but heís got to recognize what he is and what he isnít.† I think he recognizes heís not that big one-punch guy that may have been at some point what he was being billed as, and I think he was being billed as that guy.† I think his raw potential is to know that he can trust himself as just being a complete fighter and being satisfied with that.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† And you were saying you didnít want to get involved with fighters because of stuff like this happening.† Has this sort of reinforced that?† Or how do you feel now?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Well, right now I just want to do my job.† I really want to come through for the kid.† I want to come through for my profession and for my family.† I just want to do the job and get the job done and be hopefully successful.† Iíve got to put it for the immediacy of it, I have to put it in the rearview mirror and concentrate on obviously why Iím here Ė but it reminds me of some of the things that you canít control and that you wish you could control that are away from the things that I love.

The thing I love is being in the gym teaching.† Being in the gym where nobody bothers you and youíre able to get into a kid.† Youíre able to get his full-undivided attention, his belief, his trust and youíre able to improve that kid.† Youíre able to get him to think things he might not have thought and get him to try things he might not have tried.† And get to the look on his face that heís starting to understand that, heís starting to feel good about that and watch him grow.† I mean almost like without being too ridiculous, almost like a parent.† Youíre watching your kid develop a little bit and that part is still beautiful and itís pure and itís the essence of boxing, watching somebody get better, watching somebody become more complete as a fighter, even as a person.† Theyíre more sure of themselves.† And thatís still great.† I just wish that that could be bottled and there could be a fence put around that and all of the other stuff could be kept out.† But you know what?† That doesnít happen because youíre dealing with life and youíre dealing with all of the other things that will come with anything.†

Lennox Lewis:††† I think itís going to be a scrappy fight.† Youíve got two guys that love to throw punches and theyíre definitely going to be throwing a lot of leather in there.† And theyíre similar size, similar age, so you should get a really exciting fight out of them.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† Teddy, how long in fact have you had to work with him this time?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Unfortunately, I know exactly how long.† When you have a lot of time, sometimes you forget, but when you have a little, you unfortunately remember.† I had three weeks and two days and I just wish I had eight weeks.† Iíd take six weeks.† But I had three weeks and two days and in reality and Lennox knows this better Ė as well as anybody and better than most people on the phone, is that in reality when youíre getting ready for a title fight, when you have three weeks and two days itís really not three weeks and two days because when you get to a week out, youíve got to start cutting down everything down.† I mean you really can't do anymore sparring.† I did Ė I did make an adjustment, and I let him box four rounds on Monday.† Normally, I stop guys.† And it depends on how guys react to stop the boxing.† So you get a feel for that.

†But normally, I might stop the week before.† You know I might stop seven days, six days out.† But I did go a little bit late.† I finished up boxing Monday because I wanted to grab one extra day because of the circumstances.† But again, it was three weeks and two days, but when you have the reality of a fight, you can only work for two weeks in that period, two weeks and maybe two days hard.† And then once you start getting around a week before, and underneath that you got a Ė you really have to start cutting down.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† OK.† And how long has he actually played here in America, or has he ever trained here in America?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Oh, yes, he's had plenty.† We've had maybe five, six camps in the U.S.† I can't give you an exact number.† I'd have to really sit down and think about it.† But when we made the arrangements for him to start training with me, he understood he had come to United States when I was working for ESPN.

So I would say we had about four Ė at least four, five camps, maybe five, maybe even possibly six.† But at least four or five camps in the United States.† Some of the camps, the duration were two months.† Some of them were six weeks.† And we did have a mini camp.† When we were waiting to see what was going to happen with the WBA decision on whether or not this fight was going to become the interim fight for the vacated title, for the regular WBA title, whatever they're calling it, while we were waiting for that Ė I think it was in June -† and I said to them, "Look, get them over here.† He hasn't fought for eight months."† We fought, I think, it was like in December.† He hurt his hand.† I didn't know how his hand had healed.† I didn't know what kind of condition it was in.† He hadn't been active for all that time.† We knew that we were on the horizon of a fight that was going to be popping up any time, we were going to start to find out about it about it.† So I said, "Look, get him over here for a mini camp.† Let's get him over here, and let me look at him.† Let me evaluate his hand, and let me do a little training with him and see where he's at."

†So we did, and it was a 2-1/2 week camp.† So I did have that.† But again, that was in June, and then, of course, there was all the time between that before the Ė before we got to this.

Q:††††††††††††††††††††††††† And while he's over there and not training with you, I know it's one thing for him not to be training at all, but is he also getting alternate instruction that maybe takes away from what you put into him?† Is he talking to another trainer?

Teddy Atlas:††††††† No, I don't think that's happening.† He's a good kid.† This is a great kid.† I tell you, he's got good character.† He's a terrific kid.† He really is.† And that's one of the main reasons I'm here under these conditions.† But no.† He has a strength coach, but nobody really talks boxing to him, where he's getting conflicting signals or you know the wrong signals from somebody.† He's pretty much on his own.† He'll do some running.† He'll take time off like any fighter well.† He may take three weeks off after a fight.† And then he'll start running a couple of days a week and doing some weight training a couple days a week and that kind of stuff.† And then if he does go into the gym, which he doesn't do a lot of when I'm not around.† But if he does, he'll pretty much go in there on his own.

Mark Greenburg:††††† IWe're just excited that it's going to be a terrific fight.† It's great to hear from Teddy.† We're thrilled that Lennox, again, is that on the EPIX announce team.† We're excited about doing great fights.† I think there's a really interesting competitive match, and I think it's good for boxing to do those kinds of match ups.† So we're excited that we're able to put it on the EPIX network, and were looking forward to continuing our relationship with boxing fans.

Lewis Lennox:†††† Povetkin has a good motion.† He's strong.† He's very gamy.† And he's going to be making a good fight of it.† He also, just to tell everybody, because my birthday is coming out.† His break is coming up.† And we actually share the same birthday.† So that's pretty exciting.† I'm very interested in seeing this fight and the improvement Povetkin has gone through with Teddyís tutelage.

Teddy Atlas:††††††† Iíd like to say hello to everybody at home.† And Iím going to sure as hell be glad to see you guys when get back home.† I look forward to seeing my family, and all the fans that I always appreciate that are always supportive out there.† The boxing fans, I think, are the best in the world.

And I think you guys have filled a very definite void and done an important job for me in EPIX because you know these are fights that will belong to the public, and theyíre important fights.† Theyíre important fights, being that there over here in a different locale in Europe where a lot of activity is taking place.† Firstly, heavyweight activities.† The Europeans have owned the heavyweight division.† And I think it's so important for the fans that EPIX has stepped into that void and taken responsibility, and I really mean that.† It's important for the sport, it's important for fighters, and as I said, it's important for the fans.† So I think EPIX should be applauded for what itís doing.† I really do.† I really do.† I mean I know it makes sense, and it's Ė it has to be based partly on business, but I think it's good that you guys have taken on the responsibility in that role.

And as far as the fight, you know you can say whatever you want, the WBA, the other organizations, some of the things they do, some of the decisions they make, and they make you scratch your head, it can make you hit your head against the wall, and can make you do a lot of things.

But at the end of the day, these are two were the guys.† You've got Ė in my Ė in my kid, you got an undefeated kid that there's no questions on.† There's no doubt about it.† But people want to see those questions, so you're going to Ė they want to see them answered.† And you've got a get a chance to see them answered.† He's a former Olympic gold medalist from the Athens games in 2004 the same way as Klitschko and Lennox were gold medalists.† So you want to see can he be possibly the heir to the throne.† So there's an interest.† He hasn't been beaten yet.† You want to see what is he?† What can it be?

†And as far as Chagaev, you've got a legitimate solid guy.† I mean you got a guy that was a world amateur champion.† You've got a guy that was a world champion in the WBA.† His only loss was to a guy named Klitschko, and that ain't too bad.† He's a tough guy.† He doesn't know how to do anything but make good fights.† So you can make the argument, well, it's for the vacant title, it's for this, it's that.† But the two were the top-rated guys, and ultimately everyone out there will be satisfied with the effort put forth on Saturday.† And thank you.

Tags: Ruslan Chagaev , Alexander Povetkin , Povetkin-Chagaev , Povetkin vs Chagaev



 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by ShoulderRoll, on 08-26-2011
[QUOTE=Grinderman]That's almost right, except that it's not. Atlas is being f*cked with by Kalle Sauerland, who hates him and wants him out. Teddy called Kalle a "punk" and various other things earlier this year. Kalle would rather see Povetkin lose to Chagaev (as looks likely, especially with...

comment by DrewWoodside, on 08-25-2011
[QUOTE=DrewWoodside]So Epix will be televising this fight in the United States? What time will it be airing EST? Anyone know..[/QUOTE] Oh well, I just clicked the article. NVM, sorry

comment by DrewWoodside, on 08-25-2011
[QUOTE=Grinderman]That's almost right, except that it's not. Atlas is being f*cked with by Kalle Sauerland, who hates him and wants him out. Teddy called Kalle a "punk" and various other things earlier this year. Kalle would rather see Povetkin lose to Chagaev (as looks likely, especially with...

comment by Grinderman, on 08-25-2011
[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll]Friday Night Fights has wound down for the year. And being away for 3 weeks is more acceptable to ESPN than being away for 2 months. Just to hear Teddy talk you can tell that he cares a lot about this kid. It's too bad that the idiot Germans or Russians who are running ...

comment by !! Mr. Soprano, on 08-25-2011
I never liked Atlas.. and this made me dislike him even more.. damn he is sooo annoying and always so negative, and his pre-fight predictions suck as he's wrong most of the time.

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