One person who was crucial in getting Teddy Atlas to return to boxing to train WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley had never met the Desert Storm until this week.
When Bradley approached Atlas, he initially said he wasn’t interested in training again. That was until Atlas spoke to his daughter Nicole, who has a knack for convincing people as a successful lawyer.
“My daughter told me, ‘As great a broadcaster as you are, you’re a teacher. That’s your calling, that’s your essence,” Atlas said, recalling how his daughter convinced him to get back into boxing. “It would be a shame not to allow yourself to teach anymore.”
In convincing her father to return, Nicole had never met Bradley or his team in person until she arrived in Las Vegas with her mother and brother. Bradley will defend his WBO belt against the rough and rugged Brandon Rios on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Thomas & Mack. HBO will telecast the fight card starting at 6:30 p.m., PST.
Throughout the seven-week training camp, Atlas has constantly been keeping Nicole and the family posted. And Nicole said the affect has been positive on her dad.
“We talk to him every day and he’s on a good schedule, he gets up, he’s at the gym, and he’s been getting in shape with Tim,” Nicole said. “He’s been taking off the weight like Tim has, he goes to the gym. He updates us on how sparring’s gone, how he’s doing. It’s all been positive. He’s enjoying it.”
Atlas was co-hosting his radio show on Sirius XM when he had Bradley as a guest. It was days after Bradley had regained the vacant WBO welterweight title after beating Jessie Vargas.
Despite dominating the fight, Bradley was caught with a big right in the final minute that left him wobbly.
Bradley was a phone-in guest for “Going the Distance,” which Atlas hosts with Wally Matthews and Nabate Isles.
Atlas asked Bradley “why did you get hit,” with a follow up, “do you know why you got hit.”
Bradley didn’t have an answer for why he got hit, so Atlas began to break it down. His co-hosts just went silent and listened to the interaction.
“I couldn’t help myself. It just happened in the middle of the interview,” Atlas said. “The teaching part came out and being a teacher is helping someone who needs help.”
“I forgot I was on the radio. I became a teacher,” Atlas said. “My daughter was right.”
But Atlas didn’t think it was anything more than an interview. His co-host had different thoughts.
“We went to a commercial (after the interview) and Wally said, ‘He’s going to call you to train him,’” Atlas said. “I said, ‘No he’s not, because I’m not training anyone.’ I wasn’t thinking in those terms. He said, ‘you mark my words, he’s going to call you to train him.’”
It wasn’t long after when Bradley did call Atlas, but he wasn’t interested initially. During that time, Bradley decided to part ways with Joel Diaz, who had trained him his entire professional career.
But it was talking to Nicole that changed his mind. Another thing that convinced Atlas to return to training was getting to know Bradley. Atlas liked Bradley’s character and was comfortable with his family.
Nicole said she’s even noticed a change.
“It’s different when he’s doing the commentating, he’s just preparing to call the fight. With this, he’s putting more of his heart into it,” Nicole said. “There’s always worry because he wants to make sure he’s doing everything right. And there’s also the confidence he’s done everything right. Now we’re here for the fight and everything he needed to do is done.”
During the weigh in, Nicole was with her mother Elaine and brother Teddy III were sitting in the back row and passing out “Desert Storm” black t-shirts to their other family and friends who joined them from the East Coast.
“It’s exciting. Definitely, we’re excited, but at the same time, nervous,” Nicole said. “It’s been a few years since we’ve had to worry and care who wins the fight. Normally, we watch all the fights. It doesn’t matter who wins or lose. We just watch it for the entertainment. It’s exciting.