One thing that has already come out of the newly minted Timothy Bradley and Teddy Atlas partnership has been an array of colorful metaphors.
Bradley, the WBO welterweight champion, hired Atlas to help with his defense so he will not take as many devastating blows like he has in recent fights. Bradley has promised he will be a “smart monster,” where he will be more cautious without losing his aggression.
Atlas, the longtime trainer who has been solely a successful broadcaster that last few years, said one of the main goals will be to eliminate “mortal sins,” or the mistakes that has resulted in Bradley getting hit with big shots.
Being a smart monster and avoiding mortal sins will be crucial tonight when Bradley defends his title against Brandon Rios, an aggressive fighter who Atlas says begins coming forward during the national anthem.
Throughout the years, Bradley has established himself as one of the sports best fighters, demonstrating a tough chin, relentless determination and athleticisms that fuels his versatility. But he’s been proving he has a tough chin too often for his own comfort.
In 2013, Bradley sustained a concussion in the first round and was knocked down again in the 12th round before scoring a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. In December, 2014, Bradley’s face was mutilated in a draw against Diego Chaves. In Bradley’s last fight, he got caught with a big right that wobbled him in the final minute against Jessie Vargas before scoring another unanimous decision.
But working with Bradley will be more tinkering, not an overhaul. Bradley returns to the Thomas and Mack, where he had his signature victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013. Marquez was fresh off his devastating knockout of Manny Pacquiao at the end of 2012 that left the Filipino superstar out cold and face down on the canvas for nearly two minutes.
Bradley controlled the fight, avoided danger and won a convincing majority decision.
But even before the Marquez fight, Bradley had been an elusive boxer. Against future world champions Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson, Bradley outclassed each. In the first of two fights against Manny Pacquiao, Bradley was able to avoid big danger against one of the sports biggest punchers.
Since the Provodnikov fight, Bradley has engaged more and gotten hurt more. The aggressive style has Rios believing that Bradley will re-engage in his brawling style when he either gets hit or challenged.
We’ll find out Nov. 7.