Bradley-Atlas for Rios bout makes perfect sense

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Timothy BradleyWelterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. is all kinds of official these days. He’s officially set to fight Brandon Rios after the fight seemed all but dead last month. Bradley and Rios are scheduled to fight November 7th at the very official Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas – I say official because it has been refurbished. The only thing not official is whether or not Bradley’s WBO title will be on the line although the decision will reportedly be announced next week according to the rumor mill, which is rarely wrong, am I right?

That isn’t the only thing official for Bradley. The fighter out of Palm Springs, California nicknamed “Desert Storm” has officially cut ties with his longtime trainer Joel Diaz, which he announced last week on social media. The split has become somewhat controversial as both men have shared different accounts of exactly what happened and how it happened.

There have been reports that Monica Bradley, the fighter’s wife, and manager, was mostly responsible for the decision to cut Diaz. Monica has certainly taken a much more active role in her husband’s career over the past year, but she has recently become a bit more vocal, too.

After some name dropping and potentially misleading reports of prospective trainers, Bradley has officially signed on for the services of Teddy Atlas.

Atlas, a seasoned trainer in the sport, has been more involved in boxing as a commentator for ESPN. He hasn’t trained anyone since Alexander Povetkin and has been inactive as a trainer for several years. That said, he is still a renowned figure within boxing and well-respected for his immense knowledge of the sport.

It is a somewhat peculiar choice in the sense that it was unexpected, but it makes sense from at least one angle.

Diaz, who was a guest on Tha Boxing Voice radio show before the split with Bradley, spoke about his unwillingness to branch out. He was specifically asked about the potential for opening up other gyms across the country in a similar manner as Robert Garcia, who has plans to expand beyond the California border he calls home.

The answer Diaz gave was specific to the question, but he gave some insight into the relationships he maintains with his marquee fighters. It was obvious that Bradley took precedent over Diaz’s other fighters, but it was also clear that Diaz refuses to spread himself too thin because he likes to remain completely dedicated to his fighters.

In Atlas, Bradley will have the dedication of a trainer with no other fighters. He will not have to work around other fighter’s schedules’, although there is at least one ESPN broadcast between now and Bradley’s November 7th date – a PBC card featuring a welterweight bout between Devon Alexander and Aron Martinez.

Still, Bradley will have Atlas’ full attention and he won’t have to worry about his trainer being consumed with any other fighter’s game plan, training camp, or routines. Atlas will have one goal from a training standpoint, and that is to figure out the best way for Bradley to beat Rios.

It is a bit alarming that Atlas admitted he wasn’t considering Bradley as a project until after his daughter Nicole campaigned for it. And Atlas still wasn’t convinced until he spent some time with Bradley in California.

Everyone has the right to weigh their option, but for someone who hasn’t been a trainer for several years, you are naturally going to question the enthusiasm level, especially if it wasn’t his idea in the first place.

We will have to wait and see whether or not the pair ends up being a successful team, and if it is a long-term relationship.