Welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley’s last fight was against Jessie Vargas. It was a fairly dominant performance on Bradley’s behalf, not counting some 12th round dramatics on Vargas’ behalf when he caught Bradley with a right hand that completely shifted the momentum in the fight.
Bradley is now preparing for a November clash with Brandon Rios, but he will do it with a new trainer in Teddy Atlas after it was announced last month that the California-based fighter split with his longtime trainer Joel Diaz.
Initially, it seemed as though Bradley and Diaz would part ways without any conflict, but that has all changed. We have heard from both sides, but not in too much detail. That was until Diaz appeared on last night’s addition of Thaboxingvoice’s twice weekly live internet radio show/podcast.
Diaz gave his entire accounting of the events that lead to the split as well as his feelings about what went wrong.
Diaz and Bradley went over a month without speaking after the Vargas fight as Diaz’s many calls went unanswered and unreturned. Typically, Bradley will come to Diaz at some point after his latest outing and give Diaz an update on the names being discussed for his next potential bout, getting his trainer’s take in the process.
For Bradley’s current fight with Rios, there was a lot of talk in the media as this fight was being negotiated. Diaz was forced to learn about the Rios fight through the media and had few specifics outside of what was known by the general public. He was simply out of the loop.
Diaz was never in the know and even resorted to asking Bradley’s strength and conditioning coach to get in contact with Tim and have him return his calls, which at that point were adding up.
Diaz finally got in touch with Bradley, only after Tim Sr. initiated a line of communication. Diaz recalled Tim having an attitude in the conversation.
They briefly spoke about the Rios fight and Diaz says that Tim was unhappy with the money at the time, which was being reported by plenty of outlets. Diaz ended the conversation by telling Bradley to call if he needed anything.
What happened next was perhaps the most damning blow to the trainer-fighter relationship.
Bradley came to the gym a few days after that phone conversation. He was reportedly upset at Diaz, which prompted an office meeting between trainer and fighter. Joel says that Tim questioned the reasoning and effort of the trainer for their Vargas camp, claiming that Bradley asked him straight up if Joel only trained him for a paycheck.
Joel told Thaboxingvoice that he responded fittingly.
“I said ‘are you serious, you really think I did that shit?’ I said, ‘if you really think I did that then we’re not going to work because you’re doubting my job,’” Joel said before explaining to Tim that he’d won the fight and that in the final round, when Tim got caught and nearly went down, Tim went out on his own.
He tried defending himself against Tim’s accusations by claiming he has always put Tim’s safety first. Joel says that he almost pulled Tim out of his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, the fight after Tim’s war with Ruslan Provodnikov, because he thought Tim was still concussed. He only allowed Tim to continue on with the fight after he was able to prove his health in the final few weeks and only after Tim’s doctors were able to administer a few treatments, but prior to that Tim was supposedly being beaten on by lightweights and junior lightweights in sparring.
Joel explained that he felt Tim was not speaking for himself during that conversation, and instead he felt that Tim was speaking on his wife’s behalf. Tim brought up the fact that Joel left the ring that night immediately following the Vargas fight, but that was Joel reacting to Bradley’s brother-in-law overstepping his boundaries while Joel was in the process of taking off Tim’s gloves, an issue he brought up to Bradley Sr. later that night.
They continued to have it out in Joel’s office, and the gloves really came off as Joel explained that he was close to getting physical with Tim’s brother-in-law in the ring that night. Tim explained that he had noticed a difference in their relationship over the past few fights. That is when Joel told Tim what he felt, which was that he believed Monica Bradley, Tim’s wife, and manager, was the cause of their turmoil.
Joel admits he and Bradley had a great relationship from the beginning and that when the final conversation came to end their partnership, he believed that Tim was genuinely appreciative of their time together. Diaz took Bradley’s parting words to heart and felt like those words were sincere.
However, that all changed when Diaz heard a few interviews Bradley gave right around the time news of Atlas’s hiring had surfaced in the media. In fact, Diaz admitted that he reluctantly found an interview a few hours before his appearance on Thaboxingvoice’s radio show.
“Today I saw an interview where [Tim] said that he wanted honest, and real people around him and that’s why he got Teddy Atlas. Wow, that really bothered me because there is nobody in the whole world, not even his wife, that is as honest to him as I was and have always been.
“And I would tell him to his face, not even his wife is as honest to him as I was and as real as I was. In reality, the worst mistake a fighter can make is make your wife a manager. When he made his wife the manager, everything started changing. She controlled his life; she controlled everything that he does, and every move that he makes,” Diaz said.
The trainer went on to talk about a conversation Tim had with him after Monica took control as manager.
“Tim even told me at one point; he said ‘coach, she knows everything I do. I cannot hide anything from her. She knows everything I do; she goes through everything, I can’t do nothing.’ He straight out told me that one day.”
Diaz realized that was a bad sign of things to come, admitting he knew her involvement would cause problems, and even though he never said he thought his relationship with Bradley was in jeopardy, Diaz made it seem as though he could see the writing on the walls with the initial change of Monica at the helm.
There was actually a moment, just after Bradley let go of his longtime manager Cameron Dunkin, when Diaz suggested to Bradley that he think about acquiring the services of Al Haymon, but according to Diaz Bradley was determined to keep the manager job “in house.”
The separation between Diaz and Bradley didn’t happen overnight, but instead the duo grew apart slowly over time. Diaz reflected on the beginning of the end and admitted that it started when communication began to breakdown with his fighter, claiming that he was forced to speak to Tim through Monica.
“I couldn’t directly talk to Bradley himself, everything had to go through his wife. If you want to know the truth, any person that wanted to talk to Bradley everything had to go through his wife.”
Other factors soon surfaced. For example, Monica, who Diaz says, was always friendly when visiting the gym, making it a point to say hello to everyone, would come in and not say a word. She started questioning aspects of Tim’s training, things like sparring and the usage of different types of gloves.
There were issues that extended beyond Bradley’s wife. Joel admits that he is still troubled by Tim’s father, Tim Sr., who he maintains respect for. It seems like the team just wasn’t the same in the eyes’ of Joel.
With Bradley’s brother-in-law, Monica’s sister, given a job, it only further complicated things for Diaz and added to the frustration he felt.
Still, Joel insists that his separation from Bradley was almost completely based on the fact that Tim gave Monica complete control over his career, stating that he never had a problem with her, even if he sees his dismissal as a way for Monica to gain even more control over her husband’s career.
It could be denial, but Diaz claims that he is feeling a sense of relief now that his time with Bradley has come to an end. Of course, some might liken his freedom claims to that of a guy saying he’s better off now that his wife has left him when in reality his self-esteem is shattered.
But there is some logical reasoning behind Diaz’s feelings of relief when you consider how dedicated he was to Bradley and how that one fighter played a role in his entire professional career as a trainer. Basically, Diaz’s time with Bradley effected his time and commitment to his entire stable – marquee fighters tend to have that effect over their entire team, trainer especially.
However, Diaz has stated in the past that he enjoys a more intimate feel for his stable because he’s able to dedicate his full attention to his fighters without a lot of overlapping camps. With his biggest responsibility out of the picture, you can see how the trainer would get a sense of freedom and/or relief when it comes to availability towards the rest of his stable, or even the potential for new additions.
In fact, Diaz spoke of two instances on the show. First, he was never able to train Omar Figueroa in Texas while tending to Bradley’s needs and schedule. Now, Diaz is considering going to Texas, where Figueroa lives with his family, and giving him the dedication he is capable of while keeping Omar comfortable at home.
Lastly, before the interview was over, Diaz said that he is working with a new pupil. He could not disclose the name of the fighter because the manager doesn’t want to make the announcement until his fighter’s next fight is scheduled. That said, Diaz claims this fighter is “an elite fighter” although he would not give any more details other than that.
We’ll have to wait and see who the fighter is, but an announcement is expected in the next few days when this fighter’s November date will be announced.