Suddenly Teddy Atlas has been around for a while.
He was a protégé of Cus D’Amato. He worked with a teenage Mike Tyson. He gave unforgettable speeches. He provided the soundtrack to a generation of fans on Friday Night Fights.
And recently transformed into the elder conscience of the tormented sport.
The now 66-year-old host of “The Fight with Teddy Atlas” podcast is back with more calls for a federal boxing commission in the wake of the controversial refereeing of the Haney-Lomachenko fight and the equally dodgy refereeing of the Romero-Barroso fight.
The petition garnered thousands of signatures in the first 24 hours, and the latest podcast had almost 136,000 views by Monday afternoon, prompting its creator to be cautiously optimistic that this call for change may be unlike any other.
“I hope. I don’t know what to think, but I’m hopeful,” he said. “The little reason to think that maybe this one is a little different is that it resonates, that it ignites a little.
“Human memory is still long enough, fresh enough to know it’s only the most recent. This is not a new syndrome. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s just a reminder that it’s always there and will never change unless we do something. It goes back to the situation where you say, “You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.”
BoxingScene caught up with crazy Atlas to talk about recent events, as well as his history in the sport and reflections on his illustrious career.
BoxingScene: When you look back on it, how does it make you feel like you’ve gone through this evolution? Do you ever sit down and say, “Wow, I’ve done a lot of stuff.” Are you happy with the bow you had? Do you feel that what you wanted to happen to you happened?
Atlas: Makes me recognize that I’m old. It’s like when you’re a kid and they make you stand against the wall in the basement and they mark your height with a pencil and then you forget about it. Years later, you come back and say, “Oh my God. wow. Not only have I grown, but I’ve grown old.” Sometimes I don’t know how important what I’ve done should matter.
really not. really not. I don’t know how to rate it, how to rate it. When my kids say to me, “Dad, we’re proud of you, we’re proud of how you’ve lived your life. We are proud of you and the way Arum and Co. you got kicked out of boxing. What did you do? You didn’t just sit and of course you were just angry about it.
You started a podcast that has ads, sponsors, brings in money, has 300,000 subscribers, it grows and grows and grows. You went and learned a new sport. You went and adjusted after 50 years in boxing or close to it. You went and got used to a whole new sport.
My son and daughter say, “Daddy, if you were able to make this adjustment, this metamorphosis if you wanted to, and you were able to adjust to these things after you weren’t treated, that might be the way we’d want you, of course. be treated, but in a way most people might think you deserve. You have gone again and grown to another place, to another branch in your world. When they say that to me and they tell me they’re proud of me and not just resilient but recreating myself a bit, it makes me think, ‘Okay, you know what? Maybe I did everything right.”
BoxingScene: Yeah, maybe a little better.
Atlas: Yes. Then they told me my son reminded me. He said, “Dad, you train fighters, you’ve been in this business for over 50 years. You’ve had dozens of champions you’ve been linked to, three heavyweight champions you’ve been linked to. four Olympic Games. You did ESPN. You actually started a new franchise on Friday Night Fights when they were burned out of Top Rank and didn’t know if they were going to continue boxing. They started something new and you were at the birth of it and you were the only one still there for the original crew at the end.
When they tell you that, it makes you step back a bit. It makes you pay a little attention to it because you feel ashamed to think a little bit about yourself. You just feel like that’s not what a man should be doing too much. Then when they do it for you, then it always gives you permission to look at it and say, “Yeah, okay. I did a little.”
BoxingScene: What metric is better than this? This is as good as it gets.
Atlas: There is an advertisement. Remember this ad? I don’t remember which one started, but it was the theme of the commercials where they were going to a father and son playground and they were saying, “$20 for hot dogs.” Who knows what it is? Whatever. I’m exaggerating, but whatever. “$20 pretzel, $20 beer, $150 tickets, $50 parking.” They go through it all.
BoxingScene: Time with Dad, priceless.
Atlas: Time with Dad and priceless memories.
Boxing Scene: priceless.
Atlas: Of course, and that’s the metric. It’s something like that. I don’t know. All I will say is that I hope we get there and that I was part of a very collective effort.
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This week’s title fight schedule:
No title fights scheduled.
Last week’s picks: 1-3 (WIN: Collazo; LOSE: Lopez, Lara, Okolie)
2023 election record: 18-7 (72.0 percent)
Overall election record: 1268-415 (75.3 percent)
NOTE: Preview fights are only those involving the sanctioning body’s full titleholder – no interims, diamonds, silvers, etc. WBA “world championship” fights are only included if there is no “super champion” in the weight class.
Lyle Fitzsimmons has been boxing professionally since 1995 and has written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the American Boxing Writers Association. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @fitzbitz.