The first time partnership between boxer Timothy Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) and veteran trainer Teddy Atlas looked impressive as Bradley stopped tough Brandon Rios (33-3-1, 24 KOs) in round 9, but is this the byproduct of the chemistry between Bradley and Atlas, or a case of fighting the right guy at the right time?
Bradley left longtime trainer Joel Diaz for Atlas because Bradley felt that Diaz wasn’t focusing enough on him. Diaz also alluded to ESPN’s Dan Rafael that Bradley’s wife, who is also his manager, was the driving force behind his decision to switch trainers. Regardless of why Bradley left Diaz, he sure looked good against Brandon Rios.
Bradley moved well in the ring and seemed less flatfooted than in previous fights. He made smart decisions on when to fight toe-to-toe with Rios and when to box. It was surprising to me that Bradley, who isn’t known as a knockout puncher, was able to stop Brandon Rios which is something that no one has done before.
While Bradley looked good against Rios, you have to question how much of Brandon Rios was left to begin with. Rios has never been a good defensive fighter. He has always been the kind of fighter who is willing to take five punches in order to deliver one. His body has been punished by likes of Mike Alvarado and Manny Pacquiao. Rios finally looks like he has reached his quotient of punches. He can’t take anymore.
Rios’s heart wasn’t in this fight. He knew he was finished. He quickly announced his retirement after the fight, which tells me that he knew in training camp that he no longer has what it takes to prosper in boxing. He also weighed 170 lbs. the night of the fight. He can no longer push his body to get in the kind of shape he needs to be in to fight in the welterweight division.
Teddy Atlas is a good fit for Timothy Bradley, but I think that Bradley looked dominant because he fought a shell of Brandon Rios, not the “prime” Brandon Rios.