Atlas to take page out of Marquez, Mayweather game plan
LAS VEGAS—Teddy Atlas may have telegraphed some of Timothy Bradley Jr.’s punches Thursday when he talked to journalists at a trainer’s roundtable session at MGM Grand, where he revealed that some strategy will be culled from tapes of the two fighters that bedevilled Manny Pacquiao the most: Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“The Mayweather fight and the Marquez fight are obviously the two fights that make the most sense to look at,” Atlas said. “Those are the two guys that gave him some problems. And obviously there’s a reason for that. We’ll look at that. We’ll use whatever is available that makes sense.”
Mayweather scored a unanimous decision victory over Manny Pacquiao in a much-anticipated bout last year while Marquez scored a stunning knockout of the Filipino ring icon in the last of the four epic meetings between the two rivals.
And picking the parts that made both fighters successful won’t be difficult for Atlas, but it does give a slight preview of what Bradley could bring to the table on Saturday at MGM Grand’s Garden Arena.
And as if watching those particular fight tapes wasn’t enough of a clue, Atlas also spoke of teaching Bradley how to see “what comes before the storm.”
“When you’re competing against somebody as talented as Manny—and he wins fights because of pure talent; he’s a freak, that combination of speed and power that he has, it’s uncommon—when you’re competing against somebody like that, I think what can happen is that you see the obvious, but you don’t see the stuff before the obvious,” Atlas explained.
“The obvious is the explosion of ability and you’re aware of that, his straight left hand, his right hook, the quickness, the surges, the hurricane of punches that come at you. But you don’t see what comes before the storm.
“I hope I can see and help my fighter see what comes before the obvious.”
Atlas is most likely going to send Bradley up as an active counter-puncher, more Marquez than Mayweather, in an effort to quell Pacquiao’s most effective weapon: His mix of speed and power and his ability to deliver that mix in lethal and consistent doses.
Bradley is a solid inside fighter but will use some of the Mayweather game plan by staying out of the pocket as much as possible and timing the moments when he steps in to engage. Despite Pacquiao saying he couldn’t punch out of his right hand because of an injured shoulder, the eight-division champ did have his way against Mayweather in short stretches and mostly, it came when Mayweather slipped or was sucked into the pocket.
The Marquez tapes will come in the most handy for Bradley, who was remodeled by Atlas into a more aggressive fighter, glimpses of which was seen in a dominating performance against an out-of-shape Brandon Rios.
Marquez knocked Pacquiao out at the end of the sixth round by studying Pacquiao’s habits and reading into his tendencies, something Atlas hopes Bradley will be able to do.
“[Bradley] already knows what the end result is, that is [Pacquiao] coming forward with just a bushel of punches and, again, that explosiveness. But before that there’s some warning; there’s something there, some delay before that happens.
“Before an explosion of ability comes from Manny and obviously resulting in punches, there’s some preliminary to that. There [are] some habits that come before that, there’s action. And those are things we’ve tried to look at and are aware of.
“Now can we do something about it? That’s the question that keeps me up at night,” Atlas said.
While Pacquiao has the natural ability to throw punches from the wildest and most awkward angles, there are things that remain a habit. For one, every time he readies that jab-left straight killer, he does so with feints where he leans forward and leaves his chin unguarded to a wicked, semi-looping right counter.
Marquez’s ability to read those tendencies and feints had left Pacquiao flummoxed in those epic showdowns against each other and Atlas hopes to use the same strategy for Bradley.
Team Pacquiao, however, has said that they have also looked into both fights to check on what gaps they need to fill to avoid a replay of those results.
“We’ve also studied Bradley well,” Pacquiao said after Tuesday’s training session.
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