One of the truly fantastic things about boxing these days is that everyone makes it abundantly clear when they love or hate a particular boxer. You can just listen or read people’s stuff once, and know immediately what the rest of their output on the subject will look like.
For example, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is generally pretty kind in the way he regards Floyd Mayweather Jr. ESPN (aside from one guy), on the flip side, is almost unanimously biased against the undefeated champion and takes every opportunity presented to bash him. Seriously, pick any useless talking head on the network (aside from one guy) and ask them about Mayweather – the comments will almost always be identically critical.
Manny Pacquiao tends to get a lot of love from an assortment of outlets, regardless of whether or not he deserves it. However, there has always been one single boxing commentator who has quite clearly despised him from the very beginning. This guy never, ever misses an opportunity to bash Pacquiao -- sometimes justly and other times not so justly -- for what he perceives to be weaknesses, cherry picking, or whatever else.
I’m talking about Teddy Atlas, of course.
Atlas’ most recent jabs at Pacquiao came in the form of critiquing his November performance versus longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez. Here is what he had to say to the good folks at FightHype, via Manila Bulletin:
“I didn’t see Manny Pacquiao take the chances and fight with aggression, and again, part of that is Marquez, but I didn’t see that attitude.
“Timing, that I always say on ESPN, negates speed…what he did was he waited for the other guy to lead. He changed the distance just a little bit, and when the other guy led and reached a little bit, he countered and he timed it with right hands.”
This latest batch of comments by Atlas is relatively tame compared to prior analysis of the Filipino champion. Don’t forget, this is a man who once said this:
“It [Pacquiao's legacy] a bit of a question mark. It [a win over 39-year-old Mosley] doesn’t do a lot for it. It’s either a neutral or a negative to be quite honest with you because it opens up the question. These last four or five fights that have made him [Pacquiao] an icon, who have they been with?
“It makes you start to wonder about his [Pacquiao] legacy. Has he been built up with guys that have been perfectly picked, perfectly matched where they had problems and that’s why he was able to win so convincingly and that’s why he became such a star? I know he’s a terrific fighter with terrific talent, but it kind of asks that question. Has he been in with a bunch of set ups?
“People will say, [Floyd] Mayweather didn’t want to fight him, but Mayweather was ready to fight him but he wouldn’t give up a tube of blood and take Olympic type testing for performance enhancing drugs. So that fight isn’t being made. You got Tim Bradley out there. Some people will say Bradley isn’t big enough, but Bradley is quick, he’s undefeated, he’s a real game son of a gun. He will do much more than 40-year-old or close to 40-year-old Mosley. I’m saying the guys [Pacquiao] fights were perfectly set up for him. It’s not maybe his fault, but they were guys, one way or another, had a little bit of a flaw.”
Then again, just because he’s constantly critical of Pacquiao, doesn’t mean Atlas is constantly wrong. Remember, he was one of the lone voices of reason saying this:
“I think the tougher fight will be for Pacquiao. I think Mayweather will handle Ortiz. If Andre Berto could have him on the floor, than Mayweather will have a good chance to get him out with his speed, with his intelligence, with his counterpunching ability…
“The perception of the Pacquiao fight is different to me. Maybe, Marquez is getting old after all this tear-and-wear, maybe he is starting to get too slow, maybe he gets caught too easy. But one thing is no “maybe” – how he’s gonna act. And he’s gonna act like a damn warrior, like a champion, like a fighter. I think no matter what, he is forty years old or he is in ninety years old, in the middle of the winter or in the middle of the summer, Marquez will always give Pacquiao a tough fight. His style, his talent will make it a tough, a very tough fight for Pacquiao.”
So there you have it. Atlas still clearly despises Pacquiao, but he’s been right about him enough times to earn a pass from me.