There’s a uniquely special connection between Top Dog and trainer/fight commentator, Theodore
“Teddy” Atlas. This is particularly unique because Teddy is a notably tough critic. “I like people to own up and face the music…be accountable and do things in an earnest way….I like you to conduct yourself outside the ring like a man, and Thomas Williams [Jr.] has always done that….I like the way he conducts himself as a man, and as a person,” Teddy commented on his tendency to be rough on boxers, but perhaps less-so on Top Dog.
Directly following the loss to Campillo on August 1, 2014, Top Dog reached out to Teddy for his thoughts and advice. The openness in thoughts and feelings that Top Dog shares with Teddy is a large part of why Top Dog has such a large and growing fan base. Boxers that are unnecessarily “rough and tumble” in their demeanor outside the ring, overly aggressive and unthoughtful, are a dime a dozen. But a boxer that takes care in his thoughts and words? A boxer that is open about wanting to improve? Very unusual and refreshing indeed.
Here’s a transcript of that conversation between Top Dog and Teddy:
Top Dog: (inaudible)
Teddy: Get yourself together. Just get yourself together and show that you can still be a champion.
Top Dog: (inaudible)
Teddy: You didn’t let me down, you didn’t let me down. But listen, you gotta worry about yourself, you gotta worry about your family, you gotta worry about who you are; and now is the time to find out who you are.
Top Dog: So I didn’t let you down?
Teddy: No, you didn’t let me down, Thomas, not as a person; but, as an athlete, what you did tonight, what happened to you tonight…other great fighters, other great athletes, that’s happened to them before, and what they do now, what they start doing tomorrow, that’s what’s gonna tell. Don’t let yourself down.
Top Dog: Yessir.
Teddy: Pull yourself back up.
Top Dog: Yessir.
Teddy: Because that is the test of a man, that is the test of a champion, what you do after this, what you learn from this, what you do from this moment on.
Top Dog: Yessir, thank you, sir.
[Top Dog leaves – don’t forget that this was right after the match, Top Dog wasn’t even done shaking hands in the ring, he didn’t even have his robe back on!]
Other commentator: Well that shows the respect that he has for you, Teddy. He told us yesterday [that] after the fights over, that he wanted to come over and get a pat on the back for you. Instead, you gave him some advice going forward.
Teddy: Yeah, you know what happened, I was starting to say it before Thomas came over, I wasn’t expecting him to come over to me, in the corner, I was listening in the corner, the audience couldn’t hear it, while we were in commercial, and Peterson, Robert Peterson, the stepfather of Thomas Williams [Jr.], asked the referee to have the doctor come and look at the eye. And when I heard that I said, ‘Uh oh, uh oh.’ You know, either he’s not ready mentally to continue, you know he’s not dealing with this, he doesn’t want to continue, or maybe there’s a more serious injury that we can’t see that he’s worried about, and he wants the doctor. But, usually you don’t see the fighter ask, or the fighter’s corner, ask for the doctor. Usually you wanna keep the doctor away. You know, you get the cut man to stop it and say ‘okay, let’s go, let’s go baby, let’s behave like a fighter, let’s climb this hill. We got a hill in front of us, let’s go climb it.’ But boxers have been around 200 years, fighters overcome cuts, so, usually when you…when I heard that it put an antennae up, that set off a light in my head that said, ‘Gee, I don’t think he’s handling this very well’ I mean, maybe it’s bothering him more than I know and they want the doctor, or maybe they’re just not ready to deal with continuing in this fight. Any way it is, we don’t know for sure, but again, I was surprised to hear the stepfather say, ‘Hey, I want the doctor to come’. And again, that’s why you saw the doctor, he didn’t do it on his own, they asked for the doctor to come up. I just hope this young man can handle this, and we’ll see what he’s made of going forward.
Other commentator: They call it the chamber of truth, there was nowhere to run or hide for Williams Jr.. He was looking to his corner for help. They couldn’t provide it, and in the end, the doctor stops it….”
You might be interested to check out Teddy’s community service organization: Teddy Atlas’ Foundation.
Photo credit: Flickr user snow0810