On this month's episode of The Irish Boxing Show, (released on iTunes and Android podcast apps today) Jason Quigley recounted a rather awkward exchange with famed boxing trainer and co-commentator Teddy Atlas backstage at the Canelo-Chavez card in Las Vegas last Saturday.
Atlas was on ESPN co-commentary duty back in March, when Ballybofey's Quigley beat a game Glen Tapia via unanimous decision to claim the North American middleweight title at Fantasy Springs Resort, California.
Having almost dispatched of Tapia within the opening two stanzas, 'El Animal' severely broke his right hand in the second, and was subsequently drawn into a dogfight before adapting and boxing his way to a relatively comfortable victory essentially one-handed. But while his excruciating injury was more than apparent to most viewers on this shore, Atlas was completely oblivious to Quigley's woes, and lambasted the 25-year-old former Irish amateur standout's performance for the bones of eight rounds. Bernard Hopkins did similar on the same broadcast, but a week later retracted his comments and indeed praised Quigley having subsequently learned of the Donegal puncher's horrendous hand injury.
Atlas, however, was less forthcoming in his acknowledgement, and Quigley remains surprised that such a pugilistic veteran couldn't detect the injury while sat mere metres from the ring:
Well, the way to put it is, [for] a man with such experience, with such knowledge of the sport, to watch eight rounds of boxing and not know a fighter broke his hand doesn't say a lot for him, to be honest.
He might be a very intelligent, smart man - one of the best broadcasters out there on ESPN - but if he can't spot things like that, maybe he needs a pair of glasses or something. I don't know.
Teddy is a very smart man, he's been the coach of a lot of world champions. Teddy knows what he's on about, but he loves to hear himself speak. I think that's what gets him into trouble sometimes - he just rambles on a lot, and likes to hear himself.
The pair crossed paths backstage at the T-Mobile Arena last Saturday before Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez dominated arch nemesis Julio Cesar Chavez Junior, and Quigley regaled Irish Boxing Show listeners with a full account of an oddly intense encounter:
I had a talk with him over the weekend in Las Vegas. I could see him staring at me out of the corner of his eye. I think he was waiting for me to come up to him and be very aggressive or whatever. But I went up to him and I go, 'Teddy, I don't know if you remember me but you commentated on my last fight in Fantasy Springs.'
And he's like, 'Ah, yes, Jason, how's it going? Of course I remember you.' I said: 'You gave me a lot of criticism in that last fight. I'm all about criticism - I love to hear what I'd be doing wrong, to learn from it. But do you know that I broke my hand in the second round, and that obviously changes the fight?'
And he kept speaking and speaking and speaking, and he wasn't really speaking about anything at the start. But I'm saying, 'Look, Teddy, I'm just here to hear your opinion face-to-face. I don't want to hear it through tv or through anybody else. I want to hear it from you. What is your honest opinion on the fight?'
And he says: 'Okay. Putting the injury aside...' [laughs] And I'm like, 'how can you put a broken hand aside?!? You know what I mean? In boxing, if you have two hands you're at 100%. If you have one hand that's 50%, like!'
So he kind of went on - you know he likes to hear himself speak - so I just listened to him. I says, 'Okay, okay, okay. Put the injury aside, what's your honest take?'
He says: 'Well, I think you panicked a little bit in the middle of the fight when you couldn't get Tapia out of there.' Like, I had loads of comebacks for him, but there was just no talking to him. He just wanted to keep hearing himself speak. He said: 'You definitely panicked in that fight. You nearly had Tapia gone and he came back strong, and you started to panic a little bit. You were thrown off your game.'
And I was like, 'All right, Teddy. I broke my hand. I've eight rounds to go, it's a title fight, of course I'm going to panic a little bit! And of course the fight is going to sway, because I don't have my right hand to knock him out with.'
It is what it is. Teddy gets paid to talk. But I've read through a few of the things he said, and I've taken away a few things that maybe I could work on in my game. I'm all ears. I'm still a prospect, I'm still an up-and-coming fighter. I'm like a sponge. I take everything in, and I move on.
It was an interesting talk, and we're on good terms. But my plan now is to get a world title and hear Teddy's reaction then.
The 13-0 NABF champion also confirmed he'll be looking to make a return to the ring in the autumn, and hinted that he's closing in on his first ever fight in Ireland in the near future.
You can listen to the full Jason Quigley interview on The Irish Boxing Show below. It's also available on iTunes and Android podcast apps: Simply search 'Balls.ie podcasts' and hit 'subscribe' to access the full episode.