Teddy Atlas expressed dissatisfaction with the way events unfolded involving Francis Ngannou's team.
The renowned boxing trainer disclosed that he had been approached by Ngannou's team and asked to train the former UFC heavyweight champion for his forthcoming boxing superfight against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, scheduled for October 28 in Saudi Arabia.
“I don’t always talk about things that haven’t come to pass, but Ngannou’s people had asked me about the possibility of training him,” Atlas said on his podcast, “THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas.” “Obviously, I just don’t train anyone – even if it’s a pile of oil money in the sand, it’s just obviously a score. I’m no saint with this stuff or a monk. But I’m not going to train someone unless I get to be around them and think they’re a good person, and think they’re coachable and that I think I can help them. I’m just not going to.
“So obviously, my way is that I’m going to spend a couple of days with you. That’s the deal, and it’s going to be a trial period. I’m not going to say yes or no until I go through the trial period and see if I want to work with you, and if I can work with you and if you can work with me. It’s fair for you, too.”
However, the next day after returning from Las Vegas where Atlas met Ngannou, Atlas found out the offer was off the table, and it wasn’t from Ngannou’s team.
“The next day, my son sends me a thing that they’re getting Mike Tyson to train him,” Atlas said. “Again, God bless – good, great. I’m sure that it’s going to bring extra pay-per-view buys at the very least, and look, Tyson was a tremendous fighter. We get it. And Ngannou is infatuated by him. He’s obsessed with Tyson. He wanted me to show him how to throw the Tyson uppercut, which I did.
“So all right, all that. I treat him like a gentleman, but obviously you made that deal with Tyson, and you’re asking me to go out to Vegas. Why won’t you be up front with me? It just don’t feel good. It just doesn’t feel good. I’m not crying. I guess what I am saying is, can’t we be better as people? I know money is money and that’s important, but isn’t it important to treat people right? Isn’t it important to keep your word? Again, they’re nice people, but when you’re tempted by these things, isn’t what’s more important for you to show those characteristics that I’m talking about of just decency, just honesty?”