Famed boxing coach explains fallout with Ngannou’s team over camp offer

Renowned Hall of Fame trainer Teddy Atlas recently disclosed that he received an interesting proposition from the team of Francis Ngannou. They approached Atlas, considering his expertise to prepare Ngannou for his highly anticipated showdown with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Ngannou is set to step into the boxing ring for a boxing match against Tyson Fury on October 28 in Saudi Arabia.

While the prospect of collaborating with Ngannou piqued his interest, Atlas expressed his willingness to spend time with Ngannou for a brief period before making a decision.

Atlas talked about it during an episode of his podcast. He said: “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.”

“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.”

Atlas communicated his intention to meet Ngannou in Las Vegas so that he could spend some time with him. Subsequently, Atlas was caught off guard when he learned that Ngannou had enlisted former champion Mike Tyson as his coach upon returning from Las Vegas.

Atlas recounted: “The next day, my son sends me a thing that they’re getting Mike Tyson to train him. 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.”

Atlas expressed understanding for Ngannou’s enthusiasm but couldn’t overlook a lack of transparency in their dealings.

“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?”