Teddy Atlas feared Mike Tyson retaliation, considered using metal pipe
Teddy Atlas and Mike Tyson held animosity between them for years until finally burying the hatchet a few years ago at a boxing event in Verona, New York.
The pair, who trained together with Cus D’Amato when Tyson was a teenager, famously fell out when Atlas pulled a gun on the former champ.
Tyson had allegedly made a play for the niece of Atlas, who then threatened a then 15-year-old ‘Iron’ Mike to back off.
After not speaking for what seemed like an eternity, the inevitable happened. As in boxing circles, the pair finally ran into each other a couple of times.
Discussing both, it was the second encounter which saw Atlas compelled to protect himself, such was the fear of retaliation from Tyson.
“Well, there was a time,” Atlas paused. “I don’t know if I want to talk about it. That’s why I am delaying a little bit.
“The first time I think was in the hallway in the Felt Forum (named until 1989, now Hulu Theater). I had a fighter fighting with Mikey Duff. I believe I had Chris Read ‘The Shamrock Express’ – a good kid. He’s not with us no more.
“The Felt Forum is what Madison Square Garden Theater now. It’s the smaller arena, but it was a legendary place where fights went on every couple of weeks.
“It was the breeding ground coming up for fighters before they got to the garden.
“We were in the hallway and he was there with somebody. I was there and we saw each other and nothing.”
Moving on to the second incident, Atlas stated: “Then, there was another time at Gleason’s Gym in Manhattan. After seven years with Cus, I started training fighters there.
“It was a couple of blocks away from Madison Square Garden, but they moved to Brooklyn. So we are in Brooklyn and Tyson was the heavyweight champ.
“He was doing a Japanese beer commercial – if my memory is correct, so they closed the gym for two days for the shooting.
“Certain people could get access who used the gym all the time and have a section. So I came in with my fighter, I didn’t wanna be in the gym that day but I had an obligation to that fighter.
“He had a fight coming up so I had to honor that commitment.
“I stayed on my side, he stayed on his side and I went into the locker room. I had a big army locker that I had brought over from the old Gleasons. So I had everything in that army locker that you’re supposed to have. Pads, gloves, headgear, wraps. I had everything but I also had a metal pipe.
“Did I want to use it? – No, but if someone doesn’t want to use their hand then at least I would have something.
“So I’m in the locker room and I open the locker. I’m taking out what I need for my fighter and I see the pipe. I take it out and I just place it against the door.
MIKE TYSON STAREDOWN
“My instincts told me, nobody could see it. I am getting the stuff out and I could feel someone behind me, so I turn around, and its Mike Tyson. It’s the heavyweight champion of the world standing right there.
“We stared at each other – it felt like fourteen hours – but it must have been fourteen seconds, maybe less. Then he broke it off and went into the bathroom.
“That was the end of it. No words exchanged and that was pretty much it for years until there was that reconciliation,” he added.
It’s a shame things went down like that for Atlas and Tyson, who seemed to be a decent pairing when working together with Cus.
Later, it emerged that the falling out cost Atlas around $30 million in coaching payments as Mike Tyson eventually ripped through the division.