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“Maybe he needs a pair of glasses or something” – Jason Quigley recalls awkward Atlas encounter

Donegal middleweight Jason Quigley [13(10)-0] scored the toughest win of his career back in March, fighting through a painful hand injury and defeating Glenn Tapia to claim the NABF rankings title.

The Golden Boy starlet headlined the first card of their new ESPN series and looking to be on course for an early stoppage – before suffering what was described as a ‘one in ten million injury to his right hand that sapped his power and saw him have to dig deep to claim a points win.

During the fight, ESPN panelist Teddy Atlas would be rather scathing in his criticism of Quigley, and seemingly did not recognise that the Ulsterman had hurt his hand early.

Quigley did not take to the criticism too kindly, and told The Irish Boxing Show of Atlas that 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’s meant to 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.”

“Teddy is a very smart man, he’s been a coach of a lot of world champions, the latest is Timothy Bradley. 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 Ballybofey man would not speak to Atlas on the night, but would bump into him at the T-Mobile Arena at the weekend while at the Canelo Alvarez v Julio Cesar Chavez fight in Las Vegas. Here Quigley would address Atlas to seek feedback and clarify that he had been injured during the bout.

Quigley recalled how “I just went up to him. 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, ‘Listen 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: ‘Teddy, you know, 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…’ 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!”

While he did not seem to be getting through to the veteran broadcaster, Quigley elected to listen to Atlas. The 25 year old described how “he kind of went on – you know he likes to hear himself speak – so I just listened to him, I listened.

“I says, ‘okay, okay, okay. Put the injury aside, what’s your honest take?'”

“He said ‘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, 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 a little bit, because I don’t have my right hand to knock him out with – which would have probably happened if I had it.”

“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, all I did was listen to Teeddy and if there was anything there that I could take away from it, I’ll take it away.”

“It was an interesting talk, and we’re on good terms. But my plan now is to get a world title and maybe to hear Teddy’s reaction then!”

Currently recovering from the aforementioned injury, Quigley hopes to return to the ring in September or October.

Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show:

Photo Credit: William Trillo

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie