Published: July 23, 2004
Derek ‘Sweet D’ Williams refused to buy into the new Mike Tyson as Ringside assessed the former world heavyweight champion’s claims that he is a new man.
Tyson insists the world will see a different person when he makes his long-awaited return to the ring against another Williams, Danny, in Kentucky on July 30.
But Derek Williams, who sparred with Tyson when he was at the peak of his powers and has also been in contact with his namesake as he prepares for his biggest fight of his life, refused to accept that it will be that easy for a man who once claimed he was the baddest man on the planet to put his notorious past behind him.
“Mike seems to be trying to find himself,” he said. “The Mike we know and came to know over the years is a guy who has been aggressive and wild and now he’s trying to be someone new – and I don’t know if he can handle that.
“Also he’s got to remember he’s got a lot of outside pressure that he’s trying to put behind him, so he’s trying to change his whole persona.
“It’s a new team, but will he be able to fight with that kind of mentality? Mike is a guy that fights on his mental strength.”
But it is not just the reformation of Tyson that has Derek Williams thinking we could be on for a major shock on July 30.
He believes that Danny Williams has the boxing ability to cope with anything that comes his way, especially from a man who has not fought for 15 months since knocking out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds.
“I think Danny should be able to handle that type of onslaught,” said Williams. “Tyson missed with a lot of punches and he’s was out of the ring for less than a year. Now it is even longer.
“This suits Danny Williams. He’s got a better jab and I think Danny is a better fighter than Etienne ever was.
“Looking at the heavyweight division, Tyson is on a par with the guys that are out there now. He’s definitely need to get rid of that ring rust and he’s got a lo of demons behind him – and that’s the kind of thing that will work against him.
“I don’t that’s going to trouble Danny. On this particular fight we all know Danny’s a talented fighter and we all know he can punch.”
And Derek Williams believes Tyson is far more concerned about his latest British opponent that he is letting on.
He admitted to Ringside that he has not seen a tape of Williams fighting, but rumours coming from across the Atlantic suggest that he has tried his best to get a look at the 31-year-old from Brixton.
“What I’ve found out is that the Tyson camp are beginning to get a little weary, because they’re hearing that Danny is not such a bad fighter,” said Derek Williams.
“Apparently they’ve sent guys to try and see what Danny’s like in the gym. Jim McDonnell has had to pack up camp and take Danny upstate in New York, so that shows some kind of concern from the Tyson camp.”