Interview with Freddie Roach – Mike will fight again!

By
TysonTalk

Published: August 17, 2004

Today I was able to catch up with world class trainer Freddie Roach at his Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, CA. As this was my first interview with Mr. Roach I was a little nervous talking with him at first, but after a few minutes, he made me feel at ease and I got comfortable asking him some interesting questions regarding his views on former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and his future. Freddie also let us in on James Toneys progress in camp as he prepares for his fight with Rydell Booker. Read on to hear what one of the best trainers in the game had to say.

Gary Pino: How does it feel to be back home at Wild Card?

Freddie Roach: It feels good cause I have a lot of people Im working with at the gym right now and there is a lot of upcoming fights so I am very busy at this time. It also feels good just to be home.

GP: The outcome of Mikes fight with Williams fell short of everyones expectations, but aside from Mikes knee injury did you see any strong signs that Mike could fight at a top level again?

FR: Yeah, he actually really did well the first two rounds. MT showed signs of the old Mike. He countered well and threw the upper cuts and his combinations well, but my favorite part was he made the guy miss a lot. He was bobbing and weaving real well and I think if it wasnt for the knee I think he would have knocked Williams out. But we cant make any excuses so maybe well have to do that one again. Mike was punching hard and after he hurt his knee he told me he couldnt turn the hook over and get a lot of power on it, but he never complained though. I told him, Mike why didnt you tell me?? and he said I didnt want to be a *****!?

GP: Ive been a Tyson fan for 20 years and I was surprised at how attentive and pleasant Mike worked with you. What was it about the way you two hit it off?

FR: Mike respects me as a fighter and he watched tapes of me when he was growing up and I think that gives me a big plus with him. He respects boxers ya know, and he knows Ive been there and he trusts what I say. We have a real good relationship and Ive never had a problem with him.

GP: How is Mikes rehab going?

FR: I talked to the doctor and they told me he is doing all the work hes supposed to be doing so that is good.

GP: Will Mike fight again?

FR: Oh, yes he will.

More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).

GP: Will it be Danny Williams again or are you going to avoid the super heavyweights at this time?

FR: Thats what the heavyweight division is right now, all giants and so forth. Maybe he needs a tune up fight before the rematch with Willaims, but I do feel he could knock this guy out. He made Williams look a little bit better than he really is.

GP: You have worked with a lot of world class fighters. Is Tyson the hardest puncher you have ever seen or should I say felt?

FR: Punch for punch actually Mike is more explosive than Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko is so big and he doesnt have the speed of Mike, but hes got that dense power though so Mikes asset is the speed that comes with the power. Klitschko doesnt have that speed so if you see a punch coming and you can prepare for it, it wont knock you out. Punch for punch I think Klitschko probably hits a little bit harder but Mikes much more explosive.

GP: You said you were not happy with Mikes weight. If you work with him again whats the magic number?

FR: I liked him at 222lbs as he was for the Etienne fight. He put on a little too much muscle this time. It may look good, but it doesnt do much for his performance because speed again is his biggest asset. I would like to see him get a little bit looser and lighter and I think hell be much better off. Again, all that weight lifting and stuff really looks good, but it doesnt do much for him.

GP- If there ever was a Tyson vs. Toney fight, how would you work both camps and fight night?

FR: Id stay home! (Laughing) Im close with both guys and they are both my friends. I think deep down they really respect each other. The thing is Id be more interested in the press conference than the actual fight as James will talk and Mike would be more physical and there probably would be a lot of fireworks at the press conference no doubt.