Published: March 2, 2004
In an interview conducted by boxingscene.com with boxing’s trainer of the year, Freddie Roach told he holds the possibility open to train Tyson again:
BC: Freddie, how was it to train former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson?
FR: You know what, I had a really good time training Mike. The first 6 weeks were great, I would pick him up at 5 oclock. He would be there every day waiting for me at his house, we had no problems. But from what I hear, he wanted some up front money from his promoter, and the promoter wouldn’t give it to him, so Tyson told im “F” you I am not fighting, and that is when he got the tattoo to show them that he wasn’t going to fight. I waited for Mike for 6 days at the gym, and he didn’t show up. I packed my bags, and was ready to go home to Vegas. This was on a Sunday, I then got a call from Mike and he told me that the fight is back on. I said “you ready Mike”, and Tyson said ” I am going to kick this guys ass ” so I said OK, and we went back at it. We had 6 days to get ready for the fight. We had a very good 6 weeks base you know, he was in very good shape. We started at 244 and got down to 222, so his weight was good, so I don’t think those 5 days off really killed him or anything. Well, it wasn’t the best thing in the world of course but … I sparred him right up until the fight. We sparred 3 rounds because I wanted to make sure he was sharp with losing those days earlier. We worked on our strategy in the dressing room. The move we were working on in the dressing room actually happened right in the fight. We planned on that to happen, and it worked, and it worked out real well.. so yeah, it was a good experience working with Mike. I haven’t heard from Mike since, but you know, I tell you we talked about boxing a lot. He respected me because I used to fight, he likes fighters, so he probably trusted me a little more than most. He treated me very well, I had a good time.
BC: Mike Tyson is a real student of boxing isn’t he?
FR: He knows the the history of fighters, unbelievable. That’s how he gets ready for fights, he watches old tapes. I would ask him who he watched last night.. I mean this guy would watch tapes of the bare Knuckle days.
BC: Freddie, what is your take on Mike Tyson’s Bankruptcy, do you think he has more boxing in him?
FR: Well if he does or doesn’t, I think he is going to have to fight.. Unless he does some reality show or something like that, which I hear is a possibility.
BC: Freddie, would you train Mike if you got the call tomorrow?
FR: Yeah, I would give him a hand if I could. But I have been busy, I have a lot of guys that depend on me, so it would take a lot to get me to go back. If Mike came here, I would definitely help him. I got a lot going on now.. James Toney is healing up faster than we thought, he may be back in a couple of months, and of course being busy with Manny Pacquiao.
Freddie Roach trained Tyson for his fight against Clifford Etienne in February 2003 in which Tyson only needed 49 seconds in the first round to stop him.