Published: April 25, 2005
By George Kimball/ Boxing Notes
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Kevin McBride won’t exactly be sailing into uncharted waters when he fights Mike Tyson at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., on June 11. The Dorchester-domiciled Irish heavyweight champion hasn’t faced the likes of Tyson before, but trainer Goody Petronelli says, “I know Tyson like the back of my hand.”
Twenty-two years have elapsed since Petronelli first eyed Tyson from the opposite corner. The occasion was an AAU bout in Boston between the teenaged Tyson and Petronelli’s Brockton heavyweight Kilbert Pierce.
“Cus D’Amato was there in Tyson’s corner,” recalled Petronelli. “Tyson was just a kid, but he was a rough-looking guy, and he came out of the corner and, bam-bam-bam!, Pierce was down in the first round. After the round I’m telling Pierce, `You’ve got to box this guy,’ but in the second round it was more of the same, all Tyson.
“So before the third I said, `Look, you’ve got to knock this guy out to win now. Get out there and start banging with him.’ That’s unusual for me, but that was the only chance he had at that point. So Pierce went out and took the last round, but Tyson won the fight. That was the first time Pierce had ever lost, and in the dressing room he sat down with his head in his hands and nearly cried.”
Petronelli was doing his best to revive the sagging spirits of his beaten fighter when the door swung open, and in walked Tyson.
“(Tyson) put his arm around Pierce and said, `Hey, man, you’re a great fighter.’ He was consoling him,” Petronelli said. “The three of us wound up talking for a while.
“Of course,, he was a different Tyson then.”
Petronelli will work the McBride corner along with Chick Rose and Paschal Collins. Collins, the super middleweight from Dublin, has been designated the camp coordinator, and has already lined up a hostelry in Londonderry, Vt., to serve as McBride’s training camp.
McBride will be a heavy underdog, but then so was Danny Williams. When it was suggested that the Clones Colossus’ chances would increase dramatically if he was still on his feet after three rounds, Petronelli didn’t hesitate`Exactly,” he said. “People don’t change their style once they develop it. For the first three rounds (Tyson) is going to come out there and try to hit my guy with everything but the ring post. I’m expecting that, and the chances are he’s not going to change.
“It’s like when (Thomas) Hearns fought Marvin Hagler. (Hearns) had the same style – the first three rounds he’d spend trying to get his guy out of there, and if he couldn’t, then he’d try to box. He didn’t change his style, but I’d planned on that and trained Marvin expecting that Hearns would come right after him in the first three rounds. Same thing with Tyson. He’s not going to come out boxing, that’s for sure. He can’t, if only because of the difference in size.