McBRIDE,

By
TysonTalk

Published: April 25, 2005

Boxing: Brock’s sparring partner finds spotlight

Saturday, April 23, 2005

By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

To prepare heavyweight Calvin Brock for his biggest fight to date — part of an ESPN pay-per-view card live tonight from Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace — his trainer lured an intriguing sparring partner to their California, Pa., camp:

Upcoming Mike Tyson opponent Kevin McBride.

And how did Brock’s trainer, Tom Yankello of Ambridge, hook McBride, who is due a $200,000 payday for his June 11 Tyson bout in Washington? He called. He offered money.

“Paid him a thousand dollars a week,” Yankello said of the 6-foot-6 Irishman, who stayed three weeks in the Washington County camp with them. “That always makes them interested.”

So before training to fight a former world champion, McBride spent time exchanging blows at Buzz Garnic’s California campsite with Brock, who carries a 24-0 record and title-contention chances into the outdoor Vegas ring against giant Jameel McCline (31-4-3).

It’s a 10-round match on a busy, $29.95 card highlighted by World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Antonio Margarito defending against Kermit Cintron and former super welterweight champ Shane Mosley against David Estrada. It can be ordered through ESPNPPV.com or your local cable provider.

McCline, ranked fourth by the International Boxing Federation, lost in a controversial, split decision to IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd in a bout last year.

At 6-6, 260 pounds, he presents a sizable challenge to the 6-2, 221-pound Brock, a North Carolinian who has trained with Yankello the past three years.

“Kevin prepared me excellently for Jameel,” Brock said. “I’m definitely ready and prepared.

“I got a great opportunity in front of me; I’m going to take advantage of it. Get a step closer to the championship.”

Yankello said Brock, a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic boxing team, is in the best shape of his pro career — and down 16 pounds from the 237 when they first joined forces. The trainer considers him a quicker boxer, packing more power than before.

“Not only is he trying to win fights, he’s trying to win in spectacular fashion and show he’s a guy to be reckoned with,” Yankello said of the IBF’s 14th-ranked heavyweight. “This is a huge step up; he wins this fight, he’s top 5. Depending on how impressive he is, who knows? He might get a world-title shot right out of it. But he’s legitimately one or two fights away [from a belt chance], if he wins this fight.”

To put Brock in proper shape, Yankello sought a puncher of similar size to McCline. Enter McBride, a cheery Irishman whose handlers already were working on a potential Tyson matchup.

“When he got to camp, we knew it was going down,” Yankello said.

Still, that didn’t stop McBride from studying the nightlife of California and the area around eastern Washington County. “He would go out and come back about 2 in the morning. He liked to drink. That guy’s a trip. Sparring with a hangover. Classic.”

“He’s a funny guy,” Brock added. “Got a lot of character, a lot of personality.”

McBride excused himself from their California camp, took a flight out of Pittsburgh and went to Washington April 12 for the news conference where, for one thing, Tyson called him “cute.” McBride promptly returned to the camp when those prematch festivities ended.

“He said Mike was not so serious, but more comical,” Brock said. “He’s not the same Mike he used to be. He’s out for making money now. I punch just as hard as Mike Tyson, Kevin thinks.”

He wants McCline to find out for certain tonight.