Published: June 20, 2005
By Rick Reeno
Emanuel Steward has trained some of the best fighters in the history of
the sport, countless world champions in various weight divisions.
Currently, Steward is training numerous fighters which include WBA
junior welterweight champion Vivian Harris and former WBO heavyweight
champion Wladimir Klitschko. When Steward is not training fighters, he
handles broadcasting duties on HBO’s boxing programs and pay per view
events. Steward is one of those few trainers that can take a fighter
with limited skills and turn him into a contender.
This past weekend, BoxingScene sat down with Emanuel Steward for a near
2 hour interview to get his thoughts on many of the key names in the
sport of boxing. The first part of our interview focuses on former
heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
BoxingScene.com: What was you take on the fight between Mike Tyson and Kevin McBride?
Emanuel Steward: Mike has not had his heart into boxing for a long
time. And still I respect him for his performance. I didn’t see the
fight, I was doing the HBO broadcast, but evidentially he put up a good
effort. Traditionally he has always had problems with big guys who are
not afraid of him. This guy happened to be a big guy, wasn’t afraid of
him, and put Mike in a real awkward position. Mike realized that he
just did not have his heart in it and there was too much and he just
Mike Tyson has not had his heart into boxing for a long time, but I
respect him. Mike is still one of my favorite fighters and Mike Tyson’s
popularity is still going to be big. People are saying “oh he quit”,
but Mike can still captivate a crowd on a moments notice. I accept
Mike. Over time, everybody mellows. At 40, you don’t expect someone to
run around threatening people, hollering and all that unless something
is wrong with them. Everybody mellows out eventually. Mike is doing the
same thing to some degree. Mike has been a tremendous enigma that has
had a tremendous impact on sports, more then any athlete in long time
and right up there with Muhammad Ali I would have to say. Mike and Ali
are different types, but he has a tremendous impact on sports. I don’t
say just boxing, but sports.
BoxingScene.com: A few people in the business think that there is
probably still a market out there for a third meeting with Evander
Emanuel Steward: I think so too.
More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).BoxingScene.com: The promoters could be probably pull off bringing Mike
back against Evander, neither man looked great in their last outing.
Emanuel Steward: I would have to say that Evander would still have to
be favored, it’s just a matter of styles. And let me tell you something
else, Mike Tyson can still go to Europe or wherever. Mike Tyson still
is a draw, even if he feels up to it or not. I think a lot of it has to
do with matching Mike properly. Mike Tyson does not need to be in with
tall fighters who are not afraid of him. I’ve known Mike since he was
13 or 14 when I used to see him in the juniors. Mike Tyson has always
had problems with tall fighters. I take my hat off to him when you
really look at Mike and see the physical size of Mike, to see what he
has accomplished is amazing. Mike is a small man, he has always had
problems with tall fighters. Even one fighter that I was managing at
the time, Tony Tucker. He had problems with Mitch Green, Bonecrusher
Smith. Just think about that, all of those guys were problem fighters
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that his management overlooked McBride
because he was stopped not that long ago by a fighter who up until he
met McBride, lost 17 fights in a row?
Emanuel Steward: I think so, most of the public did too. I didn’t ever
see it that way myself. I thought Mike would of won, but since day 1 I
was suspicious. You know why, because the guy was not afraid of Mike.
Even though his (McBride) past record didn’t indicate it. Mike has
problems with people who are not afraid of him. Mike just doesn’t have
his heart in it , but by the same token I love the Mike that I see now.
I saw him out in Phoenix and man you talk about something so wonderful.
He seems to have found his niche with the Phoenix crowd market. I was
there for the Kostya Tszyu and Sharmba Mitchell fight and the crowd
loved him. He totally and spiritually seems to be at home there. I like
the new Mike Tyson.
BoxingScene.com: Some have suggested that since Mike Tyson is such a
knowledgeable guy, especially with the history of boxing, there might
be a place for him as a commentator similar to Roy Jones.
Emanuel Steward: I think there is a place for Mike in hosting a talk
show, in anything. Mike Tyson’s potential in life is phenomenal. He can
do so many things and I would be one of the first people there to
support him. Mike talks a lot about life. To a certain degree he is a
philosopher. He’s had a lot of experiences in life that qualifies him
to speak about a lot of things. Maybe that is what has hurt his boxing
career (laughing), he has become so diversified and balanced out in his
way of thinking. He loves spending time with his kids, he has a real
appreciation for his ex-wife. Everybody says she used him, but I
understand Mike because he says that she still stands by his side. All
of these assets that he lets her have, it stops the government people
from taking it from him. He knows that she is using these things to
help take care of his kids. Mike is right now turning out be a
philosopher and a real spokesperson for a lot of different things.
BoxingScene.com: Mike is still the most well known boxer out there. If
you ask anyone, regardless of age, they know Mike Tyson. You cannot say
the same thing about any other fighter with the exception of Muhammad
Emanuel Steward: I’ll tell you what. If had a boxing show or some event
and I had a choice of someone I would like to bring. Out of all the
guys I’ve had and known, Lennox (Lewis), Roy Jones and everybody, I
would bring Mike Tyson. What’s interesting is the one fight he had in
Michigan, my hometown, against Golota. Do you know how much the people
love him there. There has not been a fighter that has gone through
there that was loved as much as Mike. Every restaurant he went to the
people went crazy for him. The children loved him. He was a perfect
gentleman. He was loved everywhere.
I saw a side of him, he has a lot of different personalities and he
will tell you that himself. Personally, all the time I’ve dealt with
him, he’s one of my favorite people. He’s not the same guy that he used
to be. There was a time when even I myself, would cuss and raise hell,
a guy would say something to me in a restaurant and I would jump up and
fight, but I think now before I do things. When your an athlete in a
sport like boxing, it’s not a good thing, but that comes with maturity.
You think and then you act.