Interview: Kevin Rooney


Published: July 22, 2005

Source: boxingtalk

By Donald Wright

Boxingtalk recently caught up with former Mike Tyson trainer
Kevin Rooney, following his young heavyweight Mike Dietrichs
impressive knockout victory in Maryland. In this explosive
interview, Rooney talks about Dietrich, the state of todays
heavyweight division, and of course, Mike Tyson. Rooney also
reveals new details about the night Teddy Atlas pulled a gun on a young
Mike Tyson at Cus DAmatos home and training complex in Catskill, New

Boxingtalk: Kevin, your local charge, Mike Dietrich had an impressive knockout victory tonight, tell us about Mike Dietrich.

Rooney: Well you know Mike has the potential to, I dont want to say ??
but I do want to say ?? take over the heavyweight division, because hes
a young kid, and hes got power. Now, with power you can hurt
people. And the more I work with him, the more, hopefully, hell
become much more aggressive. I mean this kid, in my opinion, he
should have knocked him out in the first round. What I see in him
is a desire to try to take over the heavyweight division.

BT: How long have you been working with him now?

Rooney: Its been about a year, and Ive been mainly in and out.

But, you know, knowing the fight game, if this kid wants to step up to
the plate, what I personally see in the heavyweight division is not
much. Youve got the Klitschko brothers, and theyre nothing
special in my opinion. If I had a kid ?? if I had Mike Dietrich ??
just get a little more head movement and then put him in the ring with
these guys, in my opinion, theyre not going to know whats going on.

More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).
Obviously Dietrich is very strong. But noticeably lacking is the
head movement, and that classic bob and weave Cus DAmato style.
What do you do to instill that in Dietrich, and what specifically will
you work on with him in order for him to work that into his style to
become a more effective fighter?

Kevin Rooney: Well, I
have to work with him more. I have to work with him more.
And, hes not stupid, so the more I work with him, the more hell start
moving his head, and hell understand what Im trying to teach.
The real good thing about him is that hes a terrific puncher. He
can really starch somebody. But, number one, hes still
young. Number two, hes got to be completely focused on what Im
trying to teach him, and then get in there and try to starch
somebody. Hes a young kid, strong as hell, and he has the
ability to knock people out, and thats what you like to see.

Kevin, Mike Tyson. Is he done? What did you see from Mike
in his last fight, and what are your thoughts on Mike Tyson at this

Kevin Rooney: Number one, the last thing to go
on a heavyweight fighter, or any fighter, is his punching power.

Youve got middleweights, like Hopkins, he lost that fight to Taylor,
and he won the last five rounds, so that was bullshit. Theyll
have a rematch, and maybe he can overpower him. Now Mike punched
hard. So, the fact that hes 39, and if you look at whats out
there in the heavyweight division, its like anything can happen.
So, the fact that Mike can punch as hard as he still does, thats the
last thing that goes on a fighter. If you punch hard when you are
a middleweight, light heavyweight, or heavyweight, even when you get
older, you still punch hard, maybe even harder.

BT: It
seems like the blue print in fighting him now is, you survive the first
three rounds, and he quits. Is there anything you feel you could
do to address that problem, or is he just a spent three round fighter
at this point?

Kevin Rooney: In my opinion, if he came
back to me ?? if he came back to me ?? Id make sure he was ready to
fight a fifteen round fight. A fifteen round fight. Because
I did that back in the day when I had him. We trained for a
fifteen round fight, not twelve rounds. Fifteen rounds. I
dont care what you say, the fight may be a twelve round fight, you
have to be ready to fight fifteen rounds. Now, if Tyson came back
to me, if he would listen, which is a big question mark, I believe that
he can run right through everybody. He could beat the Klitschko
boys, beat Byrd, and I dont even know who the other champions are to
tell you the truth. If he listened to me, I believe he can wipe
out the division. He just turned 39, and for one year, he can
still wipe everybody out, and then say, how you doin? Thats what
I believe.

BT: How did you meet Cus DAmato?

Rooney: I won the New York City Golden Gloves, a friend of mine gave me
his number and I called him up. I moved up there, I moved in his house,
and Ive been up there [in Catskill] for 30 years.

BT: Were you there the night Teddy Atlas pulled a gun on Mike Tyson?

Kevin Rooney: No.

BT: How did you hear about that?

Rooney: Its all bullshit. Its all bullshit as far as Im
concerned. You dont brag about pulling a gun on somebody.

If you pull a gun, youre going to shoot somebody. Hes a jerk
off. He pulled the gun on Tyson. Now, youve never heard
this part. No one knows this. He pulled the gun on
Tyson. Tyson walks into the gym, then out the front door and into
Cus house, and tells Cus what happened. Then Teddy tells me hes
not working my corner in Scranton, Pennsylvania after my first
loss. And I say, why?? Is that your final answer? He
said yeah. Okay, fuck you. Now Im getting the
bullshit. So he pulls the gun on Tyson, then Atlas fires the gun
in the air. And so then Tyson just looked at him, walked into the
gym, walked out of the Gym, went back to Cus house and told Cus, Im
going down to Brooklyn, Im going to kill him.

knows that. So, Cus threw him back into Tryon up in Troy, New
York with Bobby Stewart. So he stayed up there for a few days,
and I had my fight. I had a friend, whos dead now, tells Atlas,
whats wrong with you? Whats all this with Kevin? What
does this have to do with anything? So, the motherfucker called
me up. And Ive had about 8 fights up in Scranton, he knew where
it was. And he says, oh I dont know where it is, blah blah this,
blah blah that. So I said, Ive already hired someone, and that
was that. He talks nothing but bullshit.