Freddie Roach Speaks out in Interview: ''Tyson will be champion again

By
TysonTalk

Published: June 9, 2004

I spoke with Freddie Roach some months back, and asked him if he would
ever consider training Mike Tyson again. Freddie told me “yes” he
would, and this proved to be true as Freddie Roach, and Mike Tyson are
once again a team. Freddie and I talked in length about Mike Tyson. We
talked about Mike’s new hunger and desire to be World Champion once
again. We talked about Mike Tyson the boxer, the man, and many other
things that the Mike Tyson fan will enjoy. We also talked about Manny
Pacquaio, James Toney, and the rest of the Freddie Roach stable. I hope
you enjoy this interview as much as I did conducting it. Freddie Roach
is a boxing
genious, a kind man, and a very caring man as well. Hope you enjoy
it!…..

BC:

Freddie, nice to talk to you again… Last time we spoke, I asked you
if you would ever consider training Mike Tyson again, and you told me
that you would, you weren’t
lying were you…(laughing)

FR:

No, I get along with Mike real well, he asked me to come and help get
ready for his next fight… we talked about the problems we had last
time, and now everything
is going good.

BC

Freddie, how is the champ looking?

FR

Actually, he is in better shape now than he was in his last fight…
he’s got a much better attitude, and he seems like he really wants it.
He is a different person now, he is working real hard. Last time, I
took him on the mits and so forth, if I got a few rounds out of him I
did well. This time, right away he went 10 rounds, and is running in
the morning, he’s in good shape. I am really happy with where he is at
right now…. and we still have a couple of months to go.

BC

Freddie for those who may not be up to speed with Mike’s
current situation, what are both your long term, and short term plans
for Mike?

FR

Well, the way it looks right now we are
going to fight Kevin McBride on July 30th, and McBride is the Irish
Champion..and he is a big guy, he’s 6ft 7 inches tall.
After that, the Light Heavyweight Champion that just knocked out Roy
Jones, is making so much noise he wants to fight Tyson next?…

More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).

BC

Freddie, be careful what you wish for huh?? (laughing)

FR

(laughing).. Uhh.. yeah…. I would love
this fight for Mike… Tarver was on TV the other day on ESPN saying
that he wants Tyson… we will see if he can back it up.. I hope this
fight happens.

BC

Freddie.. straight up, you think Mike Tyson can be Heavyweight Champion again?

FR

With the current weight division, I really do.. Mike isn’t
going to be what he used to.. the thing is, there is nothing you can do
about getting older, you cannot bring back your youth. But, he still a
big puncher, and has speed… and with the Heavyweights that are out
there right now, I think he can beat just about any one of them.

BC

Freddie, the Heavyweight Division is pretty much wide open as far as I am concerned.

FR

It is wide open.. I think Tyson would do well against
Klitschko, Brewster, any of those guys right now.. Some are talking
about James Toney, and Mike..but I want to stay away from that right
now.

BC

Freddie not just my opinion, but many others as well feel you are one
of, if not the top trainer out there, …did Mike contact you, or did
you contact him to get back together.

FR

No, he contacted me.. through Shelly Finkell… Mike told
Shelly that he wanted me to get him ready for the fight. I was in South
Africa with Virgil Hill at the time, so I sent of my assistants to work
with him for a couple of weeks.. (Justin).. Justin did a real good job
with Mike… They get a long well.. I trained Justin for a long time,
so we both come from the same school.. Mike in real good shape right
now, we are going to spar him next week. The thing is.. I miss being at
the gym in Hollywood..It is too hot here (laughing)…

BC

Let’s talk about Manny Pacquaio for a minute…and we can get back to
Mike in a minute.. what is your take on the judges decision with Pac,
and Marquez fight?

FR

I thought Manny won the fight, but I will give Marquez a lot of
credit for coming back from the 3 knockdowns in the first … Manny had
a good 1st.. he had a slight hairline fracture in his hand during the
first round.. We are looking for a rematch with Marquez, but it doesn’t
look like Marquez wants a rematch right away..so we are looking at
possibly looking at fighting one of the other Champions…In-Jin Chi
right now we are looking for a september date…Hopefully Marquez will
call on us though so we can
get that one out of the way.

BC

So looks like in September, Manny Pacquaio will be fighting at least somebody?

FR

Yes, September…

BC

Freddie, when will Manny be back in the states to train for the September fight?

FR

Manny will be back in the states on July 1st.

BC

Let’s talk about Freddie Roach for a second… Freddie, you
were also a fighter… which side of the game do you like better, the
training, or in the ring fighting?

FR

You know, I love the competition of fighting…but since I am a little
better at training than I was a fighter…I don’t miss it so much
because I am so involved in boxing.
I had my show in boxing.. I had 150 Amateur fights, and 54 Pro
fights… I miss the being in shape part of fighting.. I am getting too
fat now… (laughing).. the thing is, this side of it is working out so
well for me.. it is a lot of fun working with guys like Mike Tyson,
Manny Pacquaio, James Toney…

BC

Freddie, what do you think happened with the Roy Jones fight,… Did he
just get caught.. is he too old.. what is your position on the fight?

FR

You know, I still think that making the
weight hurt him.. I know as a fighter, once you go up in weight, and
then to drop back down, it is really really difficult.
I think he just had some trouble making the 175lb limit.. even though
he more time this time… I still think that was a problem…I think
Roy is better off at Cruiserweight, or Heavyweight… He is a very
talented guy.. the thing is… he just got caught with a good shot..
Roy was looking at the floor.. and Tarver made the right counter… It
was
a Hell of a shot though.

BC

Freddie, you know how the commentators in
boxing will say that a fighter can get old over night?… as a trainer,
can you pick up on things like that ?.. can you tell when
a fighter creeps up on that “got too old over-night” thing?

FR

Sometimes you can.. sometimes you can see signs of that..but
not being close to Roy, I couldn’t tell..one of my fighters.. I
probably could tell… but sometimes you get to a point where you just
go through the motions..and I think Roy was just going through the
motions a little bit, he is a very talented guy, but he has been around
a long time now. You know since his friend McClellan got hurt, he has
never really been the same since then.. not as confident.. had a little
question mark in his mind… again, very talented, but never maybe as
brave as he once was since then.

BC

Freddie, I guess that can happen to people huh?

FR

Absolutely, .. the first time I got knocked out, I didn’t think
anyone could hurt me before that.. Mike Tyson couldn’t knock me down in
my mind at that time.. but when it happened.. it actually had changed
my life.. it is that much of an impact.. I went from fearless, to
humble…

BC

Let’s get back to Mike Tyson for a second.. how is Mike’s mindset..
does he still posess that hunger that he had when he was a young man
coming up in boxing?

FR

Probably not that intense..but I think his financial situation
has made him hungry..and you know what.. we are keeping very low key
here.. Mike has two people with him.. that is the greatest thing in the
world…because I hope he looks back and see’s and remember those who
were with him when he had the money, and who is still with him now.. it
should tell him who the real important people are in his life…

BC

Freddie, people’s true colors come out in situations like that.

FR

Absolutely, there are two kinds of people..and those who are not with
him now were there just to soak the money out of him.. that’s it.. the
only reason they were there.
Mike needs this though.. he has just two guys with him.. he is focused,
he is training hard.. I am telling you ..Mike is a different person
now…

BC

Freddie, you just led me right into my next question… how is Mike different now as opposed to last time you trained him?

FR

You know the first time .. we got along ok.. we would talk boxing…
Mike is the boxing Historian.. amazing the stuff he can tell you about
the fighters of the past, and present.. The thing is.. his attitude
with the way he is training now.. I am getting much much more out of
him.. I am pushing him, and he is giving it right back to me..
I am pushing him harder than last time… He is in great shape..

BC

Freddie, you have any concerns about this big Irish Champ Mike has to fight next?

FR

Well there is always a little of concern..because this guy can
punch a little bit..you have to respect that… and he is 6ft 7..but
sometimes I feel these big talls guys aren’t made for the sport…
(laughing)… They can make for a pretty big target….. I don’t have
any real concerns about his height..but we do need to get some tall
sparring partners.

BC

Freddie for those have been asking about the K1 Promotion..
just so everyone understands .. there will be no
kickboxing…(laughing)

FR

This is just the K1 People promoting… only boxing here… (laughing)…

BC

Let’s talk about James Toney a little bit.. How is his injury, and what is the latest with James?

FR

James is getting the green light to start
training.. his leg has 100 percent healed.. he started running on
Monday.. he is a little too heavy with the down time, but not as bad as
I have seen him (laughing).. and we are looking for a late September
stage for James.. were hoping that Jameel McLine is still on the
table..we are trying to put that
back together… but, if that doesn’t happen, we are looking to fight
Jirov again… either would be good, but I would like James to fight
McLine to show the people that he can bang with the big ones.. because
after McCline, we want Vitali Klitschko.. James definitely wants
Klitschko…

BC

Freddie, do you have any of your other fighters in your stable you want to talk about?

FR

I had Brian Viloria fight on ESPN the other night.. he did
well, he won in an 11th round KO.. body shot.. I got Benn Dunn..My
Irish puncher.. he is 12 and 0 with 11 KO’s..
He fights July 2nd.. and in Late July we fight on Showtime with Benn…
just staying busy with my kids as possible… Mike wants me to bring in
the kids when they have a fight coming up… Angel Vasquez will be
defend his title pretty soon.. we are looking for a date right now..
hopefully we will know something within the next month… we are wating
to hear from the Delahoya people soon…

BC

Freddie, speaking of Delahoya.. what is your take on his recent fight?

FR

Yeah, I watched it.. Felix is a good fighter… I knew he would give
Oscar some problems.. the thing is… I thought if Felix pushed the
issue a little bit he may have came out on top . but I did give Oscar
the fight. he landed some great bodyshots.. I think Felix’s corner
should have urged him on more….If Sturm would have pushed the issue a
little
more.. who knows?.. I gave the fight to Oscar by a little bit because
of the bodyshots early, and the combination.. Sturm was too happy
landing one punch at a time… his corner should have urged him to put
it together more.. I feel Oscar needs to be in better shape though.. he
looked a little heavy, and a little soft.. He will have to be in much
better shape to fight Hopkins.. Hopkins is a true Middleweight.. one
thing about Delahoya.. he fights all the toughest out there.. I have to
give him that… but, something is missing in Oscars game.. he should
not be fading in the last 4 rounds… something needs to change for
him.. I am not sure what it is..but something needs to change… maybe
the high altitude training…??.. not sure.. but something needs to
change for Oscar..

BC

The decision to go to Phoenix ??.. just to get out of the limelight?

FR

Mike has a house in the area… he has his pigeons here too.. he likes
to get up at like 4 AM and exercise his pigeons…He likes to tell me
all about them.. (laughing).. which one is which.. who is the bully of
them all.. who has the attitude..and so forth (laughing)…

BC

Freddie, Mike loves his pigeons doesn’t he (laughing)…

FR

You know it is quite entertaining.. I mean they have like a
million dollar prize pigeon race… 500 miles… there is alot to
pigeons that I had no clue about.. (laughing)

BC

Freddie, does mike breed his pigeons for the race?

FR

No…(laughing) because too many of the pigeons never return..
he wont do that.. Mike has two kinds.. high flyers, and tumblers…
(laughing)…the high flyers fly high.. but the tumblers.. they have
like a spastic way to fly.. actually Mike told me it is an actual
deformity in them.. the tumblers… they tumble when fly… but
sometimes they tumble, and hit the ground (at this point Freddie and I
are laughing pretty hard)….

BC

Freddie.. here you are.. one of the greatest boxing trainers in a very
long time teaching mike, about how to get in boxing shape.. and Mike
Tyson..one of the greatest Heavyweights in a very long time, teaching
you about pigeons…(laughing)…

FR

I tell you.. I have a friend in Vegas that has pigeon coups
that cost more than my house… believe me… (laughing) there is alot
of money in pigeons.. they breed them like horses..they have family
papers are them, seriously..

BC

Freddie.. you know Mike Tyson has alot of very bad press…some
justified..but honestly, some not.. when you live in Mike’s world under
the microscope.. it can be frustrating…

FR

That’s why I am back with Mike.. I like Mike.. I enjoy working with him.. he is a good guy.

BC

Freddie, tell the readers something about Mike that you know is a good quality, that most people don’t realize.

FR

Well, it is like the pigeons.. he is up at 4 AM.. to work with them,
exercise them..etc.. he doesn’t have names for all of them..but he
knows there personalities.. which one is a bully, which is nice..etc..
he is a nice guy… if our lives were under the microscope..we may be
in trouble too.. like if we have a fight with our spouse for example..
it isn’t on national TV… one thing about Mike… he is a target..and
people will provoke him.. like myself.. the thing is I was in Kinko’s
the other day, and some guy came after me, and told him that he was
going to hit me.. so I hit him first… .. Mike told me ” Freddie, you
got to stop doing that stuff”.. Mike was yelling at me.. (laughing).. I
said… “Mike, you too”!!.. (laughing)…

BC

Freddie.. how long ago did that happen at Kinko’s?

FR

About 6 months ago… you know.. this guy is coming after me.. he
thinks I am a little kid… he’s like 6ft 3 , 250lb.. says he gonna
kick my ass??..so I hit him… The thing is Mike Tyson is yelling at me
for doing it… saying ” Freddie, you got to stop that stuff “…
(laughing).. here is Mike Tyson giving me advice not to fight..
but you know what.. he is right.. he’s a good guy man..

BC

Freddie.. Mike is basically telling you that you are not exactly a Joe
Schmo… You can be a target for someone to because of celebrity
status…

FR

Right.. and that is what is happening right now.. I have to deal with
this damn court stuff.. it is a pain in the ass too. I won the criminal
case already..but the civil case is going on still.. it costs money..
get this… the cop hit me with the club!.. the girl from Kinko’s says
“why are you hitting him”.. “it’s the other guy”… (laughing).. I
asked the cop.. “what do you got against me”… but back to Mike. he’s
a great guy, we talk boxing.. talk about the old timers.. his knowledge
is amazing … Mike gets ready for fights by watching old films… we
work on stuff like that…

BC

Freddie.. there are alot of Mike Tyson fans out there.. and they are
juiced up that you two are working together again.. Is there anything
you want to say to the fans out
there about what they can expect out of Mike Tyson with Freddie Roach
for the upcoming year?

FR

I think Mike Tyson is going to make some noise in the
Heavyweight Division.. I think Mike Tyson will be Heavyweight Champion
again. The thing is, it has been a long time coming.. if Mike can stay
on the track he is on right now, I think he will be the next
Heavyweight Champion of The World.

BC

Freddie, that would give boxing a real good shot in the arm if that happened.

FR

It really would Brad… he is so sellable.. he told me the other day “
I just want to be left alone, and let me fight”… Mike is hungry
again.. it is a very good thing right now..

BC

Freddie, I really appreciate you taking out the time.. I really enjoyed this, Thank you..

FR

No problem.. thank you.

Interviewed by Brad Cooney 6/7/04

Source: boxingscene.com