Boxing trainer Freddie Roach says it is hard to view anything involving Mike Tyson as an “exhibition” ahead of the former heavyweight champion’s return to the ring at the age of 54 versus the 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr.
Mike and Jones Jr. will compete over eight two-minute rounds on Nov. 28 in California in what the fighter once regarded as “The Baddest Man on the Planet” hopes will help kickstart a ‘Legends Only’ sports project involving various huge names of yesteryear.
However, Roach, who worked with Mike in the early 2000s, believes it will be the vicious Mike of old who steps between the ropes next month in California.
“I spoke with Mike Tyson about 10 days ago, and I told him he doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘exhibition,’” Roach told Press Box.
“He laughed but he knew what I meant. Tyson is an old school fighter who only has one gear — forward. And I know when that bell rings, Tyson will be swinging for the fences.”
Roach can only see the fight ending one way.
“I think Tyson knocks Roy Jones out,” he said. “But I did warn Tyson that he has to be careful of Roy’s left to the body. That’s the punch Roy used to knock out Virgil Hill.”
Roach was also full of praise for new charge Eumir Marcial, whom he recently said could end up following in fellow Filipino Manny Pacquiao’s footsteps. Roach has worked with Pacquiao for much of the eight-division titleholder’s career.
“Eumir hits really hard,” said Roach. “He’s a very slick southpaw and a pleasure to train. He has a good work ethic, he works his tail off, and he soaks in everything he is taught.
“He speaks three or four different languages fluently. Very bright. Just a few days into camp, his brother passed away and he decided to stay in camp instead of going back to the Philippines for the funeral.
“I know he was hurting inside but that showed me his dedication to being the best. He wants to bring Olympic gold and a world title belt back to the Philippines. He loves his country so much. He’s a gem.”