Exclusive: Tom Tsatas Of The Legendary 5th Street Gym Talks Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye, Fres Oquendo-Mike Perez And More
By James Slater: Tom Tsatas of the world famous 5th Street Gym in Miami is one of the most astute and enthusiastic guys around boxing today. Along with original owner Angelo Dundee, Tsatas has brought back the magic of the legendary gym where Ali, Liston, Basilio, Pastrano and others (including modern day heavyweight champ David Haye) trained.
Article posted on 23.06.2011
Tsatas looks after long-time heavyweight contender Fres Oquendo and he also knows WBA champ Haye as well as anyone. Here in this interview, Tom talks about a number of subjects, including the fast-approaching Klitschko-Haye fight and the possibility of a Fres Oquendo-Mike Perez bout.
James Slater: How are you, Tom? Itís always great to speak with you. First of all, whatís new with The 5th St. Gym? Which fighters have been stopping by and training there?
Tom Tsatas: Oh, let me see - Antonio Margarito was here recently, and a couple of football players. Boom Boom Mancini dropped by also. Itís kind of the off-season right now in Miami; itís right up into the 90ís with the heat. But weíre kind of chugging along, and the gymís going great.
J.S: Everyone is talking about the July 2nd Klitschko-Haye fight as you now. You know Haye as well as anyone, and he trained at 5th Street for a while for this fight. Freddie Roach recently said he feels Haye has a great chance if he goes for it early - whatís your take on the fight?
T.T: I donít want to divulge too much of what Davidís training camp was here, but I speak with Dave all the time. And what Freddie says is true to a degree, but weíve got to be real. There is a lot of hype in this fight, from both sides, and I donít think the fight will be as exciting early as some think it will be. It will be an exciting fight, especially in the later rounds when both guys are a little bit tired, but I think Haye would be foolish to go right out at a guy so much bigger than he is. I mean, David has what, ate himself up to 212 to 215? Why would he go after a guy who weighs around 240 to 245? How could he possibly be stronger than he is? And David said the same things ahead of the Valuev fight. What Iíve seen of him training, I think Haye will box and move around a lot and fight smart as he did against Valuev. I think Wladimir will be as cautious as always, even though heís angry at some of the things Dave has said. I donít think weíll get a quick KO. I see an entertaining chess match, with Haye fighting a very smart fight. I donít think Wladimir will find Haye as easy to hit as he thinks he will be. You know, Haye is a smart guy; I think heíll let Klitschko chase him and, it will surprise many people, but I can even see Haye out-jabbing Wladimir. Thatís my take based on my involvement with Haye.
J.S: If someone put a gun to your head: what would your prediction be? Are you leaning to Haye on points? Can he get a decision in Germany?
T.T: I think we have a fight that is a speed Vs. size encounter. I think Haye will use what heís got - his speed, the fact that heís smaller and quicker and has great boxing skills. I think he can get a decision in Germany; he did against Valuev. And the German people are prone to doing the right thing; there will be a lot of pressure on them in this fight. Again, the later rounds will in my opinion be a big factor as well as being exciting. I think both guys will look for that late KO once the openings come. But I donít see Haye being silly early on and blowing his load. I do see a chess match.
J.S: Did you see the HBO face-off?
T.T: I did. I was actually supposed to go, but it was kind of the spur of the moment and Fres [Oquendo] and I were in camp for [the May 7th] Prizefighter. I saw it and I think Haye has gotten under his skin. And the things Dave says are true, you canít argue with him. But I also know Wladimir has proven that he knows what works for him and he has a Ďif it ainít broke donít fix ití attitude. Why should he change his style to be more exciting when he has 49 KOís?
J.S: Last question on Haye-Klitschko: Do you think Haye will retire after this fight, ahead of his birthday in October as he has said, or is he just saying that?
T.T: No, I donít think heís just saying it. I think David believes it in his heart. He has a lot of stuff going on: like his magazine, his plans to do movies. Maybe if they can get a fight between he and Vitali, say, a month after his 31st birthday in October, he may agree to the fight that way. And who knows, maybe in a year from now he will miss the buzz and the action of boxing? Itís addictive after all. He really does care about his legacy and he wants to beat both Klitschkos, but if he beats Wladimir he may look and think heís 85-percent there and feel satisfied. And how can a fight with Vitali happen soon with Vitali having the fight with Adamek in September? I think David will be honest with himself and stick to it [retirement]. I think heíll move on with his life - unless he gets the bug to come back and fight again.
J.S: Letís talk about Fres Oquendo. It was a shame he missed out on Prizefighter in May. What are his plans now?
T.T: Well, the guy who won Prizefighter, Mike Perez; Fres sparred him a couple of months ago and Perez couldnít go more than 2 rounds with him. Fres will gladly fight him. One of his best friends died ahead of the tournament and he had to pull out. You know, sometimes there are more important things than boxing and making money. Anyway, I would gladly fly him [Perez] out here and pay him whatís fair to get the fight on. He can fight Fres over 12 rounds and pick his own judges, because thereís no way he lasts 12 round with Fres. So I say to Perez: call me up anytime, my number is on Boxrec. Fres will be glad to give him his first loss, by stoppage. Letís make this fight happen! Letís do it in August. We have three dates possible for an ESPN show; or we could even do the fight in England, with David [Haye] co-promoting.
J.S: Fres is as ambitious as ever then clearly!
T.T: Yes, absolutely. And I say this - based on his last training session, whoever he fights next he stops. We canít give any definite names for sure, but Chris Arreola turned us down and Kevin Johnson and Franklin Lawrence are in the frame. So these are the kind of guys we want. I tell you, I wonít allow Fres to get another bad decision; excuse my French but he has to knock the next guy he fights the f**k out! And he will. You know, by nature Fres is a 12-round fighter, and we thought weíd do the right thing and fight fair and box. But the sport is so corrupt, there are so many bad decisions. I sound like a broken record saying it, but Fres has been robbed so many times. Mormeck, for example - let him come to the U.S to fight Fres; he says he wants to make his name with a big fight in America. Anyway, we know now that we need KOís and Fres will try his absolute best to get them.
J.S: We look forward to Fresís next fight. Letís just talk about Angelo Dundee for a while; the fans love him, a true, true legend of the sport. How is Angelo?
T.T: Heís great. He was just up at The Hall of Fame inductions and heís still recuperating from his broken hip. But heís up and around and hopefully weíll be celebrating his 90th birthday here at 5th Street in August.
J.S: Itís been great speaking with you, Tom. One more question: where will you be watching Haye-Klitschko? Will you be there?
T.T: Fres and I were invited to be there by Dave, who wants his full team around him. This is Davidís big night of course. But I may be in camp with Fres, especially if he can get a guy to agree to fight him in August or sooner! So weíll see. If not, Iíll be watching the fight here in Miami. I have a bar here and the atmosphere will be great. This is David Hayeís wedding night!
previous article: Canelo and Bute: The New Event Fighters?
next article: Ariza On Mayweatherís Claims Of Pacquiao Drug Use: ďRidiculousĒ