Exclusive Interview: Former Two-Time King Bobby Czyz Talks About The Tyson “Bite,” Street Fighting, Ali, Hearns, Taylor And More!
By James Slater: Bobby Czyz, the former IBF light-heavyweight and WBA cruiserweight king, is one of the best former fighters you could wish to interview. A great guy who also called numerous fights for Showtime, Czyz, 44-8(28) was kind enough to share some of his stories with me earlier today. I had a bunch of questions ready for Bobby, yet he gave me such detailed answers I was unable to ask them all!
Article posted on 24.02.2012
Here are some of the things “Chappie,” today a hugely successful commodities dealer, had to say:
James Slater: It’s great to be able to speak with you, Bobby. I have to say, even though I’m from the U.K, I miss your commentary on Showtime. I used to get tapes of the fights on Showtime. You were a great commentator.
Bobby Czyz: Thank you, that’s very kind. I had a great time with Al Albert and with Ferdie [Pacheco] You know, it’s a funny thing: you remember Don Dunphy?
J.S: Oh yeah.
B.C: He was known as The Voice of Boxing, and he took me to one side one time and he told me that I was the best announcer he’d ever seen. I told him ‘That’s a great compliment coming from you‘, and he said, ‘No you don’t understand - you talk the talk but you also walk the walk. You’ve done it in the ring yourself.’ And he complimented me on my speaking voice. I never slurred a word. That’s another interesting thing: I’ve been doing some research, and you look at any fighter who never had a great chin and was involved in a lot of tough fights, say for ten years or more in their career, and they can’t talk today! Meldrick Taylor, Thomas Hearns, Terry Norris. You know, all great fighters - even though Hearns always ducked me and would never fight me! - but today they can’t talk, to the extent that you can’t understand a damn word. Look at Foreman, Chuvalo, those guys, myself included - guys who had durability. We all talk fine. I’m not sure of the medical word for it, but basically, if you don’t have a chin in boxing you won’t be able to talk clearly when you’re done.
J.S: That’s interesting stuff, Bobby. But what about Ali?
B.C: Well, people say he has Parkinsons. He’s the only guy who ever got it from fighting. It’s ridiculous. Why don’t all fighters get Parkinsons if that’s the case?
J.S: Back to your commentary. We’ve just had that awful brawl with Haye and Chisora. You called the infamous Tyson “bite” fight live on the air. People are saying the thing in Germany was as bad or worse than that. What do you think?
B.C: Well, the Tyson thing - that was the first and only time I’ve ever been totally lost for words on air! It truly was a Pearl Harbour moment - a day that will live in infamy. The thing in Germany, which I actually never saw, that was different because it was outside the ring, and a bottle was involved. But from what I hear, I would maybe be inclined to give both guys a ban; especially the guy who initiated it. But then again, the heat of the moment is a funny thing. I was actually called to testify on Tyson in court. And I told them that during my career I had only once been in trouble for bad behaviour. I fought Donny Lalonde and I was beating the shit out of the guy yet I forearmed him in the face at one point, right in his nose. I never even knew I’d done it! I had to watch the tape later to actually believe I’d done it. I was way ahead on points and didn’t need to do anything like that. So it’s funny how, when you’re fighting another man, who is just two inches away and is trying to take your head off, you can lose your head in the heat of battle. It’s possible Tyson reacted in a primeval manner. It’s hard to think he [Tyson] never knew what he was doing but who knows for sure.
J.S: Yes, and what Haye and Chisora did was basically have a street fight…
B.C: Something I know about. I’ve actually had a couple of street fights in my life. One time a guy cut me off in his car - he was drunk and way out of line. So I said, ’hey, jerk off!’ and he came at me, he was like 210-pounds. I slipped a punch and then hit him and he went down hard. His buddy got out of the car and said, ’leave him alone, Bobby!’ I said, ’you know me and you cut me off like that!’ Anyway it’s funny - five years later I saw him at a gas station. I said, ‘hey jerk off, you wanna finish off?’ He locked himself in the gas station and called the police!
J.S: (laughing) That’s some story, Bobby. You had a great career in the ring, of course…
B.C: Thank you. Yeah, I first walked into the gym in September 1972, I was ten-years-old. My dad took me and I trained until my first-ever time sparring, on February 9th the next year, a day before my eleventh birthday. At the end of the 1st-round the other kid, who weighed 20-pounds more than me, which is a lot at that age - he was beaten up so bad they had to take him out. Another kid got in, aged 13, and I beat his ass too. I got a standing ovation in the gym and that was the first time I knew I was special. I decided right then to dedicate myself to boxing - for the next seven years until I turned pro, and for the next fourteen years until I became world champion.
J.S: You had so many great fights. Which ones do you remember the most today?
B.C: Winning the first title of course (against Slobodan Kacar), the two fights with Prince Charles Williams and the Lalonde fight. I really wanted a fight with Hearns but the son-of-a-bitch ducked me for so long! But I made my mark in the sport. I’ll never be called a great, great fighter like Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Mayweather or those guys - but I set goals and I accomplished them. My attitude was always, if you can’t compete with the best, then why bother at all?
J.S: Thanks so much for speaking with me, Champ.
B.C: You’re welcome, you have a good day.
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