I don't fear Holmes, but I think he's a good fighter. He has a lot of pride. But I wouldn't be fighting him if I feared him. It's going to be a tough fight. People say with all the hoopla out there, I won't be able to handle it. I believe the pressure's on him. I'm just going to do my thing.
Joe DeGuardia, I love that guy. He's not a superstar promoter yet, but he will be. He was a fighter himself; he's staying the course with these guys. He's developing some good fighters out there. I really applaud him whenever I get a chance to.
Growing up training, I use to get up so early I would wave to the garbage men going by. So, I had this relationship with Blue Collar America and I really liked it. I felt that lots of those people looked forward to me winning.
When we first started in Huntington Recreation with John Capobianco, we put four kids in the Golden Gloves finals. We didn't even have a ring. We trained at Stimson Junior High School. They give us the gym three nights a week. We used to box in the gym - no ring, just on the gym floor.
My father never once told me he loved me. I told him I loved him only one time - that was when he was sick. It was hard, the way he showed his love. I didn't understand what he was trying to teach me. Now I know, but it came too late for him to see it. After he was gone, I realized he was trying to strengthen my mind to make me better.
All of the sports have a safety net, but boxing is the only sport that has none. So when the fighter is through, he is through. While he was fighting his management was very excited for him, but now that he is done, that management team is moving on.
I retired when I was 30, with all my marbles and a few bucks. But a lot of guys leave boxing penniless with no skills. Men in their 30s and early 40s, old for boxing, young in life, but also old in the job market if you're just getting started with no education. These guys need someone in their corner.
Too many guys don't know what to do with their lives after boxing. I was lucky because I had two managers who didn't trust each other, and so they were always making sure where all the money was, and because of that, so did I.
When I was 15, I decided to take up the sport seriously, so I went down to the Y.M.C.A. My first day there, this little Italian guy beat my brains out. I decided to quit. Then I realized I really wanted to be a fighter. I worked at it, went back, and that little Italian guy didn't beat me up no more.
I grew up in a household where I learned five things from my old man. You know what they were? You're no good. You're a failure. You're not going to amount to anything. Don't trust nobody, and don't tell nobody your business. When I lost to Larry Holmes in 1982, I felt all five of those things smacked me right across the face.