'You can't fight': Three words to Mike Tyson that Jeff Fenech will always regret

Mike Tyson’s face tattoo has become one of the most iconic pieces of body art in the world, but it’s probably fair to say Australian boxing great Jeff Fenech isn’t a fan.

Fenech, who recently endured a health scare while working on Thailand, opened up about his stint as Tyson’s trainer when the American superstar was looking to make a comeback in 2003.

Looking to secure a rematch with long-time rival Lennox Lewis, Tyson had Fenech in his corner for a Las Vegas bout against Clifford Ettienne.

All was going well with the preparation until one day, Tyson didn’t show up to the gym.

Fenech told the Spinning a Yarn podcast ‘Iron Mike’ was a no-show that day because he’d decided to get his famous facial tattoo - a development that lead the Aussie trainer to walk away from the fight.

“I was waiting for him at the gym and he doesn’t turn up,” Fenech said.

“So I went back to the house and all of a sudden it’s five or six o’clock in the afternoon and he walks in.

“I look at him and he has a massive tattoo on his face.

“I looked at him and said ‘Mike you can’t fight.’”

Jeff Fenech and Mike Tyson during Iron Mike Tyson Starts Training Camp at Aladdin/Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)

Fenech went on to explain the decision that ultimately cost him a place

“My understanding of tattoos is that if they’re new or fresh or they get messed up or punched you could get an infection, so I didn’t think he could fight,” he said.

“Mike told me he wasn’t going to fight, but then apparently Showtime said they were going to sue him, so of course he fought and he knocked the guy out in a round.

“I trained him, but Freddie Roach got the credit for it because I went home days before the fight because Mike got that tattoo on his face.

“I trained him for that whole fight. I didn’t think it was going to happen, but the next thing you know, he fights and knocks the guy out in a round.”