Tampa's mayor channeled boxing champ Mike Tyson on Sunday to describe Hurricane Irma's expected impact as it churned up Florida's Gulf Coast – forecasting "we're about to get punched in the face."
In remarks at a news conference, and during an interview with ABC News' "This Week," Mayor Bob Buckhorn lauded preparation plans — but conceded reality is the final test.
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face," he told a morning news conference, The New York Times reported.
"Well, we're about to get punched in the face."
He returned to the Tyson analogy later to ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos.
"You know, George, I never thought I would be quoting Mike Tyson, but I think it's appropriate," he said. "We work all year round to prepare for this even though we haven't taken a direct hit since over 90 years. We train hard. We practice hard. We practice during the week as if it were game day.
"We think we're ready, but obviously until you get into this situation you're never going to know . . . right now I got hundreds of people who are ready to go help their fellow citizens. And so we're Tampa strong, George."
He added the storm surge and aftermath "is the biggest thing that we have ever faced."
"This is not a situation that anybody would want to have to experience, but I think it will take the measure of this community," he said. "These are good people. We're going to look after each other. They're going to rise to the occasion. They are going to survive. We're going to be OK, but we are going to get our glimpse of what the wrath of Mother Nature looks like in a few hours."
As of around 2 p.m. ET, low pressure of the approaching storm was pulling water from shore as it churned at 9 mph with sustained wind speeds of up to 130 mph, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
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