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Mike McCallum

Titles: WBA jr. middleweight cahmp 1984-1987, WBA middleweight champ
           1989-1991, WBC light heavyweight champ 1994-1995

Record: 48-3-1 

Born: December 7, 1956 in Kingston, Jamaica

Years active: 1981-1997

Nickname: The Body Snatcher 

Of all the great champions in the 80's and 90's that hovered around the 
middleweight division it was only Mike McCallum who was never granted one of 
the megafights. Hagler, Benitez, Duran (who was stripped for not fighting 
McCallum), Hearns and Leonard all fought each other. McCallum certainly had the 
skills to compete on their level but never had the backing of the boxing power 
brokers to get himself a shot at the big names of the time. Even his parents 
did not want Mike to fight, he had to do so against their wishes in his early 
teens. In the ring Mike was the complete package and in a age of headhunters 
McCallum earned his nickname of "The bodysnatcher" early in his career. It was 
the one virtue he had not mastered in the amateurs which did not reward body 
work, so he went and learned it as a pro. His lengthy amateur career (240-10) 
also meant McCallum did turn pro until the age of 23 and did not win a world 
title until he was 27 years old. In the end it did not hurt him since it seemed 
McCallum only got better with age. A all around fighter McCallum had no real 
weaknesses and often stopped his foes by doubling up on the left hook after a 
body blow. I guess you could call McCallum a poor mans Marvin Hagler, like 
Hagler he also had a great chin which held steady against the best 2 decades of 
boxing had to offer. Also like Hagler he refused to play the politics of boxing 
and thus had to earn his way to title shots. McCallum can also be likened to 
John Conteh in England  because of constant changes in his promotional status 
which also prevented Mike from getting title shots. To open his pro career Mike 
stopped his first 14 opponents while honing any skills he might have not 
developed in his vast amateur career. The best win prior to his first title 
shot came when he defeated Ayub Kalule in his 17th fight and only second 
year as a pro. Kalule a seasoned veteran and former champ was disposed of in 
the 7th round. The win earned McCallum much recognition, it also hampered his 
progress as many boxers refused to face him and Mike only fought 3 times in the 
next year. 1984 however was a break through year as his mandatory title shot 
was in the making. To win his first title McCallum had to fight Irishman Sean 
Mannion in what turned out to be a one sided rout. Mannion was a iron chinned 
and determined foe, but that was his only asset. McCallum walked away with a 
easy 15 round decision. A title defense in 84 against Luigi Minchillo is only 
worth a mention because McCallum had to go to the challengers home country of 
Italy to defend his title, another sign of little backing McCallum had from 
promoters. Mike McCallum would reign for the next 3 years at jr. middleweight 
and should be considered one of the three best in the history of the division,  
if not the best! Consider that he knocked every challenger out that he faced. 
This was done in spite of his limited backing by promoters where he had to 
defend against some top boxers such as Julian Jackson, David Braxton, Milton 
McCrory and Donald Curry. Julian Jackson would go on to become one of the best 
middleweights of the 90's but could not overcome the power McCallum at jr. 
middleweight. After McCallum survived a toe to toe first round he landed a 
beautiful hook to end it and Jacksons title hopes. Mike's 6th defense of the 
title was somewhat surprising to most as he was the underdog to Donald Curry. 
The win over Don Curry came via a devastating one punch kayo in the 5th round 
after Curry dropped his hands to protect his ribs. Until that point it was a 
even fight but in retrospect he would have probably won a decision if it had 
come to it. After trouble making weight and running out of opponents McCallum 
had to make a step up in weight. His first fight at the weight was for the  WBA 
title and he was surprisingly defeated on points by tricky Sumbu Kalambay for 
the first time in his career. It would be a year, two months and 3 wins over 
mediocre opposition before he was to challenge for the title again. When 
Kalambay was striped of the title for not facing Herol Graham it was McCallum 
who was brought in to fight Graham for the title. Graham was a even more tricky 
fighter than Kalambay and thought to have a good chance of winning a decision 
on his home turf. Graham a defensive wizard who drove fighters crazy, had 
McCallum confused to start the fight. But as the fight wore on McCallum rode 
his accurate jab to a points victory. His reign a middleweight just as it was 
at jr. middleweight featured wins over excellent boxers like Michael Watson, 
Steve Collins and a revenge win over his only conqueror Sumbu Kalambay. The 
Collins fight was a rugged affair with both men giving and receiving punishment 
with a lot of infighting. Again it was the accuracy of McCallum that won out 
over Collins' work rate. In a otherwise forgettable title defense against Nicky 
Walker, Mike landed 93 punches in one round which is still a punch stat record. 
After his win over Kalambay it was McCallum's turn to be stripped of the title 
for not facing Collins in a rematch. But it really made no difference since 
McCallum was already set to face James Toney for a unification match. Instead 
they fought for only the IBF title. At the time Toney was nearing his peak so 
once again Mike faced the best champion and pound for pound entrant. The first 
of the 3 fights was a see saw affair where both men landed with regularity. In 
the end it was declared a draw. Toney came on strong in the last two rounds to 
gain the draw in a fight that Mike dominated early. Definitely a candidate for 
the 1991 fight of the year. It left Mike without a title since the WBA stripped 
McCallum of the title for taking the Toney fight. In the second fight it seemed 
as if McCallum had done enough to win but Toney walked away with a disputed 
decision win. Moving on after the Toney affairs McCallum became a three weight 
champion when he outfought tough but shop worn Jeff Harding in easy fashion. 
Holding on to the title this time was not in the cards as he defended the title 
once before a younger and faster Fabrice Tiozzo outworked McCallum in France to 
win the title. Looking for money fights to end his career McCallum now looked 
towards the big names but once again found he would have to earn his money by 
fighting the best. Against Roy Jones the nearly 40 year old McCallum went the 
12 round distance and gave a better than expected accounting of himself. It was 
still not a close fight but he made Jones work for his win. The fight is 
otherwise notable for McCallum being knocked down in the 10th round which was 
to be the second and last knockdown of his career. Three months later a final 
rubber match with James Toney to settle their rivalry was to be the last ring 
appearance for McCallum. After 8 rounds Mike was cut and bleeding from his 
mouth and right eye but still even on all cards. Tony the fresher of the two 
boxers did win a deserved decision this time out after McCallum faded. It is a 
shame McCallum could not have been granted the easy payday and win for the last 
fight of his career. Then again nothing was ever given to McCallum he earned it 
all. Roy Jones might have said it best when he said "Ray Leonard had a lot of 
glamour, but he didn't have the skills of Mike McCallum".
      

Mike McCallum

Career Record: 48 W, 3 L, 1 D, (36 K.O's)

   
                                        1981

Feb 19  Rigoberto Lopez         Las Vegas               KO 4
Mar 3   Rocky Fabrizio          Tampa, FL               KO 1
Mar 20  Ricky Sheppard          Tampa, FL               KO 5
Apr 2   Shelvy Wilkerson        Tampa, FL               KO 5
Apr 24  Danny Chapman           New York                KO 4
Apr 30  Charles Smith           Tampa, FL               KO 3
Jun 10  Freddy Creech           Tampa, FL               KO 3
Jul 19  Bruce "Mouse" Strauss   Youngstown, OH          KO 2
Aug 27  Tirso Roque             Tampa, FL               KO 3
Sep 8   Ed Harris               Tampa, FL               KO 1
Oct 8   Jimmy Heair             Tampa, FL               TKO 2

                                        1982

Jan 21  Greg Young              New York                TKO 5
Mar 26  Gilberto Almonte        Kingston, Jamaica       KO 1
Apr 30  Reggie Ford             New York                TKO 4
Jun 11  Kevin Perry             New York                W 10
Oct 22  Carlos Betancourt       New York                TKO 3
Nov 13  Ayub Kalule             Atlantic City           TKO 7

                                        1983

Apr 26  Tony Suero              Atlantic City           TKO 3
Aug 31  Jose Vallejo            Atlantic City           KO 5
Oct 25  Manuel Jimenez          Atlantic City           W 10

                                        1984

Mar 11  Hakim Razzak            Detroit                 KO 1
Oct 19  Sean Mannion            New York                W 15
        (Wins Vacant WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)
Dec 1   Luigi Minchillo         Milan, Italy            TKO 14
        (Retains WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)

                                        1985

Jun 15  Marcos Martinez         Las Vegas               TKO 2
Jul 28  David Braxton           Miami Beach             TKO 8
        (Retains WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)

                                        1986

May 2   Jimmy Shavers           Atlantic City           TKO 6
Aug 23  Julian Jackson          Miami Beach             TKO 2
        (Retains WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)
Sep 15  Irwin Hines             Paris                   TKO 3
Oct 25  Said Skouma             Paris                   KO 9
        (Retains WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)

                                        1987

Mar 21  Leroy Hester            Kingston, Jamaica       KO 1
Apr 19  Milton McCrory          Phoenix                 TKO 10
        (Retains WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)
Jul 18  Donald Curry            Las Vegas               KO 5
        (Retains WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)

                                        1988

Mar 5   Sumbu Kalambay          Pesaro, Italy           L 12
        (For WBA Middleweight Title)
Jun 27  David McCluskey         New York                TKO 2
Dec 22  Randy Smith             Vincennes, France       W 10

                                        1989

Jan 9   Ralph Moncrief          Nogent, France          TKO 5
May 10  Herol Graham            London                  W 12
        (Wins Vacant WBA Middleweight Title)

                                        1990

Feb 3   Steve Collins           Boston                  W 12
        (Retains WBA Middleweight Title)
Apr 14  Michael Watson          London                  KO 11
        (Retains WBA Middleweight Title)

                                        1991

Feb 19  Frank Minton            Kansas City             TKO 4
Apr 1   Sumbu Kalambay          Monte Carlo             W 12
        (Retains WBA Middleweight Title)
Aug 29  Carlos Cruz             Reno                    W 10
Oct 10  Nicky Walker            Las Vegas               TKO 6
Dec 13  James Toney             Atlantic City           D 12
        (For IBF and Lineal Middleweight Titles)

                                        1992

May 21  Fermin Chirinos         Las Vegas               W 10
Aug 29  James Toney             Reno                    L 12
        (For IBF Middleweight Title)

                                        1993

Mar 25  Ramzi Hassan            Amiens, France          W 10
Aug 14  Glenn Thomas            London                  W 10 

                                        1994

Mar 4   Randall Yonker          Las Vegas               TKO 5
Jul 23  Jeff Harding            Bismarck, ND            W 12
        (Wins WBC Light Heavyweight Title)

                                        1995

Feb 25  Carl Jones              London                  TKO 7
        (Retains WBC Light Heavyweight Title)
Jun 16  Fabrice Tiozzo          Lyon, France            L 12
        (Loses WBC Light Heavyweight Title)

                                        1996

Jun 22  Ali Saidi               Dortmund, Germany       W 10
Nov 22  Roy Jones, Jr.          Tampa, FL               L 12
        (For Vacant WBC Light Heavyweight Title)

                                        1997

Feb 22  James Toney             Montville, CT           L 12