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".
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