Home News Current Champs WAIL! Encyclopedia
The Cyber Boxing Zone Message Board
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 33

Thread: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

  1. #1
    MANAGING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    In an undisclosed bunker deep in the weird, wild, woods of the Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    11,450
    vCash
    500

    Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory
    By Lee Groves from Max Boxing

    It was the spring of 1984 and Emanuel Steward had a decision to make. Two of his best fighters were in line for a bout with WBA junior middleweight champion Roberto Duran and each had a legitimate reason to fight him. His verdict would forever change the course of each man’s career, and the situation he faced was a most unenviable one.
    On the one glove was Thomas Hearns, the WBC super welterweight champion who at age 25 was at the absolute peak of his physical powers. "The Hit Man" (38-1, 32 KO) had won his last six fights since his lone loss, a 14th round TKO to Sugar Ray Leonard for the undisputed welterweight title, and he was fresh off a decision victory over Luigi Minchillo on February 11. It was the second successful defense of the 154-pound belt he won from Wilfred Benitez in December 1982 and he was itching for another big-money encounter. His freakishly tall 6-2 frame and 78-inch wingspan generated frightening power, the kind of power that keeps turnstiles turning and massive amounts of money flowing into the till. A title unification showdown with Duran would be a surefire winner at the box office because the bout would Hearns’ iron fists against the fiery Duran’s iron chin. From both an economic and athletic standpoint, Hearns-Duran made sense.

    On the other glove was 27-year-old Mike McCallum, a 1976 Olympian from Jamaica who built a 21-0 (19 KO) record on body punching so savage that Hearns dubbed him "The Bodysnatcher" following a sparring session. Though his resume of opponents weren’t as star-studded as Hearns’ were, McCallum bowled over every foe set before him. His most notable victims were against 118-fight veteran Jimmy Heair (KO 2) and former WBA champ Ayub Kalule (KO 7). The Kalule bout vaulted McCallum into the world rankings and four additional victories over Tony Suero (KO 3), Jose Vallejo (KO 5), Manuel Jiminez (W 10) and Hasim Razzaq (KO 1) placed him as the mandatory challenger for Duran’s title. Duran had not fought since winning the belt from Davey Moore the previous June and if the Panamanian wanted to keep his belt he had to fight McCallum – and soon. McCallum was ready and willing as the Razzaq fight had taken place on March 10, so the timeline was perfectly situated for McCallum to engage in a summer title shot against an aging and inactive icon. A victory, especially by knockout, over a living legend would serve as the ideal launching pad for the next phase of McCallum’s career.

    Those were the circumstances set before Steward, and in the end he chose to pursue the financial sure thing in Hearns-Duran instead of the speculative but calculated gamble that Duran-McCallum would have been. An incensed McCallum immediately severed ties with Steward and signed with Duva Boxing. Because the WBA stripped Duran for fighting Hearns instead of fulfilling his mandatory defense, McCallum was matched with number-two contender Sean Mannion for the vacant title on October 19, 1984 at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s rematch with Mustafa Hamsho. McCallum thoroughly out-classed the Irish southpaw en route to a lopsided 15 round decision but his performance did nothing to increase his potential star power. Meanwhile, Hearns spectacularly stopped Duran in the second round with a right cross that still ranks among the hardest single punches ever thrown in the history of the sport. That performance heralded the return of "The Hit Man" and served as an immaculate prelude to a mega-match with Hagler for the undisputed middleweight championship.

    While Hearns continued on his gold-plated road toward potential immortality, McCallum continued to seethe about his lack of mainstream recognition as he knocked off challenger after challenger. McCallum topped Hearns by stopping Minchillo in the 13th round and he gained a small measure of revenge when he knocked out Kronk’s David Braxton in eight rounds eight months later. That victory wasn’t enough to completely salve the hard feelings against Steward because Braxton wasn’t seen as one of the Kronkmaster’s top-shelf stars. To get full satisfaction, he needed to blast out one of his big guns, and after defenses against Julian Jackson (KO 2) and Said Skouma (KO 9), McCallum got his chance when he signed to defend against Milton McCrory on April 19, 1987 at the Pointe Resort in Phoenix, Arizona.

    McCrory (31-1-1, 23 KO) was a former WBA welterweight champion in the midst of a mini-comeback after he was brutally stopped in two rounds by WBC counterpart Donald Curry on December 6, 1985. "The Ice Man" added weight to his 6-1 frame and won decisions from Keith Adams, Doug DeWitt and Jorge Amparo before stopping Rafael Corona in the first round six weeks before fighting McCallum. Likewise, McCallum (30-0, 27 KO) had tuned up for McCrory with his own first round KO over Leroy Hester in Kingston, Jamaica four weeks previously. The two fighters knew each other well as they had sparred several times at Kronk. However, both knew that there is a big difference between two teammates helping each other to get ready for fights and a fight between a champion hungry for recognition and revenge and a challenger eager to regain his lofty status in the sport’s hierarchy.

    Both fighters began the bout working their lefts from long range, but the straight-up McCrory was the first to build upon his jab by landing a long right and a solid hook to the jaw. At this point, McCrory began backing McCallum up and a second hook made him retreat even further. McCallum slipped under a right and drove a hook to the side, but it was McCrory who dictated the pace and seized the initiative more often. A chopping right to the ear made McCallum’s legs wiggle briefly and a right-left-right-left forced McCallum backward. The challenger took full advantage of McCallum’s tendency to start slowly, and while the champion managed to land singular body shots with both hands from time to time, McCrory couldn’t have imagined a better start to his title challenge as he returned to his corner after the first three minutes.

    McCallum’s co-trainer George Benton also realized this, and he sought to give his charge a strategic kick-start.

    "You’ve got to go forward with this guy," he said. "You’ve got to push him back with the jab. Jab at his chest, jab at his belly, jab at his head. Don’t back away from this man; put pressure on him and make him back up."

    McCallum, ever the good student, heeded Benton’s advice as he stood his ground and sought to go punch for punch with McCrory. A pair of hooks sent the challenger stumbling off-balance across the ring before he awkwardly reached out for McCallum’s shoulders. As McCallum advanced assertively behind hard jabs and hooks to the stomach, McCrory’s punches looped instead of snapped toward the target.

    Midway through the round McCrory tried to turn the tables by charging in behind windmilling blows, and though he won that exchange McCallum connected with two solid hooks that highlighted his superior infighting ability. A third hook landed moments later as McCrory flailed away with punches that had volume but little real power, but McCallum failed to consolidate his advantage by letting off the gas – a tactic for which he was heavily criticized against Mannion.

    McCrory returned to jabbing busily in the third, but many of those jabs either fell short or fell victim to McCallum’s excellent head movement. Conversely, McCallum’s jabs were more powerful, precise and diversified. The evidence for that assessment was seen when McCrory pulled away from a successful exchange with a bloody nose, a nose that Steward later said was broken a week-and-a-half earlier. Though McCallum connected with a stiff counter right and a solid hook to the ribs in the final 30 seconds, the slower pace and the flow of the fight appeared to favor McCrory.

    The bout may have lacked wildly dramatic ebbs and flows but it didn’t lack for action as the pair engaged in an intense, well executed boxing match. Both fighters were operating from specific but divergent blueprints as McCrory sought to pile up points behind his long left while McCallum worked his punches up and down in the hopes of preparing his challenger for a late-round stoppage.

    The fight took place within a tent with no air conditioning, and the combination of television lights and the body heat from the thousands of fans within sent the temperatures soaring toward 100 degrees. By the fourth round, McCrory and McCallum was bathed in perspiration as they continued to probe for openings.

    A long right-left from McCrory snapped McCallum’s head midway through the fourth, and he furthered his advantage with a right to the body, a left hook to the jaw and a stinging right-left-left-right to the head. The salvo sparked McCallum into action with a right-left to the ribs, but at this point McCrory’s hand speed and combination punching kept the champion on the retreat.

    McCallum might have been losing the round, but he never lost his composure or his patience. Despite having scored plenty of early round knockouts, McCallum’s style had always been predicated on long-term principles and he was willing to wait for the dividends to manifest themselves. When McCrory threw combinations, McCallum made sure to sink a body shot or two into whatever holes McCrory exposed. In the midst of McCrory’s best rally of the fight, McCallum knew his punching were inflicting damage and all the proof he needed could be seen on McCrory’s face. More blood flowed from the challenger’s nose, which caused him to paw at it with his gloves while breathing through a wide-open mouth. McCrory was never able to adopt a stone-faced expression when he was in a difficult situation. In fact, ABC blow-by-blow man Jim Lampley said that McCrory sometimes had the look of "a frightened deer" when under pressure and now he was the very picture of duress as he dealt with his various injuries. McCallum may have been behind on points, but he was comforted by the fact that he had 11 more rounds to extract his pound of flesh.

    Benton thought along those same lines between the fourth and fifth rounds as he instructed McCallum to slowly turn up the heat – and to do so while under control.

    "Let me see you throw that straight right hard to the body," he said. "The body shots are killing him. Punch with authority; don’t let your punches get sloppy and don’t let yourself get sloppy. Get yourself together."

    Benton’s words didn’t take immediate effect as McCallum’s first punch was a winging hook to the body that missed badly while McCrory continued to move in both directions and throw tightly delivered blows with specific intent. At one point McCrory landed a long right to the face, then pivoted neatly to his right as McCallum dove in after him. The move made McCallum lightly bang his gloves together in frustration. McCallum ripped a hook to the body that brought a warning from Cortez, but in the next motion he blasted a hard jab off McCrory’s broken nose. McCallum then ducked under a right and delivered a short counter right to the face that made McCrory briefly stumble. McCrory’s nose leaked even more blood and the crimson began to smear all over his face as a hook forced him to backpedal.

    The fight – which had been McCrory’s up to this point – began to take a noticeable turn toward the champion, and confirmation came with 24 seconds remaining when he landed a good straight right, a right uppercut and a crunching hook during an exchange that saw McCrory miss wildly. A long straight right clanged off McCrory’s face and McCallum capped off a solid final minute by winning an exchange of hooks.

    McCallum continued to roll in the sixth as a heavy counter hook to the jaw brought oohs from the crowd and two more lefts connected to the head and body. McCallum ripped a jab to the body and two more to the head of the retreating McCrory. It was now McCallum who began and ended the exchanges, using his educated left to slowly dissect his quarry. McCallum smartly blended in occasional rights and right-lefts to the belly throughout the session and the champion capped off his best round yet when, with 10 seconds remaining, he landed two rights and a left to the body followed by a torrid hook as the bell sounded.

    When McCrory dominated early, McCallum offered plenty of softer, inaccurate and such was the case now that the roles had been reversed. McCrory fired at McCallum at every opportunity, but he didn’t have the firepower to keep the champion at a safe distance. A thumping right-left late in the seventh reverberated throughout the arena and a second right-left to the ribs coupled by a right-left uppercut to the jaw closed out another solid round for the champion.

    McCrory tried to stem the tide early in the eighth with a stiff right to the face, but his follow-ups couldn’t deter McCallum’s inexorable advance. A right to the body followed by an overhand right to the jaw and a winging hook staggered McCrory and yet another overhand right nailed the challenger as he slid along the ropes. McCrory was in deep trouble for the first time in the contest and McCallum commenced what he hoped was a final definitive assault. His shoulders snapped violently as he unleashed a left uppercut to the head and a follow-up right-left-right. Three consecutive left uppercuts lifted McCrory’s head, teeing it up for a tremendous overhand right-left hook combo.

    McCrory bravely attempted to fight back because that was his only viable option. The champion’s thudding body shots had robbed his legs of their spring, and all McCrory had left at his command were survival instincts fueled by a fierce fighting heart. One couldn’t help but admire McCrory’s courage as he continually drove himself forward in the face of McCallum’s strafing attack. A right to the ear, a left uppercut to the jaw and a right-left to the face caused a stricken McCrory to stumble forward into McCallum as the round ended. The eighth was a rousing session that moved ringside analyst Alex Wallau to call it "one of the great rounds we’ve seen this year."

    Between rounds referee Joe Cortez summoned the ringside physician to examine McCrory, who not only had a broken nose but now also had a nick above the left eye and a partially closed right eye. Cut man Ralph Citro applied Avitene, a medication used in open heart surgery, to close the cut but it only provided a few seconds of relief as McCallum knocked it off with his first landed punch of the ninth round. The blood above the left eye flowed heavily and it forced McCrory to squint and bat at it with his glove. It was difficult enough for someone to fend off a skilled fighter like McCallum when completely healthy, but to do so when so badly injured was an untenable situation. Still, McCrory soldiered on as McCallum peppered away with short punches, and a piece of tape hanging from the challenger’s glove prompted a time out.

    Steward sagely wiped away the blood with a towel before working on the glove, causing Lou Duva, a man who has pulled off similar stunts to save his fighters over the years, to howl in protest. That sleight of hand aside, the fight started to take on an air of inevitability as McCallum stalked his man with assuredness and confidence, all the while driving lefts and rights to the pit of the stomach to further weaken his challenger. There was no quit in McCrory as he continued to trade shot for shot despite having every reason to feel discouraged and put upon, and only the bell interrupted his seemingly quixotic quest to reverse his fortunes.

    The moment McCrory plopped on his stool, Citro administered to the challenger’s injuries while Steward tended to the spiritual ones.

    "You’re ahead on points, you just got to move your legs," Steward implored. Then he drew upon past experience to amplify his point.

    "(Like the fight with) Roger Stafford, move in and out with your legs," he said, referring to a fight when McCrory boxed his way to a decision victory after breaking his hand in the eighth round. "That’s what we’re talking about – leg boxing – not just standing in one spot."

    "I’m trying," McCrory said. "I’m trying my best."

    Indeed he was, but it wouldn’t be enough. McCrory’s spirit was willing but his flesh was weak as he started the 10th poking out a series of weak jabs. A jab to the body was enough to send McCrory to the ropes but the champion was taking his time as he allowed McCrory to escape and slowly circle away. A thumping right-left to the body was followed by a head-snapping jab that made McCrory totter back. A hook to the body moments later made the sound of a hammer on a hollow melon and it was evident that McCallum was biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to launch his final assault.

    With 1:20 to go, it began. An overhand right drove McCrory to the ropes, triggering a vicious assault that ended with McCrory crumbling to the canvas. Though McCrory regained his feet immediately, it only took Cortez one look at the challenger’s badly battered face to convince him to stop the contest at 2:20 of round 10.

    As Cortez cradled McCrory’s head, an exultant McCallum tended to a final piece of personal business. ABC’s cameras didn’t capture the event, but the announce team offered a vivid description.

    "When the referee stopped the fight, Mike McCallum ran right over to Emanuel Steward and told him he had his revenge," Wallau said, referring to a shouted exclamation from the champion caught by the ringside microphone a few seconds earlier.

    "(He) got right up in Steward’s face," Lampley added. "It was a remarkable scene as McCallum wins a victory that he very, very badly wanted."

    "The first couple of rounds, I wasn’t getting off at all," McCallum told Wallau. "He was pasting me with that jab real good and throwing right hands that hit me a couple of times. But I was real cold; I couldn’t get off. In the middle part I started getting myself together. Lou and George were telling me to stay right there, don’t move, come back up, go to the body. Every time I hit him to the body he’d slow down or he’d flinch. It was beautiful."

    A few minutes after the initial confrontation, McCallum and Steward spoke again, this time more amiably, but his post-fight comments indicated the bitter feelings had no subsided in the least.

    When asked what he said to Steward immediately after the fight, he replied, "I said I am the champion of the world. Still the champ. I know he don’t like that because it’s very personal. He don’t like losers and my revenge to Emanuel Steward is just keep winning. It’s two defeats against the Kronk stable (Braxton and McCrory) and I’m still going strong."

    McCallum stressed that he held no animosity for McCrory or with any of the fighters at Kronk, only against Steward. And when Wallau was asked about fighting Hearns to complete the triple play, McCallum was more than happy with that scenario. But before that fight could take place there was one significant roadblock to navigate: Donald Curry.

    Epilogue: Three months after beating McCrory, McCallum pulverized the Curry roadblock with an electrifying hook to the jaw that left the former undisputed welterweight champion on his back for the 10 count. The victory dramatically lifted McCallum’s profile in world boxing, but it was never compelling enough to draw Hearns into the ring. Soon after he defeated Curry, he vacated the WBA junior middleweight title to fight Sumbu Kalambay for the vacant WBA middleweight strap in March 1988. McCallum lost a close but unanimous decision but four fights later he secured a second crack at the WBA belt after Kalambay was stripped of it for fighting IBF king Michael Nunn. This time McCallum won by split decision over the much-avoided Herol Graham in May 1989.

    McCallum defended the belt three times against Steve Collins (W 12), Michael Watson (KO 11) and Kalambay (W 12) while sprinkling non-title victories over Frank Minton (KO 4), Carlos Cruzat (W 10) and Nicky Walker (KO 5) to set up a supposed unification fight with IBF king James Toney. But McCallum was stripped of the WBA belt for accepting the bout with Toney and the 12-round draw left him title-less.

    McCallum found new life in the light heavyweight division, and after three wins over Ramzi Hassan (W 10), Glenn Thomas (W 10) and Randall Yonker (KO 5), McCallum captured his third divisional title by beating WBC champion Jeff Harding (W 12) on July 23, 1994. He made one defense against Carl Jones (KO 7) before losing the belt in an upset to Fabrice Tiozzo (L 12). McCallum never again fought for a major world title and his 10-round win over Ali Saidi would be his last. After losing to Roy Jones in November 1996, the 40-year-old McCallum engaged in his final contest, a 12-round decision loss to Toney on February 22, 1997 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. His final record stands at 49-5-1 (36 KO) and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.

    For McCrory, the McCallum fight represented his last opportunity to capture a world title. Six months after the loss, "The Ice Man" beat Herman Cavesuela to win the NABF middleweight title, a belt he never defended. After stopping Jerome Kelley in two rounds one month after beating Cavesuela, McCrory lost back-to-back fights to Lupe Aquino (L 12) and Joaquin Velazquez (KO by 7) that prompted a nearly two-year retirement. The 28-year-old McCrory launched a two-fight comeback that saw him beat Mike Sacchetti (W 10) and Robert Curry (KO 1). The Curry fight, which took place on April 6, 1991 at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium, took place on the undercard of Hearns’ three-round TKO of Ken Atkin and proved to be McCrory’s final bout. He retired with a record of 35-4-1 (25 KO).

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    GReat article ... McCallum is an often overlooked fighter from that era ..I feel at his prime at 154 he would have defeated the 32 year old Duran for sure and been an exceptionally tough fight for either Leonard or Hearns ... those bouts could have gone either way ...

    McCrory actually put up a good fight against McCallum , better thn many thought he would after being crushed by Curry ...

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    665
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    I actually consider this consider this was one of McCallums worst wins.

    He looked very sluggish and weight-drained, perhaps the worst he looked prior to the last half of the Steve Collins bout, where his stamina seemed to evaporate.

    Mike is lucky it was McCrory and not Hearns he was in there with.

    Surprisingly in his next bout against Curry he looked comfortable and sharp again.

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    To Mooch's point

    one reason I thought Curry would beat McCallum (other than I was convinced the Honeyghan bout was a fluke) was the McCrory fight. Helluva Bout, but I thought even though he was the loser, it was a better story for Milt than Mike.

    And While I agree with Mooch that McCallum did agian look comfortable at 154 agianst Curry, I thought Curry's performance in the first 3 rounds made him appear less then sharp. In fact, I am still amazed he didn't go down in the second when DOnald laid a beaut of a right hand on him.

    That Hook that took DOnald out, wasn't necessarily out of nowhere, it simply was perfectly executed and Curry backed out of a punch rather.....imperfectly.

    While Donald's eye was swelling up, I had no reason UNTIL it ended, to think that Curry was not going to win his second championship.

    The END result against Curry, looks fabulous on Mike's resume. Until the bout ended spectacularly, I wouldn't necessarily call it a career highlight film for the Body Snatcher though.

    Hawk

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    665
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    I completely agree with your take on the Curry fight Hawk.Curry was clearly in front and landing well.

    For me, the distinction between the two bouts from a McCallum perspective is that any bad moves on his part looked to be 90 percent due to what Curry was bringing to the table.

    McCrory seemed to be his equivalent of Buchanan vs Watt, or Holmes vs Weaver.Grinding out the win against a solid fighter when it just isn't quite your night for whatever reason.

  6. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    Absolutely Mooch

    I was trying to convey just that, albeit ineffectively.

    And in rereading my post, it sounds like I'm not giving McCallum ANY credit. Hey, let me pile in by stating that J Jax was pretty raw when he faced him!

    I think McCallum was indeed a great fighter, specifically at 154. Maybe not as great as some have built him up to be over the years. And I have never agreed with the whole "the Fab 4 ducked him" and have detailed the holes in that position.

    But McCallum was a Marvelous talent, who at 154, did win the fights he was supposed to have and in all honesty, even with my criticisms of him, there aren't but 2 or 3 fighters at THEIR best at 154, who I would have taken agianst him (Hearns, Griffith are the two that jump out at me without doing more detailed research.)

    Hawk

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    The McCallum/Curry fight was very competitive until Mike tore his head off ... Curry landed a few big shots which McCallum took extremely well ...

    Th McCrory fight was perhaps Milton's best performance ... he was highly motivated in a grudge match, wanted to redeem himself from the Curry blowout and fought the type of fight many felt he was going to give Curry ... McCallum wore him down and stopped him ...

    I have read your thoughts on the fab four and McCallum and disagree ... all four wanted no part of McCallum because he was too much risk for too little gain ... I personally feel he beats Leonard at 154 over 15, easily beat a 32 year old Duran, could have gone either way with a prime 154 Hearns but would have lost to Hagler ...
    Last edited by HE Grant; 06-01-2008 at 04:13 AM.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Louth, Ireland
    Posts
    5,150
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Man, I would have loved to see Hearns-McCallum at 154lbs. I'd have to bet on Mike, as Mike had the punch and the chin; Tommy, as much as I admire him, was always living dangerously due to his shaky chin. I see a late KO win for Mike McCallum over 15. Over 12, Tommy has a much better chance and could pull out the win. Duran would cause Mike problems, due to his defense and ring guile. He wouldn't hurt Mike however.

    As for Leonard and Mike over 15 at 154lbs, Im with HE on that one.
    He was the more natural 154lb man with the extra strength needed.

    Oh and I think that article strengthens the claim that some of the real stars of the 147-160lb divisions were indeed ducking Mike
    Last edited by walshb; 06-01-2008 at 04:20 AM.

  9. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    Whether or not

    Mike could or could not have beaten any of the Fab 4 has never been the issue, it's whether they DUCKED him or not has been my point.

    I think Mike was a victim of timing, not ducking.

    Duran opting to face Hearns over a relatively unknown McCallum, is Not a safe route IMO.

    As to who wins, well if it was the Duran who faced Hearns (as it would have been), I probably lean towards McCallum. Problem is, this wasn't a PRIME McCallum either. Mike CERTAINLY did not impress anyone agianst Sean Mannion.

    Best of Duran at 154, From Davey Moore, agianst Best of McCallum, From the Curry fight, I think is an EXCELLENT matchup. I'd probably take McCallum, but it's not a layup for him.

    Hearns going after Hagler after beating Duran, certainly isn't ducking McCallum.

    I do beleive there was a time when the match DID make sense, whihc was after Hearns beat Roldan (after coming down from 175) and McCallum was riding the wave of his win over Curry (McCallum was indeed pretty badly rocked by that Curry right). The unfortunate thing, was that BOTH fighters squandered that opportunity of the match happening when BOTH Hearns and McCallum lost to Barkely and Kalambay respectively in the first half of 88. It COULD have taken place, but let's understand Tommy was still desperately trying to get either Leonard or Hagler for a rematch then too.

    Leonard and Hagler never were truly on the radar of when a bout with McCallum would have ever made sense. So I say neither can be accused of ducking McCallum.

    I would have taken Hearns at 154 over McCallum, both at their best. No issues with taking McCallum over Hearns at 160, as Tommy was pretty inconsistant at that weight, but McCallum wasn't as good at 160 as he was at 154 either.

    If in a fantasy matchup, I could pit the Leonard from the Kalule bout agianst McCallum of the Curry fight, I might be inclined to go with Ray.

    And best of Hagler agianst best of McCallum, I take Marvin. Marvin Post Leonard fight agianst McCallum at 160 whihc would have to be late 87 or early 88', I probably still go with Marvin as McCallum really did not impress agianst Kalambay. But I'd be concerened with Hagler putting forth his best effort against ANYONE OTHER THAN Leonard, after their fight.

    Hawk

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Like I wrote earlier, too much risk for too little reward ...

    Any of the guys (fab four) pretty much could fight anyone they wanted to and no one felt compelled to fight Mike ... the bottom line is none of them fought him and all could have but chose not to ..Mike would have jumped at the chance to fight any of them at any time but never had the chance.... how it would have played out if matches were made is unfortunately pure speculation ...

  11. #11
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    I agree with you Evan

    But I think for the most part it was MORE the reward issue, than the Risk issue.

    I honestly don't think AT THE TIME when McCallum was #1 contender and Duran was WBA Jr. Middle champ, that he would have envisioned much RISK. As there was CERTAINLY no reward involved as McCallum was still pretty unknown, save for beating a pretty worn down Kalule who had aready been beaten by Leonard and Moore.

    Duran opted for RISK AND REWARD when he took on Hearns instead.

    WHEN Duran took on Hearns, was ANYONE here saying to themselves: "Hey Good thing Duran went after Hearns as opposed to McCallum."? ANd following the Mannion fight, did ANYONE think McCallum would turn into a Great fighter?

    Fast forward slightly to Hearns and where he was going following the Duran win. Same question: Was ANYONE saying Hearns was avoiding McCallum, becuase he went after Hagler?

    No following the Curry win, when McCallum's name was a big as it could get, IF Tommy wasn't coming down from 175 after winning his third title and going after his 4th, when he faced Roldan at Middle, I think the bout with Mike would be more natural.

    And INDEED following Hearns win over Juan Roldan, a fight with McCallum would INDEED have been sweet. That window was the best opp for McCallum. But losing to Kalambay in Mar of 88' kinda spoiled that and then Hearns losing to Barkley KILLED it.

    As far as Leonard and Hagler go, I still don't see when they would have been in even RUMORS about facing McCallum. After Leonard Hagler? Who here honestly was thinking Ray and McCallum would be a matchup they wanted to see following Ray's win over Marvin? If anything, everyone wanted to see a rematch. And Beyond that, a rematch with Hearns who had Beaten Andries for a Light Heavy belt, one month prior to Leonard Hagler. And even THAT was a distant second.

    In 1985 it was Hagler Hearns. In 1986 it was Hagler Mugabi. In 1987 it was Leonard Hagler. I don't see when Hagler McCallum would have been logical or even probable.

    I simply don't see blatant ducking.

    I see an unlucky fighter in Mike McCallum.

    Hawk

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    I disagree. Boxing fan's knew Ray carefully came back against an old Hagler and that he did not beat a prime Hagler ... a match against McCallum would have been a huge fight for boxing fans but Ray wanted no part of it, again why take the risk?

    Hearn's easily could have fought McCallum any time before or after Hagler but instead fought bigger but far less dangerous fighters like Hill or Anders ... Tommy was not dumb. He knew McCallum's iron chin, tricky defense and killer body punching would make a very tough match up ...

    Duran , please. Beating a seven fight pro does not a dominate jr. middleweight make...after getting destroyed by Hearns , Duran wanted zero part of McCallum at 154 or 160 . He could have had that fight any time he wanted but again why would he ? Too much risk for no real demand.

    I think Hagler was simply too much for Mike but that Mike would have been a competitive fight.

  13. #13
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    I am trying to look at this

    from AT THE TIME.

    Agian, Duran McCallum or Duran Hearns? Who was calling for Duran McCallum?

    And agian, AT THE TIME, who was McCallum?

    Hearns to have fought McCallum prior to Hagler?

    He beat Duran and then made a defense with the Pumper while negotiating a fight with Hagler. McCallum fought Mannion in Oct of 84. A month after Hearns faced Hutchings. So following that 3rd round ko of the Pumper, McCallum still was a no-name and not even a champ yet.

    McCallum not being on Hearns radar after the Hagler bout, had little to do with McCallum and EVERYTHING to do with Hagler. Why following a dissapointing performance agiasnt Doug Dewitt did Hearns opt to move up to 175 and go for Andries's title?

    Well, moving back down to 154 wasn't advisable as the poor showing agianst Mark Medal proved getting down to that weight wasn't working. And he only took THAT fight following the Shuler blowout becuase he couldn't get Marvin to make a decision on a rematch with him or a fight with Leonard.

    So going up to 175 meant something as winning a third title actually held some weight back when winning 3 titles in 3 divisions still meant something. Besides, coming back down to 160 to face either Marvin or Ray was his goal all along. The Andries bout took place a Month Before Leonard Hagler. And two months before McCallum had even beaten McCrory.

    Yes, in HINDSIGHT, squaring off with McCallum at around that point seems like a bigger challenge. But going into the Hearns Andries bout, McCallum STILL wasn't the McCallum he eventually became and that was after he beat McCrory and Curry in 1987. And the McCrory fight didn't take place until AFTER Leonard Hagler. ANd Curry 3mos later still.

    I still maintain, FOLLOWING Leonard and Hagler, the only bout that was being called for from either of those two was Leonard Hagler II.

    Hawk

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    3,283
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    I'm a big McCallum fan, but I definitely like Leonard and Hearns over him at 154. McCallum may well have been avoided, but to me, he doesn't beat these two if he gets them in the ring.

    They are real "men," not "Mannions." And the Curry who lost to Mike was never close to the same Curry from Honeyghan on out, whatever his weight.

    I'd argue that the Curry of 1985 beats McCallum on a decision, even if he were 147 and Mike 154.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    311
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Aboslutely agree with Hawk on the avoision thing - 'I say avoision'. The alleged ducking of McCallum (and indeed of Pryor) by some or all of the Fab 4 is very much a retrospective perspective to my mind.

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    I completely disagree. Again, I never said there was a huge public demand and they avoided him. I say that there were many opportunities to make such a match up and without an overwhelming demand all of he above chose not to simply beat the best out there and were able to avoid such a match up ... this applies to Hearns and Duran who were active more than Leonard who basically cherry picked his opponents from 1982 on ... After Hearns was flattened by Hagler in 1985, McCallum was already getting huge respect from the boxing community by destroying Kronk fighter Brazton on national TV with any exceptional performance of body punching ... Manny Steward knew there was no way he was putting the dangerous but fragile Hearns in the ring at that point with that guy ... instead he fights an untested Shuler, an average Medal and a tough but limited DeWitt ...Then he forces himself up to light heavy to fight limited paper champs... As far as Duran goes, after Hearns flattened him he was considered shot, losing to guys like Robbie Sims ... he would never get in the ring with McCallum because no one would pay him enough to make such a match ... again, too much risk for the reward ...

    As far as saving who one thinks would have won we'l never know will we ?
    Last edited by HE Grant; 06-02-2008 at 01:40 AM.

  17. #17
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    Duran from the Sims timeframe

    Vs. McCallum?

    Well if you want to go there, then YES, I agree that THAT Duran avoided McCallum.

    McCallum looked Good in beating David Braxton.....and a bout with Hearns would have been Nice......IF Hearns were'nt busy with HAGLER in 1985.

    When I do these timelines, I'm trying to take into account everything that was going on during the potential times matchups could have taken place. After the Hagler fight, understand Hearns was shelved for several months becuase he broke his had as well.

    I disagree. I don't think there were several opps for Hearns and McCallum to have conceivably taken place. There were a couple of opportunities.

    One, following the Curry fight and when Hearns beat Roldan.

    Two, if they could have met at 160, following Hearns bout with Doug Dewitt (although it meant Hearns not going for his 3rd championship)

    and Three when Hearns dropped down to 154 to face Medal, after the Shuler KO. Only problem with that one, was McCallum had a mandatory agaisnt Julian Jackson.

    Of the three, the only CLEAR one was the first scenario. But AGAIN, Hearns was NOT ducking McCallum, rather he was STILL trying to get Ray or Marvin in the ring with him.

    And then Mike would lose to Kalambay and then three mos later Hearns to Barkely.

    Then it was over. Opportunity lost.

    Hawk

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    311
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Was anyone suggesting Hearns was avoiding McCallum at the time? I dont remember that they were. It's really not clear to me why anyone would have expected Tommy to fight Mike after the Hagler fight. McCallum was some way away from establishing himself as THE man at 154, however respected he was by the boxing community after Braxton. And anyway Tommy was looking at the 160 picture. His move to 175 was about winning a title at another weight. You're not suggesting that Tommy fought Andries to avoid McCallum? Maybe Steward wanted no part of McCallum for Tommy - perhaps you have the inside track on this - but he hardly had to duck and dive to avoid that fight. The two were mixing in different circles at that point. Now we can say that its a shame they didnt meet because we know how good Mike was at 154, but I just dont buy the Tommy avoided Mike thing.

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    I'm saying Andres and Hill were both much easier fights than a fight against McCallum and that Hearns was looking to fatten up a record instead of fight the best fighters .. McCallum could have fought him at 160 if Hearns had any interest in fighting him ... there was none , again because it was too much risk for too little reward ... my point here is that I don't buy the fights could not have been made or that McCallum was not worthy ... I happen to believe that Steward believed that Mike would do a number on Tommy and never wanted such a fight ..let's face it, as exciting, dramatic, dangerous and game as Tommy was his chin and stamina were always in question .. McCallum was simply easy to avoid , no different than many great fighters in history ...luckly he did have his own title run and did not fall through the cracks all together like a Charley Burley ...

  20. #20
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    Tommy was looking for 3rd belt

    A challenge at 175, a weight class he never fought at, 15 pounds higher than he ever entered into a ring before and 28 pounds above his best fighting weight, was NOT a soft or easy route.

    He COULD have fought McCallum at 160? With no title on the line? What was the motivation for McCallum to move up to 160 to face Hearns, when Hearns had no title? Did we ever hear McCallum making such a suggestion at this time? If so, please point me to a source.

    ANd AGAIN, McCallum had YET to beat Curry OR Even McCrory yet.

    What was THOUGHT of McCallum at THAT Time, by all of us who followed the sport Evan, and I know You as well, was NOT what we thought of McCallum AFTER he had beaten McCrory and Curry.

    It just wasn't so.

    Hawk

  21. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Manny sure knew.

  22. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    311
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Can I just clarify HE that this is your belief rather than it being based on something Manny said in print or anywhere else? I dont recall anyone suggesting Tommy was ducking Mike at the time, nor do I remember Manny ever saying he kept Tommy away from Mike at the time or in retrospect, but I wondered whether you did hear this.

    Also, while people came to respect that Mike was a very fine fighter after the McCrory and Curry fights, I seem to remember that with the Curry win a large part of the reaction was, 'oh, Donald really is finished as a major force after all' rather than 'wow, McCallum really is the goods'. I also seem to remember in the post-Leonard-Hagler mix up, that no-one saw Mike as THE stand out to be the no.1 middleweight: he was just one more name in the mix and so it proved.

  23. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    3,283
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Mike was thought to be the goods as far back as 1983/84, if not earlier. Beating Curry and McCrory, to many of us, didn't elevate him as much as reduce them as being finished goods as you've noted; McCallum was considered Grade A by the magazines and everyone else well before beating them.

    How ducked he was by others, factually, is more of a question than his reputation, which was solid. McCallum was also a stalwart amateur.

  24. #24
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    The magazines

    Also had annual polls taken as to who was the best in the game.

    McCallum never made it into the top 10 until 1991.

    Granted there is nothing scientific about this KO poll and there actually was a Year hiatus for the poll in 1986. Yet nothing suggests he would have finished in the top 10 in 1986.

    As a matter of fact, KO magazine's Dynamite Dozen had McCallum listed at Number 12 to close out 1986.

    Now KO did have the Poll taken in early 1987, but it was prior to McCallum having beaten either McCrory or Curry.

    By the time the Poll was taken agian in 1988, He had just lost to Kalambay.

    More bad timing for the Body Snatcher.

    No one thought McCallum was "the Goods" in 83 or for a Majority of 84 and CERTAINLY not earlier than 83'. Heck, he didn't beat Mannion (and was unimpressive in doing so), until Oct of 84. He beat MinChillo in Dec of 84, and while that was an excellent win for him, is it being suggested that in 1985, following McCallum most impressive showing to date, that Mike was being ducked?

    What happened in 1985 that tied up BOTH Hagler and Hearns? Who was retired in 1985? Duran and Leonard Maybe? ANd McCallum helped his cause in 1985 by doing what? Defending his title once and having one Non-title bout?

    I could go over 1986, 87 and 88 agian........But I'm tired of hearing the same history lesson agian.

    Hawk

  25. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    3,283
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    McCallum was said and written about to be a top Jr. Middle in 1983/84 or earlier, well before Mannion. I wasn't referring to him being called one of the top PFP fighters in the sport. That bar is introduced here unnecessarily. "Annual polls taken as to who was the best in the game (PFP)" were not ever part of this thread.

    One is "the goods" IMO if they are a top fighter in their division; they don't have to be Sugar Ray Robinson.

  26. #26
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    Ok fair enough

    Let's go to the Jr. Middleweight division in 82 and 83.

    In Nov of 1982, McCallum at 15-0 beats a Fading Ayub Kalule, who in HIS previous fight, was Ko'd by Davey Moore.

    That win By McCallum get's him a pretty good ranking in the 154 pound division.

    Ok, so now we are into 1983. Let's Clarify the Ducking by Hagler, Hearns, Duran and Leonard.

    1983 Hearns. He Broke his right hand in the Benitez bout in Dec of 82 and was shelved for nearly all of 1983, with the exception of a 10 round non-title fight with Murray Sutherland, in whihc Hearns AGIAN, broke his wrist.

    Does this constitue ducking? Being Injured nearly the entire year?

    Leonard was retired in 1983.

    Did he stay retired because of Mike McCallum?

    Duran, in Jan. Beats Pipino Cuevas in a bout that gets him a shot at Davey Moore and his WBA Jr. Middle weight title. He beats Moore June and squares off with Hagler in Nov.

    Does THIS constitute ducking?

    Marvin Hagler defended his middleweight crown agiasnt two mandatories, and highly positioned middles in Scypion and Sibson and then the Super Fight with Duran in Nov.

    Hagler was ducking McCallum?

    So MCallum doesn't even make a name for himself against a fading ex champ until NOVEMBER of 1982, and that would what, qualify as a year that he was being ducked?

    I'm trying to understand how he was avoided in 1983.

    I've gone over 1984, 1985, 86, 87 & 88.

    Can I get someone to explain by WHO and WHEN he was being ducked in 83?

    Not a generalization. Something Specific.

    Hawk

  27. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    3,283
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    Good, all-encompassing post there. I only was opining that Mike was top-ranked/highly regarded in the early 80s. As to him being ducked, I for one am not arguing that issue pro or con.

    My earlier post #14 yields my opinion on an outcome involving Mike and either Ray, Tommy, or a pre-1986 Curry: Mike loses. (I still think he's a very good fighter, however!) Whether he was ducked as was often said in accusation back then, I didn't see where it actually happened, myself.

  28. #28
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory


  29. #29
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    I'm the one in the middle.
    Posts
    9,487
    vCash
    500

    Emanuel

    Has also been quoted saying that Thomas Hearns was the best and most talented fighter he ever worked with.

    Now the compliment of saying McCallum was the most complete fighter Steward ever says he worked with, doesn't mean, best or most talented nor does it determine who he thinks would win a head to head matchup.

    Marlon Starling, for instance, may have been a More COMPLETE fighter than Thomas Hearns as he possessed a better beard and a tighter defense. Mooch didn't really have a glaring physical weakness although, given he could be a bit of a headcase, that probably was his achilles heel.

    No Starling was not faster than Hearns, but he wasn't slow. No he didn;t hit harder than Hearns, but he had very good power. His Defense, was better than Tommy's, but it wasn;t the best defense ever. He had a very good chin, but I wouldn't want Graham Houston putting it in his top 10 list (Sorry Surf!). Marlon had excellent skills, but others during the same era had better skills.

    Marlon probably doesn't score a 10 on any one attribute, but other than an intangible trait like mental make up, Marlon doesn't score below an 8 in anyone area.

    Tommy might rate a 6 or 7 out of 10 in a couple of areas. But his 10's in area's like Power (specifically at his optimum weight of 147) and hand speed offset those lower scores in making Hearns a superior, GREATER fighter.

    But he isn't AS complete.

    I think Manny's designation there re McCallum being the most COMPLETE fighter he worked with, is a bit misleading until you hear his thoughts on who he felt the BEST fighter he ever worked with was.

    Hawk

  30. #30
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,407
    vCash
    500

    Re: Closet Classic - Mike McCallum vs. Milton McCrory

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Mike McCallum vs Dick Tiger.
    By KOJOE90 in forum Fantasy Fights
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 08-29-2008, 10:42 PM
  2. Iron Clad: Mike Tyson’s Place in History Part I
    By GorDoom in forum Old-Timers
    Replies: 122
    Last Post: 08-05-2008, 01:57 PM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-26-2006, 06:39 AM
  4. Iron Clad: Mike Tyson's Place In History Pt. II
    By GorDoom in forum Old-Timers
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 08-18-2006, 06:12 PM
  5. Painful Times After Fistic Glory - Mike Quarry
    By GorDoom in forum Old-Timers
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-11-2006, 07:01 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
News Current Champs WAIL! Encyclopedia Links Home