McCall talks best boxing moments

February 17, 2017
Young local welterweight boxer Toriano Nicholas (left) gets some pointers from former world heavyweight champion Oliver 'Atomic Bull' McCall.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Oliver 'The Atomic Bull' McCall, who visited Jamaica for five days recently, had a lot of stories to tell. One of the most interesting, was that in February 1997, when he fought Lennox Lewis for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) title, he earned US $3 million. He lost that fight, and in November that same year, he earned only US$3,000 for his next fight against Brian Yates.

"That must be the biggest money difference between fights in boxing history. That is life. Sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down," he told STAR Sports.

There were some great positives in a professional career that lasted from November 2, 1985 to April 26, 2014.

During his career, McCall was never knocked down or knocked out, and that, for him, was a tremendous feat of which he is proud.

"The heavyweight division is a tough one, and I went into the ring with some of the best in the world. I fought and beat the likes of Lennox Lewis and Larry Holmes, and came away from those fights unscathed," he said.

 

Ring-smarts

 

"I had ring-smarts, I knew how to slip punches, I knew how to roll with punches. I was a master in defence and that is why no one put me down in 71 fights."

He ended up with a 57-14 win loss record and scored 37 knockouts on the way. The only fight in which he was on the wrong end of a stoppage was when he had the infamous meltdown and stopped fighting after the third round of the February 7, 1997 title fight against Lewis.

He said that he went into that fight in poor mental shape because of a battery of personal problems. After three uneventful rounds, he had the meltdown. He walked around the ring doing nothing throughout the fourth round, continued this into the fifth; and when he broke down and started to cry, referee Mills Lane stepped in and called a halt after 55 seconds, and ruled it a technical knockout.

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