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Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

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  • Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

    The story of Oliver McCall is a story that needs to be told. His is a unique story and an example of a fighter that started his career back in the mid 80's and was a part of the heavyweight scene of the 90's and yet is still active and fighting. Aged 53 today, McCall is a true specimen and a wonder. In his heyday, he was a dangerous opponent for anyone, which Lennox Lewis got to experience firsthand, losing to him in a shocking upset knockout in 1994. McCall was the first man to prove Lewis was not unbeatable and to expose his slow reflexes and leaky defense. He also holds noted victories over Oleg Maskaev (by KO1), Henry Akinwande (by KO10) and Bruce Seldon (by TKO9). That they are all by knockout says something about his abilities. However, McCall had his chink in the armor like everyone else. First of all, he was accused of being too lazy on the offense sometimes and second, he developed emotional and psychological problems due to his addiction to Cocaine. Luckily for him, he had one of the best chins in the sport ever and avoided getting knocked out. He also holds a unique distinction in being one of the very few boxers to never get knocked down, in the amateurs or pros.

    His story starts in Chicago, where he was born 21 April 1965 and raised. As amateur, he was the Catholic Youth Organization champion, a Chicago Park District champion and a two-time Chicago Golden Gloves champion. He was also the sparring partner of Mike Tyson and famously dropped him once. The 6'2 McCall was a standard-sized heavyweight back then and turned pro in November 1985 and beat Lou Bailey by TKO2. He lost his second fight to Joey Christjohn by UD4. His early career was not that successful and he fought mainly low-level opponents. The first better opponent, Mike Hunter, decisioned him in 6 rounds in January '88. In July '89 he lost to future world champion James Buster Douglas by UD10. After dropping a split decision to the clever Orlin Norris in November '90, on 18 April next year he scored his first pivotal victory over Bruce Seldon, then undefeated at 18-0 and a very good puncher. Seldon was better early on, even though McCall had his moments and the fight was highly competitive. But Seldon was ahead going into round 9, when McCall nailed him with a big right and put him down. Seldon got up but was put down again with a right and as he again got up he was knocked down for the third time with a barrage and stopped. The fight was on ESPN and was a significant upswing for McCall's career. He then decisioned the tough journeyman Jesse Ferguson before fighting Tony "TNT" Tucker, a significantly taller man, on 26 June '92 for Tucker's NABF title. After 12 close rounds, Tucker was announced as the winner by a split decision.

    McCall rebounded by stopping the former WBO champion, the excellent Italian contender Francesco Damiani, by TKO8 in April '93. Next year, he received a shot at the WBC title against Lennox Lewis, who had previously defeated Tucker for it. Lewis was 25-0, 6'5 and weighed in at 238 pounds while McCall was 6'2 and weighed in at 231 1/2. The fight was in England, at Wembley Stadium in London, 24 September '94. Lewis was a 5-1 favorite and was expected to beat the virtually unknown McCall relatively easily. The first round was relatively even. All three judges gave it to the champion, as was always the habit. But in the second, as Lewis was trying to throw a left hook, McCall quickly stepped forward and nailed him with a perfect right on the chin. Down went Lewis, for the first time in his career! Although he got up at the count of six, he appeared wobbly and unable to stand properly. Referee Jose Guadalupe Garcia waved it off, to Lewis' helpless protests. McCall jumped up with both feet in the air and that moment was captured on camera, becoming an iconic picture. The great underdog had just pulled off the upset of the year. Lewis was a sore loser and claimed it was a lucky punch but Emmanuel Steward, who was then McCall's trainer and later would become Lewis's, said:"It was no lucky punch, it was well planned." The winner himself said:"I was trying to catch him with that shot from the opening bell". After only 3 minutes and 31 seconds, the fight was over and McCall now could call himself the WBC heavyweight champion.

    Soon thereafter however, like so many other boxing champions before him, McCall slid into Cocaine addiction. He made his first title defense against the aging but still game veteran Larry Holmes, 8 April '95 at Caesars Palace. McCall appeared content to jab and box instead of trying to attack and score a knockout. This won him no favors with the crowd or the sportswriters, but he got the decision in the end: 115-112, 115-114 and 114-113. "Beating a fighter like myself don't make you a champion. Winning a belt don't make you a champion. It's how you treat people. How you are on the inside. Keep your nose clean and don't end up nowhere bad"-this is what Holmes told him afterwards. He did manage to hurt Holmes in the 9th and bullied him for the rest of the fight and cut him pretty badly on the left cheekbone. Little did he or anyone expect that the man who would take his title was the man who Lewis himself had vanquished and who looked like he was at the end of his career and never would achieve what had seemed imminent before: Frank Bruno. McCall went to England once again to defend for the second time but this time he wouldn't be as fortunate. Bruno came in very determined to win a world title on his fourth attempt, as he knew this was his last chance. It was 2 September on Wembley and McCall just looked passive and not very interested in attacking, like against Holmes. Bruno kept him at bay with his constant attack, jabbing and throwing and landing combinations. If it hadn't been for his amazing chin, McCall would have likely been stopped. But he endured the assault and in the last round had Bruno in trouble, however Bruno could also take a good punch and made it to the final bell. Of course, he won by a clear unanimous decision, relieving McCall of the belt with the scores of 117-111 twice and 115-113.

    In his very next fight, McCall looked a completely different man, as he took on the 6-0 Oleg Maskaev, himself later a WBC champion. It was 24 February '96 in Richmond, Virginia and McCall flew at Maskaev, dropping him with a left hook to the body and a short right to the chin after 1:27 of the first round. Maskaev got up but was in no position to continue. Thus, Atomic Bull had scored a stunning first-round ko against a strong contender. However, what happened in his return bout with Lennox Lewis would shock everyone. It was on today's date, 7th February '97, when McCall was offered a chance to reclaim his old belt, which Bruno had lost to Mike Tyson and Tyson had then been stripped of for not giving Lewis a fight in time. Prior to the fight, in July '96,McCall had been arrested for drug possession and entered a drug rehab clinic. He was then again arrested in December after he threw a christmas tree down in a hotel lobby. He again entered rehab. Don King announced that he would be ready to fight in scheduled time. But it was a big mistake letting him fight, it turned out. Although in the first two rounds he did rather well and had Lewis against the ropes a couple times, after the third round he just stopped fighting and defending himself and started walking away from Lewis. In the fifth, he burst into tears and refused to fight, thus the referee Mills Lane had no other choice but to disqualify him. It was a sad spectacle, even though McCall later claimed he was just crying because he was trying to get himself into an emotional state. He was then entered into a mental hospital. He returned to the ring in November of that year and beat the 11-45-2 Brian Yates by TKO 8.

    His last great achievement came in November 2001 against Henry Akinwande, a 6'7 giant of a man. Akinwande was outboxing him for 9 rounds and then in the 10th McCall suddenly caught him with a monster right hand as Akinwande started to tire, and knocked him out cold. In 2004 he dropped a decision to then-solid contender DaVarryl Williamson. He scored a few decent wins over semi-contenders like Przemyslaw Saleta (TKO4), Darroll Wilson (TKO4) and Yanqui Diaz (KO7) and he won the WBC International title at the age of 42 when he beat the Turkish-German puncher Sinan Samil Sam by a clear decision. He then lost it on points to Juan Carlos Gomez. His last notable win was against famed contender Fres Oquendo, whom he beat by SD12 in December 2010, for the IBF Intercontinental title. His so far last fight was on 30 November last year and he beat the journeyman Larry Knight by UD6. He is scheduled to face Ronald Baca, 9-3-4, on 23 March. He will turn 54 a month later. His current record is 58 wins (37 by ko) and 14 losses.

    Oliver "Atomic Bull" McCall was a man who could have definitely achieved even more and stayed a world champion longer, but his drug addiction and mental problems ruined his career. He has however had a longevity like very few others in history, which can be called a sort of compensation. His son Elijah McCall is also a professional heavyweight and father and son both lost to the same man, Marcin Rekowski. His son however didn't inherit his chin, as he was stopped by both Rekowski and Andy Ruiz. In the end, McCall is a boxer who definitely deserved a better reputation but I hope he will retire soon and with his health intact.

  • #2
    Re: Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

    Top article

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    • #3
      Re: Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

      Originally posted by selij View Post
      Top article
      My humble thanks.

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      • #4
        Re: Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

        --- Ollie never got his just due for this fight or his formidable physical assets because of his mental dysfunctions.

        Blasts Lewis around the ring for the first round, dazed enough to have him hanging on the last half of the round.

        2nd Lewis comes out aggressive, but then tries to draw a lead from McCall to counter, but no bite, so Lewis leads with a sloppy, lazy left hook that misses. Meanwhile, McCall counters with his own left hook, straight right combo that puts Lewis down hard. The ref who has been doing a stellar job sees Lewis stumble back, then sideways before stumbling into the ref who then stops the fight. HBO seems outraged at the stoppage, but then conclude Lewis just stumbled badly, but the ref and McCall were operating at the highest level that night.

        Check out this athletic move by McCall in the immediate aftermath. The top ring rope is 4.5 feet tall by my estimation, and McCall's butt is easily at the 6' mark, and we don't know if he was still traveling up or traveling down at the snapshot. That's 230+ lbs he is spontaneously levitating



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        • #5
          Re: Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

          Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
          --- Ollie never got his just due for this fight or his formidable physical assets because of his mental dysfunctions.

          Blasts Lewis around the ring for the first round, dazed enough to have him hanging on the last half of the round.

          2nd Lewis comes out aggressive, but then tries to draw a lead from McCall to counter, but no bite, so Lewis leads with a sloppy, lazy left hook that misses. Meanwhile, McCall counters with his own left hook, straight right combo that puts Lewis down hard. The ref who has been doing a stellar job sees Lewis stumble back, then sideways before stumbling into the ref who then stops the fight. HBO seems outraged at the stoppage, but then conclude Lewis just stumbled badly, but the ref and McCall were operating at the highest level that night.

          Check out this athletic move by McCall in the immediate aftermath. The top ring rope is 4.5 feet tall by my estimation, and McCall's butt is easily at the 6' mark, and we don't know if he was still traveling up or traveling down at the snapshot. That's 230+ lbs he is spontaneously levitating



          You said it-his fighting alias should have been Superman, not Atomic Bull.

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          • #6
            Re: Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

            I'm new to the forum an just wanted to say that this was an cracking read!!

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            • #7
              Re: Oliver McCall-Ageless Warrior

              Originally posted by bronzebandit View Post
              I'm new to the forum an just wanted to say that this was an cracking read!!
              Hi and thank you very much!

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              • #8
                Latest update: on 31 May this year, McCall scored another stoppage victory, by a corner retirement in 2 rounds against Hugo Lomeli, previously 21-13-1. He thus raised his number of wins to 59 with 38 ko's.

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