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Milton McCrory-Ice Man

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One of the first Kronk-champions, McCrory was a very tall welterweight at 6 feet (some reports say 6'1), who hit hard and was polished. He is famous for his two close fights against Colin Jones (of which he won the second), the quick destruction at the hands of then-main rival Donald Curry and finally a 10-round destruction against Mike McCallum. After he ventured up to 154 following the Curry fight and lost to McCallum in a brave fight, he was never quite the same and his career suffered as a result. His career at 154 is something he himself surely would rather forget, while the career at 147 is his brightest part. His younger (and much smaller) brother was Steve McCrory, a flyweight olympic gold medallist.


McCrory was a child of Detroit, born there February 7 1962, the fourth of six children. When he was 12, his friend Jimmy Paul (future IBF lightweight champion) introduced him to boxing, after McCrory first dreamed of being a baseball player. He had a successful amateur career, but never competed at the Olympics. In 1979, he won the welter title at the World Jinior Championships in Yokohama, Japan. He finished his amateur career with a record of 105-15. Under the guidance of Emanuel Steward, he turned pro in 1980 and had his first fight September 10, winning by a KO1. He scored five straight first round knockouts and stopped his first 17 opponents. He also had a marvelous lithe and muscular physique and a big reach for a welterweight. He first went the distance against the hard-boiled veteran Pete Ranzany and won by UD10, April 22 1982. In his next fight, he also beat the contender Roger Stafford by the same result. After winning for the third time in a row by UD10 against Victor Abraham, McCrory the Ice Man was now 20-0 with 17 ko's and he got to fight for the vacant WBC title. His opponent was the hardest hitting British fighter and their best welter at the time: Colin Jones of Wales. The fight happened March 19 1983 in Reno, Nevada and McCrory won the early rounds, while Jones came back and won round 7 to 10. McCrory then closed strong in the final round. Both guys were rocked several times and Jones had a cut under the left eye. In the end, the verdict was a draw. WBC president Jose Sulaiman then ordered a rematch, which happened on August 13, this time at Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Near the end of the first round, McCrory dropped Jones with a left and a follow up right to the head. He was also more dominant in the next three rounds, but Jones the warrior came back and again asserted himself in the seventh, almost knocking McCrory down with a series of left hooks and a right, followed by a left jab. McCrory showed a good chin and recuperative powers, as he was again nearly put down in the ninth, but he weathered the storm and stayed away by using his height and reach advantage, before once again rallying in the twelfth and last round. This time, it turned out, he had done enough to snatch a split decision. One judge even scored it 115-111 for him. He was now the champion, while Jones had to go back to Wales and the coalmines.


Ice Man made his first defense by stopping the hard-punching namesake Milton Guest in 6 rounds, after putting him down twice in the first and twice in the sixth round. That started the year 1984 for him, which would turn out a good one. In his second defense, he took on the unknown Frenchman Gilles Elbilia and once again won by TKO6. After winning one non-title fight, he took on the 18-0-1 Pedro Vilella, who had come off a big upset win over Marlon Starling and won the NABF title with it. Vilella was a tricky fighter, but McCrory totally shut him out and won 12 rounds on two of the cards and 10 on the third. His last successful, fourth, defense came on July 14 1985, when he beat Carlos Trujillo by a TKO3, at Stade de Louis, Fontvielle, Monaco. He was now ready for the big title unification against Donald Curry. However, he had already outgrown the 147 division and had to struggle hard to make the weight, which left him seriously weakened. When they faced off, on December 6 '85 at the Las Vegas Hilton, McCrory was just a shadow of himself and was easily blown out in 2 rounds, first being sent down with a left hook and then as he beat the count he was finished off with a big right. McCrory later claimed he had to go down from 174 pounds before the fight. He then had 3 fights at 160 and in the second beat Doug DeWitt by UD10. On March 7 '87, he won the NABF super welter title by stopping Rafael Corona in 1 round. He then challenged the WBA-champ Mike McCallum, who was 30-0 and a great technician with power. On April 19 in Phoenix, Arizona, McCrory had a good going in the first half, but then faded away in the second and was stopped against the ropes in the 10th. He had suffered a broken nose and a cut eye before the stoppage and the referee mercifully stopped it while McCrory was being punished on the ropes. The scores at the time were 85-88 and 84-87 against McCrory. He defended his NABF belt once by UD12 against Herman Cavesuela and then weighed in at as much as 187 for his fight against the 163-pound Jerome Kelly! He therefore easily stopped Kelly by TKO2. However, in his next fight against Lupe Aquino, a former WBC-champion, he was down twice and given a standing eight-count, before losing by a majority decision. That happened on April 10 '88 and 6 months later, on November 25, he was stopped for the third time in his career by Joaquin Velasquez, by TKO7. He went down in the seventh and then took a beating until Manny Steward jumped in.


It was obvious he was no longer the same man and he had two more easier fights, winning the last one by KO1, before hanging up the gloves in 1991. He was only 29, but an old 29. His record is 35 wins with 25 ko's, 4 losses and 1 draw. After retirement, he has worked for Chrysler in Detroit and then become the head manager at the Kronk Gym. He is married and has 5 children. Milton McCrory was a very talented fighter, but he was simply unfortunate to start out as a welterweight, or that he could make that weight early on in his career. Had he not, he could've fought as a super welterweight and would have surely had a longer career, but he still achieved quite a lot. He rated McCallum as his best opponent. I hope you enjoyed this presentation.

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I watched a bunch of Milton's fights last week. Both the Jones fights could have gone either way and he probably got the nod by virtue of being the home fighter. If they'd been in the UK they probably would have gone Jones' way and each scenario would have been fine, the fights were that close. The Curry fight damaged him but the McCallum fight finished him. It was a gruelling fight in hot temperatures and in the end he took a beating. He'd have been better off going the WBC or IBF route rather than going in with the Body Snatcher.
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