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Old 01-18-2010, 05:30 PM   #1
Jersey Joe
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Default How good was McCallum?

Avoided by Hagler, Leonard, and Hearns, crushed pretty much everyone up until Kalumbay and a couple of very close fights against a prime James Toney. Didn't really fade until almost 40 years old. Superb boxing technique, granite chin, great conditioning, dangerous KO power, no obvious weaknesses, one of the best body punchers ever, could fight well on the inside or outside. Against very good opponents he scored some brutal wins - flattened Curry and the dangerous Julian Jackson, outboxed the slick Herol Graham, and put on a clinic against solid contenders Collins and Michael Watson. Won his first 32 fights consecutively with a sick KO %. At age 40 he went the distance and perfomed respectably whilst losing decisions against James toney and Roy Jones Jr in his last two fights - not a bad way to bow out against elite opposition.

Just how good was Mike McCallum? How would he have performed if any of the fab four had given him a title shot? Was he the most avoided fighter of the last 30 years?
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

i think u kinda anwsered ur own question lol sick
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

He was avoided in his own mind (and the mind of those who've chosen to follow his word) a lot more than he was in reality. I typically take McCallum's own words with a grain of salt, as he seems quite prone to excuse-making and whining about the past. He was no Charley Burley.

As a fighter, he was definitely the goods, though. I'd disagree that he didn't have any notable weakness. His cement shoes certainly proved to be a weakness against Kalambay in their first fight, and he was made to look pretty bad against Graham for the same reasons over the first half of their fight. Other than that I think he'd have fared pretty well at his best against any fighter of his generation. From mid to close range he was just about as good as they came.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

Great fighter, though i don't think he was really truly avoided by any of the "fab 4"...the timing was just never quite right for those fights and he really did himself an injustice by campaigning at 154 so extensively imo.Knowing he wasn't a big draw, he should have moved up much earlier and got in the mix at 160 if he was really wanting the Hagler fight.

It was tough for a lot of good fighters at the time, with Hearns, Leonard and Duran all looking to fight each other for the biggest paydays and Hagler controlling 160 with an iron fist.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

Toney says he was the best fighter he faced, given Toney hated Jones there maybe some bias, but strong words none the less
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

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Originally Posted by Sweet Pea View Post
He was avoided in his own mind (and the mind of those who've chosen to follow his word) a lot more than he was in reality. I typically take McCallum's own words with a grain of salt, as he seems quite prone to excuse-making and whining about the past. He was no Charley Burley.

As a fighter, he was definitely the goods, though. I'd disagree that he didn't have any notable weakness. His cement shoes certainly proved to be a weakness against Kalambay in their first fight, and he was made to look pretty bad against Graham for the same reasons over the first half of their fight. Other than that I think he'd have fared pretty well at his best against any fighter of his generation. From mid to close range he was just about as good as they came.
I thought Duran and Hearns fights were muted before the 2 unified. McCallum remained very bitter against Hagler, when they met at the HOF McCallum said hagler came up and said 'I respect you', McCallum replied 'if you respected me why wouldn't you let me face you and provide for my family?' Theres McCallums account of this on youtube somewhere
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

That's just bitter disrespectful crap from McCallum though, and i am no big fan of late reign Hagler really.I feel marv held the division up quite a bit, but still he had earned it in large part.

The onus was on McCallum to force that fight and he didn't do it.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

McCallum was Duran's mandatory but Steward signed the Hearns-Duran fight behind his back. Steward justified it by saying that Duran would have vacated the title anyway and that he made sure McCallum was to fight for the vacant title. This decision angered McCallum though and he parted ways with Steward.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

true, though i don't think he was being avoided per se inthose early days, he was just a strong, but relatively obscure prospect being passed over by Duran and Hearns going for the big money fight with each other.Bad timing for him, like Herol Graham with Hagler in 86/87.I believe Graham was a Hearns no.1 challenger when he was at 154 as well incidentally.McCallum vs Graham would have been a great fight between two up and comers at that time.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

He was one of the greats. And had come along with some of the worst timing as far as who was around when he was coming up, then who was around when he was in the twilight of his career.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

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Originally Posted by Mantequilla View Post
true, though i don't think he was being avoided per se inthose early days, he was just a strong, but relatively obscure prospect being passed over by Duran and Hearns going for the big money fight with each other.Bad timing for him, like Herol Graham with Hagler in 86/87.I believe Graham was a Hearns no.1 challenger when he was at 154 as well incidentally.McCallum vs Graham would have been a great fight between two up and comers at that time.
I think his performance against Ayub Kalule, weight-drained as Kalule may have been, could have put McCallum in the high risk/low reward category. However I don't think he was truly avoided by Duran and Steward was justified in trying to make the Hearns-Duran match first, perhaps he should have told McCallum about his plans though.

McCallum was also unlucky to run into a brilliant and unheralded middleweight titlist Sumbu Kalambay when he was finally starting to get some hype behind him after the Curry knockout.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

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Originally Posted by Mantequilla View Post
That's just bitter disrespectful crap from McCallum though, and i am no big fan of late reign Hagler really.I feel marv held the division up quite a bit, but still he had earned it in large part.

The onus was on McCallum to force that fight and he didn't do it.
I wouldnt say it was disrespectful, I think he was avoided, too much risk for too little reward
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

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Originally Posted by Boxed Ears View Post
He was one of the greats. And had come along with some of the worst timing as far as who was around when he was coming up, then who was around when he was in the twilight of his career.
spot on
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:32 PM   #14
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

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Originally Posted by TheGreatA View Post
McCallum was Duran's mandatory but Steward signed the Hearns-Duran fight behind his back. Steward justified it by saying that Duran would have vacated the title anyway and that he made sure McCallum was to fight for the vacant title. This decision angered McCallum though and he parted ways with Steward.
Hearns and Duran would get ripped on the General forum for that and Hearns not taking McCallum. Obviously Heanrs went onto fight Hagler, but defended against Hutchings first, could he have faced McCallum in that time? Couldnt hagler have given McCallum a shot instead of Mugabi?

McCallum was more trouble than he was worth
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: How good was McCallum?

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Originally Posted by TheGreatA View Post
I think his performance against Ayub Kalule, weight-drained as Kalule may have been, could have put McCallum in the high risk/low reward category. However I don't think he was truly avoided by Duran and Steward was justified in trying to make the Hearns-Duran match first, perhaps he should have told McCallum about his plans though.

McCallum was also unlucky to run into a brilliant and unheralded middleweight titlist Sumbu Kalambay when he was finally starting to get some hype behind him after the Curry knockout.

agreed.you can see how much McCallum held that against Manny every time he fought a Kronk fighter.
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