Boxing


Oliver McCall - Can He Become Heavyweight Champion Again?

07.03.07 - By James Slater: Forty-one year old Oliver McCall is a man on a mission. Serious about his boxing career as perhaps never before, “The Atomic Bull” is staying very busy and has two more fights already scheduled for this year. Oliver will box an eight round tune-up in April, before a mooted meeting between he and Turkish tough guy Sinan Samil Sam takes place in June. If victorious in these fights, McCall, who is now back in the WBC top-ten, just might be rewarded with a title shot..

Oliver is desperate to fight Oleg Maskaev for the WBC’s belt, and why not, he KO’d the Russian in a single round in a previous boxing meeting. The veteran is convinced he would do the same again if given the opportunity. But facing one of the other current belt holders is not an idea that fazes McCall either. Ever fearless, Oliver would love too a bout with Klitschko, Briggs or even Valuev.

I say “even” Valuev merely because of “The Beast from The East’s” colossal size and height. The former world ruler from Chicago, standing at six feet and two inches as he does, would be subject to quite a height disadvantage were he to box the seven foot Nicolai.

But make no mistake, McCall would take the fight. That has always been his attitude - to take a chance when it’s offered to you. It was this same spirit that saw him dethrone all-time great Lennox Lewis in a stunning upset back in 1994. Now, before he quits the sport, Oliver wants another of those chances.

Since losing the 1997 rematch to Lewis, in a fight that garnered headlines for all the wrong reasons, of course, McCall has been beaten only once. But aside from the close points loss he suffered, at the hands of DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson, back in 2004, Oliver has kept a clean sheet. Now free from the demons that served to haunt him in the past, as well as committing himself to nothing but serious training duties, the forty-one year old is, in his own words, “Hungrier than ever.” Can he rise back to the very top if given the chance then?

Let’s face it, Oleg Maskaev is the man capable of giving McCall his best chance at regaining the title. No disrespect to the thirty-seven year old war horse, but we must be honest. Oleg has been referred to as the most inimitably beatable heavyweight champ since Leon Spinks back in the 1970’s. And as I’ve said, McCall did away with him in a single round in a previous meeting. But there’s a catch. McCall has next to no chance at getting to Maskaev before someone else does. Someone who beats him, that is - whether it be a returning Vitali Klitschko, the more deserving Sam Peter, or someone else. Oliver’s best bet at once again becoming heavyweight champion, is therefore, pretty much off before it’s even on. But what about his chances against one of the other three major belt holders? Shannon Briggs’ name seems to jump out quickest when it comes to Oliver’s next best shot. A good, if sometimes unreliable fighter, Briggs is a guy known for getting tired in fights. Even at his present age, McCall would surely make him pay if such a scenario arose in a fight with him.

As for Wladimir, Vitali ( should he jump in and regain the title) or Nicolai, I can’t give Oliver a realistic shot at beating either man. But he does have other possible options, as long as he keeps from losing. And so far, in all but one of twenty-five fights since the loss to Lennox, he has done just that. And one final point must be added regarding the credentials of “The atomic Bull.” Not once has he ever even looked like going down in a fight. The question is, are any of today’s big men capable of removing this highly impressive statistic? I believe Oliver McCall deserves one more big shot before his fighting days are over.

Article posted on 08.03.2007



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