Fighters’ Fact Sheet: Chris Byrd, Jameel “Big Time” McCline

10.17.04 - Chris Byrd - Byrd rises at 5:30 a.m. daily to run (current Las Vegas morning temperature: 60º); weight training at 9 a.m. (gym in basement of home); 1 p.m. sparring and boxing sessions (gym in carriage house behind home). Byrd’s sparring partners stay in four-bedroom guesthouse attached to backyard gym (it’s not Extended Stay, they call it, “Extend-A-Camp”).

Not Hatfields and McCoys: The Byrd and McCline families are very close. McCline considers Byrd his idol, and after the couples met in 2001 (after McCline’s fight with Michael Grant), they have remained close and have even stayed at each other’s home, sharing babysitting duties. Byrd’s wife, Tracy, and McCline’s wife, Tina, have become even closer friends than the boxers. Tracy says they “call each other just because!”

Chris sent McCline’s baby daughter Samantha a toy car (Volkswagen Beetle) for her first birthday, and Tina McCline said, “I never thought Chris would buy her first car.” For now, the families are not speaking to each other and avoiding all contact. “I hate it but it has to be this way,” Tracy Byrd said.

"Jameel is my friend and we tried to avoid fighting each other,” Byrd said. “But now that we are fighting I have to treat him like any other opponent—I want to hurt and beat him. There won’t be any hesitation on my part to knock-him out. Actually I would love that! I fought my brother Patrick in the amateurs, and although I love him, we fought like dogs. It doesn’t make a difference to me. I fight my heart out and may the best man win.”

IBF Heavyweight Champion
Flint, Mich., now fighting out of Las Vegas . 36-2-1 (20 KOs)
Training Site: Camp Byrd in Las Vegas (gym in carriage house behind home)
Trainer : Joe and Rose Byrd, (mother and father) Patrick Byrd (brother)
Camp Coordinator : Tracy Byrd (wife)


Leading Available Contender
Port Jefferson, N.Y. 31-3-3 (19 KOs)
Training Site: The Olympus Gym in Hackensack, N.J.
Trainer: Jimmy Glenn, who trained Floyd Patterson, Joey Gamache, John Mekins and “Irish” Bobby Cassidy (father of Newsday’s Bobby Cassidy) and owner of New York City’s legendary boxing watering hole Jimmy’s Corner.

When questioned about the fighters he has trained, Glenn said, “If you come to my bar, I’ll tell you about all of the other champions that I have trained.”

"This is a huge card,” McCline said. ‘When I was a kid, I used to run the streets of New York City. Now I am fighting at the Garden. It's a dream come true. Chris is my friend and I respect him as that and as the champion he is. I'm looking forward to the fight and will be victorious.

“A couple years ago I was asked who my boxing idols were and I named two,” McCline said. “Riddick Bowe, because for a big man he was one of the first guys to show athleticism, and Chris Byrd because he’s a little guy who will fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. He’s shows a lot of heart and wonderful skill and he’s just someone I look up to. When I got to know him as a person he was even better than what I thought of him before.

“So here I am fighting a great person, a great fighter and a great man at Madison Square Garden and it’s 10 years to the date since I got released from prison—so it’s all destiny. It’s a beautiful thing to be involved in right now.”

"Battle for Supremacy" is being presented by Don King Productions in association with Madison Square Garden and will be produced and distributed domestically by HBO Pay-Per-View, available to over 50 million pay-per-view homes, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Saturday, Nov. 13 with a suggested retail price of $44.95 and broadcast internationally and on closed circuit by KingVision.

Tickets priced at $800, $500, $300, $150 and $75, are on sale now at the Garden box office and all TicketMaster locations or by calling TicketMaster at 212-307-7171, 201-507-8900, 631-888-9000, or 914-454-3388. TicketMaster purchases are subject to convenience charges.

Article posted on 17.10.2004

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