McLean Steals the Show at the Verizon by Stopping Saleem

By Ted Sares - It is only through a fighter’s will that he makes losses impossible. –Ted Knutson

Faruq “The Dream” Saleem - When Faruq “The Dream” Saleem entered the ring at the Verizon Wireless Arena against Shawn McLean on September 23, 2009, I immediately noticed he was as dry as toast and there was little muscle tone to be seen. He looked like a guy who might just be in the wrong place at the wrong time, notwithstanding his 38 wins in a row with 32 KO´s. But that record is terribly deceptive..

The 6’7” 255 pounder started his career in 1998 by starching James Holly (4-49 with all of his losses coming by way of KO). He followed this up with a KO of one Orion Sistrunk, ostensibly from Mars. Orion is now 5-25-1. Saleem’s most recent win was a UD over William Perryman (10-16) at the New Alhambra in Philadelphia in November 2007.

In between, he did “battle” with aptly named Doug “Dig-Èm-Up” Davis (8-34), Frankie Hines (14-94-5 coming in), Kenneth “Rocky” Bentley 9-95-1), Caseny “K.C”. Truesdale (6-29-1), Max Key (9-27), Doug Davis (8-33-1), and David Smith (6-15-1). He then stepped up his level of opposition meeting 4-4 Rodney Phillips, Ron “Sting Ray” McCarthy (8-17-1), Mike Robinson (8-30-1), and rounding out the year, he met Frankie Hines again who by then had dropped to 14-98-5. He also beat woeful Danny Wofford (17-95-2) in Leesburg, Virginia in 2002. Wofford finished with a 17-102-2 slate while Hines ended his career with a dismal 17-120-5 mark. His toughest foe was probably Melvin Foster, a good journeyman whom he outpointed by split decision in December of 2001.

“The Dream” does not fight dream competition and one might well conclude his record has been padded with easy wins. After all, the combined win-loss-draw records of his opponents stand at an eye popping 401-868-41. He fights mostly in Philadelphia and New Jersey but he is the antithesis of a Philly fighter.

Shawn McLean

His opponent, Shawn McLean, entered the ring looking fit and ready and many smelled upset. Sure, his record was 3-4, but he had chilled former amateur star 284 pound Rashad Minor in one round in his last outing and lost to tough Derek Chisora in London. Another loss came against undefeated Ian Millarvie out of Hamilton, Scotland. This 34 year old New Yorker was in a low risk situation with little to lose and everything to gain.

The Fight

Those who sensed an upset appeared to be right, as McLean took charge from the start and won the first round easily against an opponent who threw few punches. By the third round, “The Dream” was doing a lot of holding and appeared to be gassing as his mouth was wide open. Then, the 220 pound Shawn broke the combination as he began throwing short and head snapping uppercuts one after another for which his foe had no answer.

Saleem opened the fourth with a few decent uppercuts of his own and some herky jerky jabbing that had little impact. Then, with about a minute into the round, Saleem went down from a combination punch-push but seemed okay when he got up. The upset-minded McLean then bullied him onto the loose ropes and the referee ruled it another knockdown. Upon getting up slowly, the ref asked him if he wanted to continue, but he was done and he informed the referee as much. The fight was declared a TKO win for McLean who celebrated by rolling around the ring--and the crowd loved every second of it.

Saleem’s dream of becoming a player, albeit a delusional one, has now become a nightmare. As for McLean, who knows where he gores from here, but for the rest of his days, he can say that he waxed the fighter, though a relatively unknown one, with the longest current undefeated streak in the heavyweight division. And that has to count for something.

In a night when the Spinks family was present and prominent, and Omar Sheika thrilled the fans by looking like the Omar Sheika of old, who would have expected that a 3-4 fighter would steal the show? But hell, that unexpected ingredient is one of the reasons boxing is my passion.

Article posted on 25.09.2009

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