Oliver McCall: ďAfter I Beat Oquendo, I Want To Fight Some Of The Russian Bangers"
By Pavel Yakovlev - (November 30, 2010) On December 7th, former WBC world heavyweight champion Oliver McCall meets Fres Oquendo for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title. The winner will acquire a high ranking by the IBF, and possibly a title shot against IBF world champion Vladimir Klitschko. McCall, whose career record is 54-10 (37 KOís), recently granted ESB and exclusive interview.
Article posted on 01.12.2010
ESB: HOW HAS YOUR TRAINING CAMP PROGRESSED? CAN YOU TELL US HOW MANY ROUNDS YOU SPARRED IN PREPARATION FOR THIS FIGHT?
MCCALL: Iíd say I sparred around 150 or 160 rounds in training for this fight. Training camp went pretty good. Iíve been able to get my timing right. I just got finished boxing with Ray Austin today, and Iím pretty excited. He gave me a great workout. Austinís got a lot of angles; heís awkward, kind of like Oquendo.
ESB: WHAT TRAINING METHODS HAVE YOU USED TO BUILD-UP STAMINA, AND TO DEVELOP THE CARDIOVASCULAR STRENGTH NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN YOUR PUNCH OUTPUT?
MCCALL: I run 3.3 to four miles, five or six days per week.. But stamina has never been a problem for me, because I get stronger as the fight goes on. For this fight, I have trained so that I donít have to use much energy, because my jab is going to be the main factor. Iím very comfortable throwing lots of jabs. Iíve got an awesome jab. Iíve trained to double and triple up on the jab; the jab is going to dictate the fight. Itís going to be the main factor. Iíll be patient, and set my punches up. Iím not worried about stamina.
ESB: ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR TACTICS YOUíVE DEVELOPED TO DEAL WITH OQUENDO, OR DO YOU PREFER TO KEEP THIS INFORMATION SECRET?
MCCALL: No need to keep anything secret. Obviously Oquendo is going to lean in at times, heíll have to hold. Iím working on the hooks and uppercuts while in close. Heíll try to smother me and grab, and Iíll make him pay for it. My plan is to land more punches, and not to knock him out with one punch. Iíll keep my composure. For Oquendo, Iíve worked on the speed and trajectory of my punches. Thatís whatís important.
ESB: WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF OQUENDO AS A FIGHTER? WHAT ARE HIS WEAKNESSES, AND HOW WILL YOU EXPLOIT THOSE WEAKNESSES?
MCCALL: My son Elijah has sparred with Oquendo and given me his impressions. Fres is only strong when he can dictate and control a fight, and not when guys are pressuring him. Thatís why Tua and Ruiz beat him. I think Oquendo is going to be overconfident. Heís weakness is that heís convinced he can get away from all heavyweights; heís thinking heís going to be able to avoid all my shots. Thatís whatís in his mind.
ESB: MANY OBSERVERS BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY WAY FOR YOU TO BEAT OQUENDO IS TO WEAR HIM DOWN AND STOP HIM LATE. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU WILL HAVE TO ACCEPT FALLING BEHIND ON THE SCORECARDS IN THE EARLY AND MIDDLE ROUNDS, WHILE YOU FOCUS ON DRAINING HIS STRENGTH. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SUBJECT?
MCCALL: I disagree. I believe I could win a decision, because I could dominate with my jab. Thatís the way Iíve trained. My jab is even better now than it was when I beat Sinan Simal Sam. This will be totally different than the Timur Ibragimov fight. Iíve trained to deal with runners more effectively. If you look at my record, dating back over ten years, the only guys that beat me where runners: Ibragimov, Gomez, and Williamson. Iíve learned to use my jab and set up my punches to deal with those guys now.
ESB: YOU ARE NOW 45-YEARS-OLD, WHICH MAKES YOU ONE OF THE FEW ELITE BOXERS IN HISTORY TO COMPETE AT THAT AGE. OTHER BOXERS WHO DID THE SAME ARE ARCHIE MOORE AND GEORGE FOREMAN. DO YOU STUDY THE FILMS AND TACTICS OF MOORE AND FOREMAN?
MCCALL: I definitely got some pointers from Big George. He showed me how to use the lead right followed by the left uppercut to finish a fight. Thatís the combination he used to knock out Gerry Cooney.
ESB: OF COURSE, FOREMAN CHANGED HIS STYLE OVER THE YEARS TO ACCOMMODATE HIS ADVANCING AGE. HAVE YOU DONE THE SAME AS THE YEARS HAVE PASSED? OBVIOUSLY, YOU CANíT FIGHT NOW THE SAME WAY YOU FOUGHT WHEN YOU WERE 25 OR 30-YEARS-OLD.
MCCALL: The biggest change has been learning ring generalship. Now Iím more savvy, Iím more patient. When I was younger I used to come out swinging and throwing lots of punches, trying to overwhelm guys. Now Iím focused on being more alert and consistent in terms of my punch output; just making sure Iím throwing combinations. Once the fight gets heated up, then I like to bang with you, but not before.
ESB: YOU ARE KNOWN FOR HAVING ONE-PUNCH KNOCKOUT POWER. MANY FANS AND EXPERTS RATE YOUR POWER AS EQUAL TO THAT OF THE HARDEST HITTERS FIGHTING TODAY, SUCH AS VLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, DAVID TUA, AND SAM PETER. HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR PUNCHING POWER?
MCCALL: Yeah, I think Iím right up there. I feel good power when I box. Ray Austin and Timur Ibragimov said my power is up there with the best in the world. But to succeed today, I need to make sure the younger guys donít run. Iím focused on neutralizing their running by using my jab.
ESB: DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER COMMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE FOR THE FANS?
MCCALL: I just want to emphasize again that the only guys who have beaten me over the last ten years were basically runners. These runners are the only ones that got the better of me. I have learned to conquer this style. After I win this fight, I want to fight some of those Russian bangers. Guys who slug. This year, I got to let it all go.
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