Boxing


Another Low Blow from Oliver McCall

20.01.06 - By Aaron King: Former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall was seized by police in Nashville, Tenn. late Thursday. The policemen restrained him with the use of a stun gun after he tried to escape from the scene where they were arresting him for trespassing in a public housing development. This episode is the latest in a long line of troubles for the 40-year-old ex-champ. McCall, like many fighters before him, can’t seem to stay out of the limelight for the more ill-famed reasons.. Ironically, his emotional breakdown in the ring against Lennox Lewis in 1997 is the least significant iniquity in his portfolio.

Crying in the ring during that championship bout, many suspected that McCall was drugged up. However, he passed the drug tests both before and after the fight. He may have been showing the effects of trying to kick the habit; this much has been suspected, at least. He was enrolled in alcohol rehab during his training camp for the fight. Actually, he’s tried and failed on scores of occasions to leave his substance abuse behind.

The rest of his résumé is a bit more vile. In December of 1996, once again in Nashville, he threw a Christmas tree, as well as the glass he just finished drinking from, in a hotel lobby whilst in a drunken rage. He goes to rehab, gets out, then has a check stolen from him while sleeping in a crackhouse. It’s not hard to imagine why he ended up committing some time in a mental institution in 1997.

When he was a teenager, McCall spent three months in prison for burglary. He was once pulled over by police for possession of cocaine and marijuana – while driving on a bike path in a red sports car. He’s been in jail for drug related charges and violations of probation more often than not it seems.

And then this. I used to feel for Oliver McCall. I used to think that it was a problem he couldn’t avoid, a bad situation he was born into and couldn’t quite escape. But, he’s had more chances to recover than most people will ever get, and the corrections system seems to have done anything but correct in his case.

How can anybody feel bad for a man who, after so many chances to get it straight, told police that he didn’t live in the area, while standing right next to a “No Trespassing” sign, and expected to be left alone because he was “Oliver McCall, ex-heavyweight champion of the world?”

How can you feel for a man who has made progress in rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous for the past few years and has just been released from treatment with a psychologist, only to be caught with five dollars and cocaine in a glass pipe? And why was he even in Tennessee in the first place? Because he is evading charges in his native Virginia.

Should a man who spits in an officer’s face and threatens to kill him for doing his job be given another chance? It’s not as if this is the first time he has resisted arrest. No, sadly he does it nearly every time he is arrested. So why should anyone believe he was making any progress in any of his rehab stints? He’ll be out of prison in time, and he’ll go right back. It’s people like McCall that lend credence to those who condemn our criminal justice system.

Before his failed attempt to abscond from the cops earlier this week, Oliver McCall was making an attempt to come back. At the beginning of this comeback, he said that he no longer wished in inflict pain on himself or others outside the ring. Safe to say, he’s done just that to all of those who cared for him and worked with him to get him back on the straightened path.

The bad part is they’ll probably have to do it all over again when he gets out.

Article posted on 21.01.2006



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