Valuev-McCline: A Tale of Two Towers

17.01.07 - By Zhenyu Li: The tale of two towers is narrated between the 7-foot Valuev and the 6-foot-6 McCline. Giant Nicolay Valuev, the WBA heavyweight champion of the world will defend his title against another huge guy Jameel McCline on January 20th.

The total weight of the two fighters will be nearly 600 pounds which is the “biggest” in boxing history. This might be the most intriguing part of this match since Valuev, the tallest and heaviest boxing champion of all time has never met someone as big as McCline who is 6'6'' and around 270 lb. McCline was once a capable fighter who thrashed Michael Grant, the then top contender in just one round. The current WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs was also outpointed by him in a 10-round fight. But that is what he has accomplished several years ago. Now, the 36-year old McCline is not in his prime. His speed waned, his footwork is no longer as good and what deprived of all his deserved wins is his poor stamina.

The typical of his stamina problem was exposed in his title shot against the then IBF champ Chris Byrd in 2004. McCline got off with a good start, knocking down the unpredicatable slick Byrd early in the fight. But as the round goes by, it seemed that he gradually tired out and finally ran out of gas in the late rounds. Byrd took over and won by a split decision.

Besides this fight against Byrd, McCline has experienced another two big events, the bout against Wladimir Klitschko and the bout against Calvin Brock. In the Klitschko fight, he was dominated by “Doctor Hammer” and was knocked out in the 10th round for the WBO title. Although he floored the then undefeated American rising star Calvin Brock in mid fight, McCline ran out of power again and drop a decision loss. Moreover, in October 2005, he was outpointed by the little known trial horse Zuri Lawrence. After all these losses, everyone would question his current capability between the ropes.

On the contrary, the 33-year old Valuev has a perfect professional record of 45-0, 33 KO although in my viewpoint, he has never met a quality puncher like Sam Peter or Hasim Rahman or Lamon Brewster.

One interesting thing is that McCline is only the 14th guy ranked by the WBA and is on the decline. After capturing the WBA belts from John Ruiz, Valuev has never had any true title defenses. Owen Beck and Monte Barrett are just two journeyman. The 36-year old McCline now is no better than those two guys and will be easily dominated by the Russian.

Owen Beck, Monte Barrett and then the old Jameel McCline, maybe Valuev is fighting for stats whose 45-0 record is approaching Rocky Marciano's historical 49-0.

This will be Valuev’s third easy title defense. I see him conclude the match with a KO in the late rounds.

Article posted on 17.01.2007

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