Vitali Klitschko to fight Jameel McCline in September?

vitali klitschko05.06.07 - By Scott Frake: According to the latest boxing news, former WBC/WBO heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (35-2, 34 KO’s) is reportedly trying to set up a potential bout with journeyman Jameel McCline (38-7-3, 23 KO’s) for Vitali’s comeback bout, which will likely take place in September. Apparently, McCline is the leading candidate among several possible opponents (DaVarryl Williamson and Roman Greenburg).

Klitschko’s advisor, Shelly Finkel said, "He's the leading available guy we're thinking of. We're working on it," according to Dan Raphael of ESPN. The bout will take place in Germany, where Vitali will almost certainly draw a huge crowd, where Vitali started his professional boxing career in 1996.

In selecting McCline, Vitali is going against the age old custom of fighters taking an easy tune-up fight in their first comeback bout, perhaps a move made to quiet any potential critics who will be expecting a lot of Vitali, regardless of his long lay off.

McCline, 37, a fighter that has a reputation of self destructing in important bouts, having lost to Wladimir Klitschko, Chris Byrd and Nikolai Valuev in title clashes. Most recently, McCline dislocated his left knee in the 3rd round in his bout with Valuev in January 2007, despite doing surprisingly well up to the point of the injury. Though he’s performed erratically at times, McCline has rose to the occasion in wins against Lance Whitaker, Michael Grant, Cedrick Boswell, Charles Shufford and Shannon Briggs. His size along, 6'6," 270 lbs, makes McCline an immediate threat to Klitschko, who had problems when facing an equally tall Lennox Lewis in 2003, losing by 6th round TKO. Add to that, McCline's quick hands, which are probably the fastest of the current heavyweights, makes him a dangerous opponent for the ring rusty Klitschko.

Vitali, 35, has been inactive for two and half years since retiring in 2005 – still the WBC heavyweight champion - after suffering an assortment of nagging injuries to both his knee and back, which necessitated a number of cancellations for his title defense against Hasim Rahman. As it turns out, the injuries wiped out a huge money fight for Vitali against Rahman.

Article posted on 06.06.2007

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