Exclusive Interview: Jameel McCline On His Planned Comeback, Fight With Adamek

By James Slater: Fans may have read on various boxing web sites how Jameel ďBig TimeĒ McCline, 39-10-3(23) is coming back to fight Polish hero Tomasz Adamek. This news has created something of a buzz, and yesterday the 41-year-old confirmed for me that, yes, he is coming back to face Adamek.

McCline, a former four-time heavyweight title challenger (Jameel holds the distinction as the only man to challenge for all four - IBF, WBC, WBA, WBO - recognized belts) has been back in training for some weeks now, and he is excited to be coming back.

Very kindly taking the time to speak with me, McCline, who last boxed in early 2009, had the following things to say:

James Slater: Itís a great pleasure to be able to speak with you, Jameel. If you recall, I have interviewed you before - before the Chris Arreola fight?

Jameel McCline: Yeah, I sort of remember your voice!

J.S: Well, youíve created quite a buzz on the boxing web sites, with news that you are coming back and a fight with Tomasz Adamek is in the works! Did you offer him the fight deal, or did they offer it to you?

J.M: Well, Iím not in a position to be able to offer anyone a deal, seeing as how I lost my last fight, in very poor fashion against Chris Arreola, and seeing as Iíve been off for so long. So they offered it to me; theyíre [Team Adamek] in the position of power. Tomasz Adamek is a great fighter, who is coming off a brave, brave loss to one of the best, most strong and dominant heavyweights ever.

J.S: Youíve been in the gym, Jameel?

J.M: Yes, Iíve been back in training for two months now. I was getting ready to come back in early 2012 and this fight [with Adamek] came up. So itís all very exciting. Hereís where I am right now: All I know is boxing. Iíve been fighting for seventeen years. Vitali, he came back himself after three-and-a-half years off. He was supposed to fight me, but he fought someone else instead, I think it was Sam Peter. Anyway, he went on to become champion all over again. So you never know what can happen. Iím older now, Iím more calm in the ring. Also, I believe that if Iím given the proper time to train, I can be a danger to anyone. I had just five weeks for the Arreola fight, when Iím typically a 10 to 12 week guy. But I couldnít turn that fight down. But right now, Iím not coming back for money, not at all. Iím getting back in there because of the reason that I can become world champion. I have so much unfinished business. I canít wait until Iím 55 and think Ďwhat could I have achieved?í

Also, I started my career late - at age 25; after NO amateur career. Youíve never seen me in wars, getting beaten down. As I say, I simply have too much unfinished business. And Iím so much more confident a person now; as a fighter and as a father. Imagine if I had Sam Peter down three times today! (as McCline did in that Oct. 2007 fight) No way would I let him get back up. No way!

J.S: Will you have a tune-up ahead of the Adamek fight?

J.M: Yes, I will definitely have a tune-up; in December, in America. It will be a ten-rounder. Adamek is a very smart, accomplished fighter, so no way would I enter the fight thinking it will be a walk in the park. Iím working very, very hard in the gym. I have a full team around me: doctors, consultants, specialists. They are putting me through what I need to become world champion. Iím losing weight and adding muscle. Iím gaining speed. Make no mistake, this serious offer from Adamek has been just what I wanted, just what I thought would happen. Iím excited because Iím going to be back in with the big boys. My goal my whole career has been to fight the best guys out there.

J.S: Can I ask you, what is your weight now?

J.M: I started training two months ago at 304-pounds. This morning I weighed 285. Iím looking to come into the fight at around 268, 270.

J.S: Looking at it on paper, you will have a height, reach and weight advantage over Adamek. This could be a hard fight for him to come back with.

J.M: I have to work hard and make sure I use all my advantages; Like Klitschko did when he fought Adamek. I know that a good big man always beats a good little man. They may think Iím old, but Iím nobodyís stepping stone, nobodyís comeback opponent. Iím not coming back to be a sideshow and Iím not coming back for the money. Iíve made some smart financial business deals and Iíve made good money. I always said Iíd come back when I didnít have to fight for money. Everything is falling into place now. The division is weak - itís strong in Europe but itís weak in America - and I have so much confidence. You know, before; my success almost seemed to come by mistake. No-one has ever gone as far as me without a single amateur fight, after starting out so late. And now I understand, and I know how good I am. Iíve made sure I havenít shown up [in public] yet, not until Iím in top shape - visually and everything else. No-one wants to see fat heavyweights any longer. Iím working hard, believe me.

J.S: Where will you fight Adamek?

J.M: Iíll fight anywhere in the world. Iíve already fought in China, Mexico, Switzerland - all over. So I donít care where I fight him. I actually have a bigger fans base outside of the U.S - they have a different respect for boxers in Europe.

J.S: And who is your trainer now, Jameel?

J.M: Iím working with Anthony Hamm right now. We made the start back in the gym two months ago. Heís a very accomplished trainer, he worked with Ray Mercer, Cory Spinks Arturo Gatti and heís now working with Joel Julio. I have a great team around me.

J.S: Well, I wish you all the best with your comeback, Jameel. There is nothing more intriguing in sport than a comeback! Thanks so much for talking to me about it.

J.M: Youíre welcome. But can you put this out; this is very important: You can hate, doubt, vilify me all you want, but this will only give me more power. There are a lot of haters out there, but I have as much right as anyone to come back. I will prove all the doubters wrong!

Article posted on 15.10.2011

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