Valuev Wins After McCline Injures leg
21.01.07 - By Scott Frake: Nikolay Valuev (46-0, 34 KOs), the WBA heavyweight, had a short night tonight after challenger Jameel McCline (38-7-3, 23 KOs) slipped at the bell ending the 3rd round, crashing to the floor and injuring his left knee. As soon as he hit the floor, it was clear that McCline wasn't going to be able to continue just by the look on his face, which showed a mixture of pain and disappointment. It appeared that McCline got his left foot caught on Valuev's leg just as McCline was attempting land a right hand shot, and as McCline fell, he landed on his left side with his knee banging off the floor.
Article posted on 21.01.2007
There's no question the injury was real, despite the chorus of boos from the angry crowd in the St Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland. Several times, McCline bravely tried to get up, to no avail, as he quickly fell back down.
The extent of the damage to McCline's knee is still unknown at this time, but judging from the fall, it would appear to be either ligament damage, an injury that will likely take months to heal. The injury couldn't have come at a worst time for McCline, both career-wise and for the fight itself, since he had clearly won the 3rd round.
In round 1, both fighters started off cautiously, measuring each other and looking for openings. Unlike his other fights against top opponents, McCline looked very calm, and almost confident, instead of his usual nervous self. He landed several jabs in the round and a decent combination. However, Valuev appeared to do a little more in the round, landing jabs a couple of right hands, which probably did enough to give him the round, though not by much.
Valuev came out stronger in the 2nd round, likely encouraged by the pep talk by his trainer in between rounds, who seemed less than pleased with Valuev's timid style in the 1st. Valuev started the round with a series of stinging jabs, all while backing McCline. At one point, McCline attempted to come inside and was met with powerful right hand from Valuev, who timed his punch perfectly as McCline as coming in. Late in the round, Valuev backed McCline up with hard jabs, knocking him backwards to the ropes where Valuev was able to land an occasional hard, looping right hand to the head of McCline. So far, so good, Valuev appeared to easily win this round, thus putting him up by two rounds.
In the 3rd round, Valuev started as usual, plodding slowly forward and throwing slow left jabs. However, McCline, perhaps sensing that he was getting out of the fight, landed several three punch combinations in this round, that were thrown very fast and hard. Valuev has no defense for the combinations, other than to absorb and wait for McCline to stop punching. By the end of the round, Valuev's right cheek was looking swollen from the impact of McCline's fast punches. This round was McClines, easily, and if not for the injury, it appeared that McCline was back in the fight.
Despite the way the fight ultimately ended, it means a lot of Valuev, who increased his record to 46-0, bringing him to within four victories of eclipsing the great Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record. For McCline, this may be the end of the line in terms of ever challenging for another heavyweight title. This was his 3rd attempt, after failing in two previous attempts to win a title.
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