Two superb technicians met on this day back in 1987, as future Hall of Famers Mike McCallum and Don Curry fought at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. A fascinating match-up (that was originally supposed to happen the year before, only for Curry, then still a welterweight, to change his mind and back out of the fight), McCallum Vs. Curry was a fight that tested the high boxing IQ of both men.
But on this night, McCallum, the defending WBA 154 pound champ, was the smarter boxer. And the more powerful fighter.
Two masters of their craft, both of them feeling aggrieved due to how they felt they had been dodged by the box-office superstars of the day, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler, McCallum and Curry put on a memorable fight that ended with a bang.
McCallum, a noted body puncher, started fast. Curry, a beautiful punch-picker, was very sharp. In the second round, “The Lonestar Cobra” struck, his right hook wobbling McCallum. Later, being incredibly forthright, McCallum said he had been hurt to the extent that this was the closest he had ever been to going down in any fight.
The chess-match with action continued, with the varied scores of the three judges indicating how hard a fight this one was to score – one judge had it 40-36 for Curry, the other two officials had the fight close, with just a single point separating the two men.
Then came the stunning ending to the fight.
In the fifth, McCallum landed a sensational shot to Curry’s jaw. Curry, thinking he was out of range, dropped his hands and the defending champion whipped in his left hook, the powerful blow landing flush and sending Curry down flat on his back. Curry’s eyes were wide open yet he did not know where he was. It was over. McCallum had scored the most memorable KO of his entire career.
Superbly timed, full of force, and zeroed-in accurate, “The Body Snatcher’s” headshot was soon to become highlight reel stuff for the ages. Curry, a brilliant fighter, was outsmarted and then punched out. McCallum might have been the best fighter in the world at the time, pound-for-pound.