McCline-Klitschko: The Earth Will Tremble

By Paul Barker

Also read:
Vladimir Klitschko Bio - Ring Record
Klitschko: "I will be the winner in the fight with McCline!"
Jameel McCline looks to derail the Klitschko Express
Interview: Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko

Preview: Vladimir Klitschko vs Jameel Mccline
Introducing: The Klitschko Brothers
Vladimir Klitschko Audio Interview
Klitschko Training Photos

07.12 - I have to admit, this fight really intrigues me. First of all, it'll be like sitting through a revival of "Godzilla vs. Megalon," the combatants are that freakin' huge. And what a test for the up-and-coming Jameel McCline! He'd better be at the top of his game when the two "get it on" December 7.

I can't imagine the fight being a cakewalk for Wlad Klitschko, either. McCline brings a lot to the table, both literally and figuratively: immense size and strength, impressive agility, driving ambition, and a scintillating ring intelligence. What other top heavyweight can lay claim to not having lost a bout since 1996? If McCline catches the lumbering Ukrainian with anything resembling the crippling shot he gave Michael Grant, we could be seeing a new WBO Heavyweight champ very soon.

It is the perceived contrast - not only of styles but also of the fighters themselves - that makes this match-up so tantalizing. Dr. Klitschko is the high achieving "good boy," Jameel the ex-con. Klitschko is the Russian Bear (ok, Ukrainian Bear), Jameel the streetwise New Yorker. I don't think Klitschko will ever shake his Ivan Drago persona (robotic plodder, devastating puncher), while I will forever associate Jameel McCline with those dancing hippos in Fantasia - ponderous, but graceful.

While both have shone in recent contests, I give Wlad the edge in "quality of opposition." It's nice to know someone is capable of kicking Chris Byrd's butt! Wlad's victory over the once-fearsome Ray Mercer was cool to watch, but what really impresses me about the good doctor is the fact that he's laid waste to so many young fighters with hitherto sparkling records. Fighters like Paea Wolfgramm, David Bostice, Monte Barrett, Derrick Jefferson, Charles Shufford, Axel Shultz… Not exactly the cream of the crop, I realize, but neither are they yer basic assortment of tomato cans.

Of course, any discussion about Wladimir Klitschko will sooner or later touch upon his loss to Ross Puritty. It was an entirely legitimate defeat, which is to say, poor Wlad was made to look all-too-human for once. In his ambitious attempt to A) put Puritty away early, B) seize the WBC International Championship belt, and C) appear the conquering hero before an audience of his countrymen, he punched himself into practically a state of catatonia. He took one hell of a beating in the tenth round, to the extent that his trainer was obliged to throw in the towel in the eleventh.

The two losses Jameel McCline sustained came very, very early in his pro career. His subsequent unbeaten streak he attributes partially to his unorthodox training methods, which include yoga and hypnosis (of all things!) He's scored some pretty big victories lately, over some pretty big names: Shannon Briggs, GooFi Whitaker, and the luckless Michael Grant (blown out in a round.)

But now McCline is facing Wladimir Klitschko. There are those who think he's utterly INSANE for doing so. Yes, McCline's been a relentless tsunami so far, they freely acknowledge, but has he ever encountered an obstruction so high and wide as the one they call Steelhammer? McCline may be quick and agile, but at 6'6", 260 lbs., is he just too damn big a target for his own good?

You know, I'm inclined to agree with those folks. I recall Klitschko's destruction of Frans Botha earlier this year - what Klitschko did to Botha's face - and can't help but envision McCline absorbing similar punishment and also losing BIG TIME (lousy pun intended.) Klitschko was simply awesome in that Botha fight, displaying thunderous power, impressive conditioning, and even (gasp) some decent lateral movement on occasion. Does McCline have the resources to deactivate this finely tuned boxing machine?

Or has the huge American exhausted his supply of magic in just getting this far?

Prediction: Klitschko by TKO in the seventh


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