These two fighters have taken very different paths to get to where the are now. McCline grew up in a orphanage in Port Jefferson, NY. After graduating high school, he attended Oneonta State in New York for a semester before transferring to Potsdam State. Although he had made it to college, the lure of easy money was calling and in 1989, McCline was arrested for selling stolen guns. After serving five years in prison, McCline was released and in 1994, he took up boxing. With only one amateur fight under his belt, the still-raw McCline turned pro. After losing two of his first five, Jameel went undefeated for the next six years all the while sparring with a virtual who's who of champions and contenders of the heavyweight division in the 1990's.
These two fighters have taken very different paths to get where they are now. McCline grew up in an orphanage in Port Jefferson, NY. After graduating from high school, he attended Oneonta State in New York for a semester before transferring to Potsdam State for a year. Although he had made it to college, the lure of easy money came calling, and in 1989, McCline was arrested for selling stolen guns. After serving fuve years in prison, McCline was released and took up boxing in 1994. With only one amateur fight under his belt, the still-raw McCline turned pro. After losing two of his first five, McCline went undefeated for the next six years, all the while sparring with a virtual who's who
of champions and contenders of the heavyweight
division, including the great Lennox Lewis.
Brock on the other hand had a stellar amateur career. He started boxing at the age of twelve and ended up with an amateur record of 147-38 that culminated with a trip to the 2000 Olympics. After graduating
from Charlotte University in North Carolina in 1999, Calvin took a job with Bank of America as an analyst. Although he loves boxing, Calvin's first love is tap dancing, just like the all-time pound-for-pound king, "Sugar" Ray Robinson.
The two fighters know each other well, having sparred together in preparation for McCline's bout with Chris Byrd. The two worked together three to fives times and nine to twelve rounds depending on which fighter you ask. "They must have seen something (in sparring)," said McCline when asked about why Brock and his camp would take such a big step up in class. A confident McCline doesn't seemed worried saying "I don't know what they saw, I really don't care".
Brock feels that, "whoever wins this fight definitely deserves a title fight". Critics may say Brock hasn't really faced any stiff competition but McCline himself points out that,"remember before the Grant fight, I never fought anyone… This guy's no walk in the park he's an Olympic
fighter and the whole bit.
"I have the confidence to win this fight", proclaimed Brock, "even if I had never sparred with him." On April 23 rd as "Big Time" McCline takes the first step toward one final run for heavyweight gold we will see if "The Boxing Banker" has written a check he can't cash.
CONFRERNCE CALL TRANSCRIPT:
CALVIN BROCK: Yes, I spent a week in Jameel McCline’s camp. I really thank Jameel for having me in. It was a good experience. I got to help Jameel out for his bout against Chris Byrd – a lefty. I hadn’t had my lefty gloves on in six years, since 1999. I am a totally different boxer as a right-handed boxer. I have fought all 24 fights and all 20 knockouts as a right-handed fighter. I am much better and much stronger and I have much more control over myself. Some of the things that I tried to do against Jameel I couldn’t do because I am a right-handed fighter. It’s going to be a totally different fight against a totally different boxer than he saw. It will be the same face but a totally different fight.
JAMEEL McCLINE: This is going to be a great show. ESPN and Main Events—who I have some history with. I never worked for them, but I have some history with them. Calvin Brock was in camp with us for a while and he was probably our top guy. He turned it around for us [went southpaw]. So if he was our top guy and still turning it around and hadn’t done it for some time…he’s going to present some challenges for us. The kid’s undefeated and he knows what he has to do. I think it makes for a great evening of boxing.
Q: Calvin, why are you taking the tough fight?
CALVIN BROCK: I look at myself as being the real heavyweight champion of the world. I said it on television and I said it in interviews that I feel that I’m the real heavyweight champion of the world. If I say that I am and feel that I am, then I can’t back down from anyone in the world. I’m ready to take on all comers and perform like I’m the heavyweight champion of the world. Jameel will be the toughest opponent that I will have been in the ring with. I though he won the title shot he had against Chris Byrd and I was pulling for him. I didn’t call Jameel out. It was just a business move that my promoter, Main Events, made. They chose him and Jameel took the fight. It’s all love, but it will be all business in the ring and I look forward to it and to extending my career.
Q: What will it mean for you if you beat McCline?
CALVIN BROCK: It will mean that I am definitely deserving of a title shot from one of the major title-holders.
Q: Jameel, what is in it for you if you win?
Jameel McCline: The first thing is that people make a mistake with these guys. I wasn’t in with anybody until I stepped in with [Michael] Grant and Goofy [Whitaker]. These guys are serious contenders. They are the young guys in the division – the young lions. Just because they are not old lions like myself doesn’t mean they are not able to compete at this level. What it means to me is that I never turn down fights. It was presented to us so I took it. I never turn down fights like most guys in this division. They sit around and jockey for position. My position is, I got a fight and I’m going to take it regardless. I feel that confident in my ability. I don’t care how young, how undefeated…I’ve beaten undefeated guys in my career. It doesn’t really matter who I get in there with, I’m just going to take it from there and move on.
Q: Jameel, you said this fight was going to be a knockout. Can you explain?
JAMEEL McCLINE: I don’t really remember saying that but maybe you read my mind. Listen, I’m one of the better heavyweights in the division. There’s no doubt about it. Main Events know that and Calvin Brock knows that. The writers know that. This is my job. It is my job to get my opponent out of there as early and as fast as I can. If I do, that’s great and if I don’t, then that’s great too. I’m looking to put a lot of pressure on Calvin Brock and make sure that he understands that he’s definitely in with one of the old lions and we’ll take it from there.
Q: Because the two of you sparred together – is that how this fight was made. Did they think they saw something?
JAMEEL McCLINE: Listen, I definitely think that they saw something. I don’t know what they saw. I don’t know and it’s not my business. I really don’t care. The only reason I think they would put a talented fighter like this into this fight is because I think they saw something in sparring and in the fight with Chris Byrd. You know, that’s just the way the game works. They saw something and they want to exploit it.
Q: Do you feel the winner will get a title shot?
CALVIN BROCK: I think whoever wins this fight will definitely get a title shot with Klitschko or whoever has a title.
JAMEEL McCLINE: My thoughts are that I’m on my last road to the title. This is why I’m taking the fight against Calvin Brock. If there are no fights out there I’m going to take what’s out there. If Rahman has a $1.5M out there and he doesn’t want to take the fight - that is the most idiotic thing. You always take fights. I signed the Chris Byrd fight for $100,000. So that’s where I stand. I am a very confident man. People walk away from $1.5M because they think they deserve 2 million. So this is where I’m at. It is a once in a lifetime chance so I would never walk away from that. I’m not going to walk away from a fight like this with a young talented guy like Calvin Brock. If I knock-off Brock, people will still understand that I’m one of the most talented guys in the division. He’s no walk in the park – he’s an undefeated heavyweight, Olympic winner and the whole bit. That’s my opinion on how the whole thing works.
Q: Comment on your sparring.
JAMEEL McCLINE: First, I would like to thank Brock for turning around [to lefty] for me. Most guys would not put themselves at a disadvantage, which is what he did. I would also appreciate if you didn’t refer to him as a sparring partner because we [McCline’s camp] didn’t. We were grateful to have him in camp to get ready for that job. All I know is that I am going to see something different, but that doesn’t really matter to me. It’s all about doing what you have to do to move on.
CALVIN BROCK: The thing is I really look at the sparring session as pretty irrelevant. I would have never gone to camp to spar with Jameel McCline if Main Events had offered me the fight. I am still confident that I would go in and win the fight even if I had never sparred with him. Coming out of the sparring session, there wasn’t anything that we would look at and say “this is how we are going to beat Jameel McCline”. I didn’t go into sparring to see how I could beat Jameel. I went in there to help him and it [beating McCline] wasn’t my mindset. My mindset now is that I am the real heavyweight champion of the world and that I have the ability, the strength, and the talent to beat anybody in the world. He [McCline] is going to be my next opponent and I’m going into the ring on April 23rd and prove what I just said.
Q: Do you want to make a prediction?
JAMEEL McCLINE: I’m here to take care of business. I’m not a big talker and a lot of people know that I’m not a big talker. I don’t really run my mouth too much. I’m just here to do what I have to do for my career and myself.
CALVIN BROCK: I’m an undefeated fighter, I’m 24-0 and I’m going to come out of the ring against whoever I go in with, with a win. Rightfully so, I want to be the champion that I am. I went to the Olympics, I was a five-time national champion against guys in the amateurs, and now as a professional I’m undefeated. If I didn’t think I was going to win I wouldn’t be taking these fights.
Q: Calvin, what do you is your strength and how it will help you?
CALVIN BROCK: One of the things that I am blessed with is a great trainer, Tom Yankello. I also have my experience of 108 amateur matches against top-level competition. I know how to adjust to any style there is. I’ve had all size boxers, guys bigger than McCline and as tall as he is. I came up through the weight classes starting at 139-pounds to the heavyweight that I am now. My major asset is being able to adjust. I train very hard and I have tremendous power to go along with my ability.
Q: Jameel, how about you?
JAMEEL McCLINE: I do have at least a third less fights than Calvin. I had one amateur bout and I did win that fight. My advantage is that I’m big and strong and deceptively fast for my size. Another advantage is that I’ve been in the big show before. I’ve been in with big strong guys and I’ve been in with medium guys. I could say it over and over. I’m just here to do my job. I’m going to take it to Calvin Brock and make him show me that he can adjust to the big boys. I know he turned it around for me in camp but we still got it on in there. I remember the first day in camp, Calvin through a hook at me and I though “Holy shit, we’re working in here today.” I’m going to make him show me that he can adjust to my style and my size.
Q: How many days did you work together and was that the only time?
CALVIN BROCK: That was the only time we worked together. I think it was three times. Three or four, I was only there for one week. We sparred nine or ten rounds.
JAMEEL McCLINE: Really? That little? I though it was at least ten or twelve rounds. You see, Calvin, it just felt like that.
Q: Carl, how did you go about making this fight?
CARL MORETTI (Main Events VP): You can always make heavyweight fights, but you want it to be a significant heavyweight fight where there is something on the line. I will give credit to both guys. I give credit to Jameel. He just lost by a razor’s edge to Chris Byrd. A lot of heavyweights would have fought someone a lot easier than Brock in their comeback fight. We offered him the fight and he said yes. There was no hesitation on his part. Brock has been itching for this chance to step up on a big show with TV behind it and take a shot, if you will. It’s only because he is confident in his ability, as are we. When you get that mix of those two things, it’s an easy fight to make. It should be a good heavyweight fight, which is great for both guys. At the end of the day you have a good, significant, heavyweight fight. It’s good for the card and for both guys’ careers . . . and for the fans.
JAMEEL McCLINE: I’ve got to watch Carl because he was responsible for my first loss. A lot of people don’t know that.
CARL MORETTI: Gary Bell. And look where you are today . . . and look where he is.
Q: Calvin, you fought primarily as a southpaw in the amateurs?
CALVIN BROCK: I’ve always been a right-handed boxer. I started out right-handed in 1987. Then in 1994, I lost to Antonio Tarver in a regional championship as a light heavyweight and he fought me at southpaw and I figured I would give it a try. I boxed southpaw from ’94 to ’99 and switched back and forth. Naturally I am right-handed. I fought right-handed in the Olympic Games. February of ’99 I went back to right. I don’t like to do it [switch] anymore.
Q: How long did it take you to get over the loss [against Byrd]? Were you upset?
JAMEEL McCLINE: It took a week or so to get over the loss [to Byrd]. I don’t know if I was upset about it. I mean don’t get me wrong. I just couldn’t believe it was so close. The reason I didn’t get the decision was because 270-pounds was too much to carry. I was in great shape, but 270 was just too big. Too much muscle, so in the later rounds I couldn’t get my combinations off like I should have and that’s why I didn’t get the decision.
Q: Did you talk to Chris about the fight?
JAMEEL McCLINE: Absolutely. As a matter of fact we were on the phone Wednesday and Friday of that very next week.
Q: Can you talk about being in the final run [of your career]?
JAMEEL McCLINE: When I talk about being an “old lion”, I mean that my dream is to make millions. A heavyweight’s career isn’t over until he says so. I can always make a few hundred here and there. But I’m here to make millions. That’s what I mean about my last shot. Let’s face it. We all know how the business works. A third title shot is unprecedented in recent history. Andrew Golota is getting one now and I’ll get another one. That’s what I mean about the “old lion” making my last run. You know how the business works . . . and I’ll leave it there before I put my foot in my mouth.
Q: Did you talk to Chris about a rematch?
JAMEEL McCLINE: I spoke to Chris about it and he said, “No way, it’s never going to happen”. I’m not taking anything away from him. He’s a great fighter and a great champion. But he understands that if I did a little more cardio, he wouldn’t be there. He knows that. It’s way too risky. I’m happy for him and next time around – better luck next time.
Q: What weight will you fight at?
JAMEEL McCLINE: 250 - 260. That’s my best weight. That’s the weight I usually fight at. That’s just who I am. I get on the scale periodically. In fact, every week I get on the scale. 270 was too much. I didn’t look that heavy during camp but I carried just too much muscle.
Q: Does it bother you fighting against people that you know?
JAMEEL McCLINE: Everybody understands it is just business. It doesn’t matter because once you step into the ring it’s all about paying mortgages. How cool we are . . . all that can wait. I want to knock everybody out. I go in there with the intentions of knocking everybody out. That way I can make my $60M and go home.
CALVIN BROCK: I would like to fight again before the first of July. I’m getting married on July 23rd so I want to get into a boxing match before that. I don’t mind working that hard. I would like to have a title shot before then.