World Boxing Council Intercontinental Champion
Who would have thought, when he had a professional record of 2-2-1, that a very raw New Jersey-based boxer named Jameel “Big Time” McCline would rapidly develop into a heavyweight force to be reckoned with? McCline’s name is now included on the short list of viable contenders for the most prestigious title in sports: the world heavyweight championship.
Boxing was one of the furthest things from McCline's mind when he was growing up. A three-sport star at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson, N.Y., his primary endeavor was basketball, and the board-crashing power forward won the opportunity to play on the collegiate level, first at Oneonta State University and then at Potsdam State.
Six years ago, McCline put on a pair of boxing gloves for the first time. Although he was understandably green, McCline took to boxing rather quickly, going into sparring sessions with big-name professionals virtually from the start and holding his own very impressively. He considered it to be an essential ingredient to his career advancement (McCline has sparred with a veritable "Who's Who" of the heavyweight division, including Lennox Lewis, Tim Witherspoon, Ray Mercer, Andrew Golota, Zeljko Mavrovic, Michael Grant, and Kirk Johnson).
"Because I got a late start, I really thought it would be advantageous to work right away with the best," McCline said. "I learned a great deal in a very short period of time, especially because some of the top guys tried to be abusive in the ring. But I held my own."
After that shaky start, McCline decided it was time to bring some new direction into his career. He met and signed with Alan Wartski, a New Jersey entrepreneur who, in McCline’s words, "taught me a lot about life, being patient with people and working for what I want to achieve even when things don't seem to be going my way."
Since signing with Wartski, McCline has gone 28-1-2 and has recently fought for a Heavyweight World Championship. Two thousand and one, however, was the year Jameel made an empathic statement as a dominant player in the heavyweight division.
Jameel started the year with a sensational first-round knockout over King Ipitan (19-2-1), and an impressive win over former cruiserweight champion Al Cole (31-7-1). In July of that year, Jameel finally made it into the Big Time with a spectacular first-round knockout over former No. 1 contender Michael Grant (31-1) on the HBO World Championship Boxing series.
In December 2001, determined to prove that the Grant victory was no fluke, McCline challenged fifth-ranked heavyweight Lance "Goofi" Whitaker (23-1) for the WBC Intercontinental Championship. Again a heavy underdog, Jameel proved that he is among the best in the world by thoroughly dominating Whitaker throughout 12 rounds and winning the WBC Intercontinental Championship.
In April 2002, Jameel thoroughly dominated former linear heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs (36-3-1) over 10 rounds at Madison Square Garden. McCline demonstrated spectacular hand speed and dropped Briggs in the round six with a devastating combination. All three judges scored the bout 99-90 in favor of McCline.
In December 2003, Jameel failed to answer the bell in round 11 against highly regarded WBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko (40-1 37KO's). Jameel acknowledges that he was "over-trained" for that bout, but learned a great deal from fighting for his first world heavyweight title.
"Looking back, I realize that I could have easily have beaten him. He didn't beat me, I beat myself and that will never happen again.”
On May 9, 2003 Jameel returned to the ring as the main event on an ESPN2 Friday Night Fights card opposing heavyweight contender Charles Shufford (19-3). Shufford held impressive wins against WBO No. 1 contender Lamon Brewster (24-1) and Eliercer Castillo (23-2-2). Despite a slow start, McCline shook off some rust and scored an impressive third round knockout over the game challenger.
Jameel fought top-prospect Cedric Boswell (21-0 16KO's), televised live on SHOWTIME. McCline proved to the critics that he could come back from behind in a fight. Trailing on all judges' scorecards going into the final round, Jameel scored a spectacular 10th round knockout over the previously undefeated challenger.
In his last appearance on April 15, Jameel took on heavyweight contender Wayne Llewelyn (24-4-1, 19 KOs) on a SHOWTIME extravaganza and scored a technical knockout in the first round.
Don King has invited McCline to be a part of his heavyweight Rendezvous with Destiny: Battle for Supremacy on Nov. 13 at Madison Square Garden where McCline will get a second chance at a world title against International Boxing Federation champion Chris Byrd.
"This is a huge card,” McCline said while joining Byrd, John Ruiz, Andrew Golota, Evander Holyfield, Larry Donald, Hasim Rahman and Kali Meehan at a press conference at the Garden on Oct. 2.
“When I was a kid, I used to run the streets of New York City. Now I am fighting for a world title at the Garden. It's a dream come true.”
Besides working with the sports top boxers, Jameel has worked with its top trainers as well, including Don Turner, Tommy Brooks, Yoel Judah, Buddy McGirt, and Diego Rosario. However, Jameel has seemingly found a home since early 2000 with esteemed trainer Jimmy Glenn of New York, who has handled a number of world champions and contenders over the last 40 years.
The father of a 7-year-old daughter, Brianna, and a 14-month-old girl, Savannah, McCline has a keen interest in the well being of youngsters. He met his wife,Tina DeMario, while speaking to school groups, urging inner-city kids to learn from his mistakes and to avoid repeating them. McCline has learned every lesson and learned it well, with a PhD in life, he now looks to move on to graduating with honors in the world of professional boxing.