Heavyweight contender Jameel McCline boxed three opponents for a total of eight rounds in an open sparring session in New York City on Thursday. Chris Byrd take note, with more than three weeks to go before their fight, McCline looks to be in excellent physical condition. At the Crunch Gym workout, McCline's appearance featured bulging biceps and shoulder muscles and little fat on his midsection.
In preparation for the November 13, 2004 title bout against the left-handed Byrd, McCline sparred with three boxers who fought out of southpaw stances: undefeated 2000 Olympian Calvin Brock (normally a right hander but he boxed left-handed early in his career), ex-light heavyweight titlist Lou Delvalle and Rodney Price, an inactive heavyweight whose best win came against Zuri Lawrence in 1995. McCline used his time against Delvalle to work on his defense and upper body movement. Perhaps mindful of his self-assessment that he was overtrained for Wladimir Klitschko in 2002, McCline did not allow any of the sessions to turn into gym wars, so whether or not McCline's physique will translate into a piece of the heavyweight championship remains unknown. But if McCline, who is more athletic and just as big as the Klitschko brothers, can use upper-body movement plus employ his jab as well as the Klitschkos did in their bouts against Byrd, McCline will present a very difficult challenge for the IBF champion. McCline is being trained by Jimmy Glenn and is also working with veteran cornerman Roger Bloodworth. Boxingtalk members, be sure to check back later this week to catch OnFire Aguirre's video interview with Bloodworth.