Interview: Jameel McCline

By Ramon Rodriguez


Interview: Jameel McCline

Boxingtalk had the chance to speak with heavyweight contender Jameel “Big Time” McCline (32-5-3, 20 KOs) on the heels of his third-round technical knockout over Steve Pannell on August 26. McCline shared his thoughts on his win, his place in the heavyweight division, his recent move from New York to Florida and much more. Despite some setbacks in the past, it is evident that McCline, rated #13 by Boxingtalk, has rededicated himself to his career and his mission to finally win a world title.

Boxingtalk: Hey Jameel, how’s it going?

Jameel McCline: I’m doing good, brother.

BT: Congratulations on your recent win over Steve Pannell. How do you rate your performance?

JM: I wasn’t very happy with my performance. Listen, I’m very hard on myself, that’s just the plain truth. I wanted to be a little cleaner in my disposal of him.

BT: You made pretty quick work of Pannell, knocking him out in three rounds, once in each round and twice in the third. Did you intend to just get him out of there from the opening bell?

JM: Yes. My intentions were to just get him out of there. He’s that kind of fighter that you can get out of there. For people like myself, amongst the best in the world, you should get him out of there in three or four. If he’s there five or six, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

BT: If you take this fight and your last two against {close losses against] Calvin Brock and Chris Byrd, it’s clear you’re still a main player in the division. Where does “Big Time” McCline go from here?

JM: A lot of my decisions are made as a team. Mike Borao is my lead advisor and friend for over ten years, before I was a fighter and before he was a lawyer in the business. When I sat down with him and went over things, we decided to stay busy. If that means fighting someone who’s considered amongst the best in the world within the next three months, then that’s what we’ll do. If that means we have to bring someone in just to stay busy, and I don’t mean a marshmallow, I mean anyone who will take a fight for the kind of money that the show is offering, then that’s what we’ll do. Basically what we decided to do, Mike Borao and I, is to stay busy at all costs, no matter what. 

BT: So it’s safe to say that you will be fighting again later this year.

JM: I’m looking to fight no later than late October, early November.

BT: Most of the title-holders and top contenders have an upcoming bout. By staying busy, that’ll keep you in contention for a title shot. Who would you like to face given the opportunity for a title shot?

JM: I think within twelve months, I will have either fought for the title or beaten someone to fight for a title. And when I get there, I don’t really have a preference. The preference is the title. Without sounding cliché, it doesn’t really matter who I fight for the title. I’ll give you an example, going into this last fight, during training camp, I really didn’t concentrate at all on who I was fighting. I didn’t view the tape, I didn’t understand that my guy had a very high knockout ratio. We concerned ourselves more on how we were going to perform. Once we feel we’re performing at our best, we feel like no one else in the world can beat us.

BT: And it really showed. When you really step it up, there’s not much most guys can do in there.

JM: It’s like that with a lot of guys. Once I make up my mind to assert myself, it’ll be that way for a lot of guys. And you’ll see that.

BT: After your loss to Klitschko, you came back strong. You were more decisive in your performances. Then came the two losses to Byrd and Brock. When you look to the future, do you feel as though now you’ve finally gotten the mentality where you know what it takes to be world champ and fight to your full potential each and every time?

JM: Each and every time I have to go out there like it’s my last fight. Each and every time I have to go out there and fight these guys like the big guy I am and get them out of there. If you’ve noticed, I have the ability to put anybody and everybody on the floor. My last eleven fights, everyone’s been on the floor except for Klitschko. When you look at that, it’s no mistaking that I am a lethal puncher, a good athlete and a good boxer.

BT: You recently moved from New York to Florida. How has the move affected your career?

JM: Positively. I can’t even begin to explain. Coming to Florida afforded me the opportunity to really concentrate on who I am as an athlete, who I am as a father, who I am as the spiritual leader of my family, and sit down and do what I am here to do and that is win a heavyweight title in the future. It’s really affected my career for the better and that’s the reason why I did leave. The New York area just got old to me and it pulled me away from the things that were important to me, like staying focused and my family. Now that I’m down in Florida, it’s like a new start for me. I get to sit back, look and reevaluate where I’m going in not only the heavyweight division but in life.

BT: Thank you for your time, Jameel. Boxingtalk wishes you the best as always. Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

JM: Well, I’m very happy that the business has given me the opportunity to still be in the top ten even after two straight losses. I feel grateful and very humbled to be in the position I’m in. ESPN called me in as a studio guest for Friday Night Fights a few weeks ago and only champions do that, guys like Zab Judah, Floyd Mayweather, Arturo Gatti, Marvin Hagler. So I’m just happy to be where I am and continue on this road to get to the top.