McCallum (born December 7, 1956) is a Jamaican former professional
boxer. He held the WBA light middleweight and middleweight titles,
as well as the WBC light heavyweight title. A slick, hard hitting,
iron chinned technician in the ring, McCallum is regarded by many
fans and critics alike to be one of the most underrated fighters in
history, and also one of the best of all time. He earned his nickname
of "The Bodysnatcher" due to his ability to land vicious body punches
in fights. His final fight was against old nemesis and three weight
world champion James Toney, against whom he lost by unanimous decision
after twelve rounds. McCallum retired in Febrary 1997 after a professional
career spanning sixteen years, three world titles and four weight
divisions. He defeated seven champions in Ayub Kalule, Julian Jackson,
Milton McCrory, Donald Curry, Steve Collins, Sumbu Kalambay and Jeff
McCallum currently resides in New York City. He was
inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.
Mike McCallum turned professional in 1981.
As a professional, he fought almost exclusively in the USA. He first
became a world champion in 1984 by defeating Sean Mannion to win the
vacant WBA light middleweight title. McCallum would defend that title
six times, winning all six fights by knock out.
His first prominent
opponent was future two weight world champion Julian Jackson, who
McCallum fought in his third title defense. McCallum survived some
punishment in the first round and came back to stop the undefeated
Jackson in the second round.
McCallum really came to prominence
when he knocked out former WBC welterweight title holder Milton McCrory
and former Undisputed welterweight champion Donald Curry in 1987.
Curry was ahead on all three scorecards going into the fifth round
when McCallum knocked him out with what some have called a "perfect"
In 1988, he moved up to middleweight,
suffering his first defeat, a clear unanimous decision, in an attempt
to win the WBA middleweight championship from Sumbu Kalambay. In 1989,
McCallum defeated Herol Graham by a split decision to win the now
vacant WBA middleweight title (which had been stripped from Kalambay
for signing to face IBF champion Michael Nunn). He defended the title
three times, defeating Steve Collins, Michael Watson, and Kalambay
in a rematch.
McCallum fought IBF middleweight champion James
Toney in 1991. McCallum was stripped of the WBA title before the bout.
The fight ended in a draw, and McCallum lost the second fight by a
controversial majority decision the following year. some felt that
McCallum won both fights.
McCallum then moved
up two weight divisions and won the Interim WBC light heavyweight
title against Randall Yonker, then won the full WBC title by outpointing
Jeff Harding in 1994. Being in his late thirties, he did not hold
the crown long, losing the title to Fabrice Tiozzo. At 40 years of
age, he attempted to regain the vacant Interim WBC title against Roy
Jones Jr. in December 1996, but lost by a wide decision.
last fight, McCallum lost a rubber match to James Toney via a unanimous
decision in a cruiserweight bout.
McCallum had a professional
record of 49-5-1 (36 knockouts). He was never knocked out as a professional.
After McCallum retired, he moved to Las Vegas and became a trainer.
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.