|Jameel McCline: “It’s not over yet!”
INTERVIEW by Benny Henderson Jr (Feb 6, 2007) Doghouse Boxing
It was all set, the bell rang, the punches began to fly, the confidence was building up as well as his fight plan, then bam…heavyweight contender Jameel McCline 38-7-3 (23) found himself on the canvas in the third round of his heavyweight championship match-up against 7’0” WBA champion Nikolai Valuev 46-0 (34)! Not from a punch, McCline’s left knee popped out of place and collapsed on him during the third round. With what was later diagnosed as torn tendons in his knee, the world title challenger couldn’t continue and lost out in his third shot at a heavyweight crown.
Now recovering from successful surgery that repaired the torn tendon, McCline has his sights set on the future, and has full intentions on returning to the ring. Doghouse sat down with the recovering contender who gave his candid thoughts on the fight and his future, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: How are you feeling?
Jameel McCline: You know, listen, I desired nothing more on planet earth, nothing more in this universe then to come home with that title, it didn’t work so I am figuring out what to do next. I am learning that life goes and figuring what to do next, obviously besides rehabilitating.
BH: How long will this take?
JM: Rehabilitating is first and foremost, and that will take me, they said six months, I think four months, I think in three months I will be able to start training, four months I can start training hard, and three months after that I will be ready for a major fight with something in between.
BH: What actually caused the injury?
JM: Listen, there has never been any knee problems, it is just one of those things were it just happened. I had normal pain, like every once in a while my knee would hurt, but every once in a while so would my elbow hurt, or my ankle or my foot or shoulder, it just went out that one day.
BH: Looking back before the injury what are your thoughts on the fight, and what are your thoughts now on Valuev?
JM: My thoughts on him is that he was so beatable for me. I was so big, bigger than anything he has ever seen, stronger than anything else that he has ever seen and faster than anything he has ever seen, all three in one. I was to much for him, that fight is so heartbreaking to watch I cannot bring myself to watch that fight, I was so on mentally, physically, and spiritually, I was so on. Everything that happened in that fight was supposed to happen, we knew what was going to happen, the only difference was the things that we knew would happen around rounds four five and six started happening in the second round, the only difference was that things started happening earlier. We figured him to much, he was so much more easier to crack, we thought it would take six rounds or seven rounds, within four minutes I had him figured out, I had his timing, I started understanding my distance and I started understanding my targets with in four minutes and I was getting sharper and shaper as it went. I was just hitting this guy, when he would close in on me I would run a four to five punch combination to the body and get out. They weren’t hard devastating body punches, but everything was a solid crisp clean touch, bam-bam-bam-bam and out, everything we did we trained for, we knew he would come out with that jab we were going to have him follow me and step around an hit anything that that was available, whether it be the chest the chin the ribs the gloves elbows shoulder, we were just going to throw punches, and this was where we were headed, I just didn’t have enough time to prove that I was the dominant fighter.
BH: So you are definitely coming back then?
JM: Let me tell you something, this is the best I have ever been in my entire career, I just cannot see me going out like this. Yeah I know I’ve had three shots, yeah I know I have seven losses, yeah I know people are starting to doubt me or have already been doubting me, but I was at my absolute best, faster than I have ever been, stronger than I have ever been, I was more calmer than I have ever been, there is no way I can quit right now it just can’t happen. After the fight Tina was like are “you crazy, you cannot quit”. She said, “are you serious, are you crazy?” She said, “Jameel, you were at your best, you were awesome”. I was destroying guys in camp, I did eighty-seven rounds in three weeks, I was in awesome shape, I didn’t have to build up to twelve rounds, I did eight rounds my first day of boxing, my second day I was doing eleven rounds of boxing. This fight was so mine; I mean it is so hard to watch because it was so mine.
BH: Is there anything you would like to say to the boxing world or in closing?
JM: I know that those three rounds saved my career, I know I still have a lot to prove but I was at my absolute best that night, there is nobody in the world that could have beaten my that night. I just want these guys to know, write me off if you feel you can’t get past me and are trying to duck me and use the fact that I have all these losses on my record as an excuses, step forward and know in your heart that is you challenge me then you are challenging one of the best fighters in the world.
I would like to thank Tina McCline for setting up this interview, and a thanks goes out to Jameel for his time and well. From the Doghouse, get well!