“The Boxing Banker” Calvin Brock is now undefeated at 25-0 with 20 knockouts, after a distinguished amateur career and toiling in the professional ranks for just five years. After inching his way up in class and then defeating Jameel McCline in his last bout, Brock has finally announced he belongs.
The 2000 Olympian enjoyed his finest triumph since boxing for bucks as he simply outfought Jameel “Big Time” McCline as part a solid ESPN PPV night of boxing in Las Vegas. Brock came off an impressive three knockdown victory inside of six minutes over durable Clifford “The Black Rhino” Etienne and parlayed that momentum into the biggest win of his career against McCline.
Entering the fight McCline, now 31-5-3, had come off a narrow split decision defeat at the hands of Chris Byrd for the IBF heavyweight title. Byrd has now successfully defended the title three times since taking the vacant strap with a win over Evander Holyfield. The people who make the wagering lines for fights favored McCline - Jameel was a –185 betting favorite to win the bout - with his edge in championship experience and huge size advantage tipping the scales in his favor.
McCline came into the bout with 270 pounds packed onto his 6’6” frame while Brock tipped the Toledo’s at a mere 218. Despite giving up four inches in height and 52 pounds, it was the 30-year-old Brock who spent most of the night backing up his larger opponent. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Brock used page after page out of the good book, Boxing 101, to keep McCline off-balance and out of the fight. When studying Calvin Brock, it is clear he is likely to have continued success because of the way he puts his punches together, because of his upper body movement, and because he has the power to change the course of a fight with one punch.
On this night it was Calvin Brock, with just 24 pro fights compared to McCline’s 38, who looked to be the more experienced boxer. His upper body movement was something not often displayed by today’s super-sized heavyweights, and his constant bobbing and weaving neutralized the usually effective jab of “Big Time,” who simply couldn’t find his target with any regularity. Brock was disciplined in throwing a steady dose of left jabs followed by heavy right hands. Then he would often finish the combinations with hooks to McCline’s exposed midsection. Sometimes the simplest route is not only the easiest way to get somewhere but also the most effective. On Saturday night Calvin Brock traveled a tough road that will prepare him for a heavyweight title that suddenly doesn’t seem all that far away.
As impressive as the victory was, it wasn’t error free. Midway through the seventh round, as the two men mixed it up, a towering McCline connected with a nicely timed right cross followed by a perfectly placed left hook that caught Brock off-guard and flush. Suddenly everything the banker had invested in this bout seemed to come crashing down as he lay flat on his back for the first time in his 25-fight professional career. However, like a seasoned pro who may have been through it all before, Brock took a knee to regain his composure and collect himself rather than jump up in defiance. Rising as referee Joe Cortez got deep into his count, Brock stood on steady legs and engaged McCline in a few early clenches while finding his ring bearings once more, then continued to back up his opponent with heavy one-twos as if nothing had happened. With roughly 30 seconds remaining in the round, it was McCline who was under heavy fire and looking to hold on to make it through the round. Brock was impressive in showing the composure of a veteran when he was hurt and came back as strong as ever to close out the round, thereby removing any ideas that McCline may have had of ending the night early.
With the unanimous decision victory in the books Calvin Brock finds himself alongside Samuel Peter of Nigeria, 22-0-0 with 19 knockouts, as the top two younger heavyweight prospects. He is a professional banker, aspiring tap dancing talent (no, really, he is), and now must be considered a legitimate heavyweight title threat.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV