Number 206 – Jameel McCline

Photo taken from
Photo taken from

Jameel McCline (tied for 205)
New York, New York, USA
May 20, 1970
6’6” / 82” reach / 252-283¾lbs
41-13-3-0(24) from 10/10/1995 to 9/8/2012 (16y11m)
0-7-0-0(0) against the top ten
1-1-0-0(0) against linear champions
0-0-0-0(0) against hall-of-famers
no fights for the linear championship
Top ten opponents: L-TKO-10 Wladimir Klitschko, L-SD-12 Chris Byrd, L-UD-10 Calvin Brock, L-TKO-3 Nicolay Valuev, L-UD-12 Sam Peter, L-UD-12 John Ruiz, L-KO-4 Chris Arreola
-6 total score (0 + -7 + 0 + 1)

Jameel McCline was a massive, powerful fighter, with decent boxing skills and athleticism. He was fairly durable, and could use his size well against smaller opponents, though he frequently found himself fighting fellow giants. Despite being 6’6”, and generally weighing around 260 pounds, Jameel faced off against four opponents noticeably taller than himself, and several more around his height. Jameel had no amateur experience to speak of, and his lack of schooling forced a longer-than-normal span of fighting journeymen and club fighters before graduating to contenders. His relative lack of punching power (for his size) and his sparring partner mentality often led Jameel to give good fights to the elite while coming up just short. Nonetheless, McCline was a notable contender and later fringe contender for much of the first decade of the 21st century. He fought for several alphabet titles, and nearly always gave a solid accounting of himself.

Jameel McCline didn’t start boxing professionally until he was 25 years old. He spent several of his early adult years in prison, and was not considered a notable prospect when he started his pro career. McCline also had a shaky beginning, going 2-2-1 to start his career, before growing more comfortable in the ring. After that start, he piled up a record of 23-0-2 in his next twenty-five fights over almost five years. This led up to a fight with Michael Grant, who was coming off a painful loss to champion Lennox Lewis. Grant needed a decent “get well” opponent, and McCline took advantage, upsetting the applecart with a shocking first round TKO. McCline knocked the equally massive Grant down with the first significant punch thrown, and Grant’s ankle broke as he fell, ending the fight. McCline took advantage of his win over a name (fluky as it may have been), and won a wide decision over another giant, the 6’8” 250 lb fringe contender Lance Whitaker. This led to another big fight, possibly the best of Jameel’s career, in which he comprehensively outboxed the former linear champion, Shannon Briggs. Jameel rode these three wins over name opponents into the biggest fight of his career, the then-WBO titlist, number one contender, and future linear champ Wladimir Klitschko. This time, Jameel seemed to hit his ceiling, as Wladimir outboxed him in a relatively slow, tactical affair, before knocking him down in the tenth, and forcing Jameel’s corner to throw in the towel.

Jameel came back, though, and won three straight knockouts over fringe contenders before stepping back up to a title shot, this time against reigning IBF titlist Chris Byrd. Byrd, who was considered quite small for a heavyweight (6’0”, 215ish), was normally a slick boxing counterpuncher. After being dropped early, and seemingly overwhelmed by the much larger McCline, Byrd fought with more aggression, and managed to both outbox and outslug Jameel down the stretch, edging the big man in an exciting fight. Jameel couldn’t help being disappointed by the close loss, though he fought well against a consensus top-three contender in the division. This showing led to another loss to a rising contender, Calvin Brock. The fight was competitive, but Brock’s skills and defense allowed him to edge the scorecards.

McCline would revert back to fighting journeymen, taking on eight over the next two years (including an upset loss to Zuri Lawrence). Jameel managed to parlay this streak into another title shot, this time against seven foot WBA titlist Nikolai Valuev. Jameel fought on fairly even terms with the Russian Giant, before succumbing to a knee injury at the end of the third. This showing didn’t prevent Jameel from getting the call against WBC titlist Samuel Peter in his very next fight, surprising everyone when he knocked the normally-durable Peter down three times in the first three rounds. From there, Peter composed himself, and outboxed McCline, leaving him empty-handed after a title fight yet again. That fight marked the fourth major belt McCline fought for, losing on each occasion, but always competitively.

Jameel would find his career declining after the Peter fight. He would lose a wide decision to John Ruiz, outpoint fringe contender Mike Mollo, then get trucked in four by rising contender Chris Arreola. Jameel took two years off, then came back, losing three out of five, including a final second round knockout to Magomed Abdusalamov.

Since retiring for good, Jameel has thrown his hat into the political arena, and challenged U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings in the 2016 Democratic primary.

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