Forgotten Fades: Jameel McCline vs Samuel Peter

The 2000s era for Heavyweights gets downplayed a lot largely because it is the era that is widely known (and unfairly panned) as the Klitschko era. Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko were the 2 dominant heavyweights no question but there were plenty of other contenders that would at least make things interesting and competitive. Jameel “Big Time” McCline would burst onto the world title scene with a shocking first round knockout of former world title challenger Michael Grant. A knockout where McCline dropped Grant with the first shot he landed, and Grant broke his ankle on the way down.  Subsequent wins over the likes of Shannon Briggs and Lance Whitaker would lead to his first world title shot against then reigning WBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko.  Klitschko would take his zero and win in one-sided fashion by 10th round TKO. McCline would rebound with some good wins over former title challenger Charles Shufford and undefeated prospect Cedric Boswell. This would lead to his second world title shot against then reigning IBF Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd. In a very bruising fight, McCline would drop Byrd in round 2 and give him all that he could handle but would lose a close split decision.  Most observers, myself included, thought McCline did enough to win the fight.  After this fight, McCline’s performances would become increasingly spotty.  He would suffer losses to upcoming contender Calvin Brock and journeyman Zuri Lawrence.  A rebuild stretch of lower-level wins would lead to a third title world shot against then WBA Heavyweight Champion Nikolai Valuev.  This would end prematurely as McCline would suffer a knee injury in the 3rd round.  However, it did not hurt his ranking as he was placed in this interim WBC title fight.

               Samuel Peter came up the heavyweight rankings with an iron chin, brutal power, and a string of brutal knockouts.  None so chilling then virtually ending the career of Jeremy Williams.  Quality wins against the aforementioned Charles Shufford, Yanqui Diaz, and Taurus Sykes would lead to an IBF & WBO eliminator against Wladimir Klitschko.  Peter would give Klitschko all he could handle in a 12 round war in which he scored 3 knockdowns but would lose a close decision along with his zero.  This was a loss though that only enhanced his reputation as a top heavyweight.  He would go on another streak culminating with what are considered his best career wins.  2 wins, back-to-back, over the legendary James “Lights Out” Toney with the second fight considered his finest performance. This would lead to a shot against then WBC Heavyweight Champion Oleg Maskaev. However, Maskaev had to bow out of their bout with an injury.  So, Samuel Peter and Jameel McCline would battle for the WBC Interim Heavyweight Title.

               The first round started off with Peter at once establishing a jab against McCline.  A fine display of jabbing as he would double it up and triple it up.  Combining that with good movement, the object was to make sure McCline would be tentative early to throw.  Pushing McCline with educated pressure, he looked great after an aforementioned 9 month layoff.  It was funny hearing the announcers talk about Peter’s chin not knowing what was going to happen the rest of the fight. Second round Peter picks up where he left off with the jab mixing that up with body work. Peter was also visibly stunning McCline with overhand rights. Peter was well on his way to winning the round when a short uppercut from McCline dropped Peter for the first time as an amateur or pro. Peter did not seem very hurt as the ref was issuing the count. Lucky for Peter, the round just ended. However more emboldened, McCline threw another uppercut in round three which landed and had Peter wobbling all over the place. A left hook followed by another right hand put Peter on the deck again. Peter gets up but he is very shaky. McCline moved in for the kill landing combinations on a Peter with wobbly legs. Peter, being the fighter that he was, fired back. McCline looked like he had punched himself out and was visibly gassing out. All of a sudden, a left hand followed by two right hands would drop Peter again with a minute to go.  Peter at this point dug a fairly considerable size hole on the cards. McCline unfortunately would fail to finish Peter, who managed to weather the storm.

               Peter’s cornermen were none too pleased with what happened and urged him to fight smarter. That is what Peter who climbed his way back into the fight reestablishing his jab and a vicious body attack.  McCline surprisingly moved his hands less after nearly upsetting the apple cart.  All this did was encourage Peter to move forward with more and more abandon.  McCline would land the hard shot here and there but not putting anything together to dissuade Peter.  Some of those hard shots would actually wobble Peter but McCline would just not follow up.  Peter would simply clear his head and continue his attack.  By the 7th and 8th rounds it looked to me that Peter had won enough rounds in row to erase the deficit that 3 knockdowns caused in the early rounds.  Members of the press row certainly had it either for McCline or Peter but no more than 2 rounds. McCline I felt had a better round in round 9 using uppercuts to slow down Peter’s attack.  McCline would also land left hooks to answer the jab that Peter was throwing on top of clinching and leaning on him.  Poor ref had to keep separating until Peter got frustrated and started landing shots below the belt.  McCline immediately started firing back until the bell rang.  Round 10 Peter again took control of the fight and this time it was for good.  That round was Peter re-establishing his jab and right hand on a McCline who again was wildly inactive.  11th round McCline, with his mouth open, tried throwing the left hook seeing if he could hurt him again. It was close until the final 10 seconds when Peter opened up and landed a wicked salvo of shots that hurt McCline. At the bell McCline’s head nearly went bobblehead and had to be led back to his corner by the ref bleeding from his mouth. The 12th round was kind of anticlimactic as it ended with McCline punching and holding trying to stifle the jab and hard right hands that were coming from Peter.

               It was still a hell of a fight with both men showing serious resolve in a bout with ebb and flow. Going to the cards, the judges would score the bout 113-112, 115-110, and 115-111 for the “Nigerian Nightmare”. Jameel McCline had a look of disappointment and disbelief as he walked out of the ring to the back.  Stopping along the way to tell the fans that he was the one that won the fight. Truthfully, I thought he should have got the nod and the 115-110 and 115-111 scores were too wide.  However, Jameel’s slide continued as he would lose 5 of the last 8 fights in his career to the likes of John Ruiz, Chris Arreola, Harold Sconiers, Artur Szpilka, and Magomed Abdusalamov.  In retirement, he moved to South Florida training fighters, being highly involved in his community, and tending to his several philanthropic endeavors.  The highest profile would be with Vocadia, an automatic call center platform that helps eliminate human error, of which he is an executive. 

For Sam Peter, his star would continue to rise. In his next fight, he would KO Oleg Maskaev in the sixth round to become the full WBC Heavyweight Champion.  His first title defense would be his last as he was stopped in 8 rounds by a come backing Vitali Klitschko.  A following loss to Eddie Chambers of which he looked incredibly sloppy and out of shape put him on the comeback trail.  After regaining his fitness along with a string of KO’s against lesser competition, he would fight Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF & WBO Heavyweight Titles. This time Wlad showed a level from the first fight and brutally stopped Peter in the 10th round.  Another brutal KO loss to Robert Helenius in the fight after spelled the end of what you would consider the prime part of Samuel Peter’s career. He would come back on and off after a 3-year layoff but always heavy, out of shape, with his skills notably faded.  He became an opponent for up-and-coming heavyweight prospects and contenders.  He has not fought since 2019 and truthfully have not seen much info on what he is doing now.  Both him and McCline will always have this fight to remember that demonstrated what made both men champions and contenders in the heavyweight division.

The Adventures of Bob and Todd by Patscorpio

Disclaimer – This is a harmless parody that is not meant to be taken seriously.  It does not reflect the true thoughts of Ring Gang Radio, who respects and admires the accomplishments of all major players in the boxing world.

Intro – “Founder Bob” and “President Todd” are trying to stage a fight between WBO Super Featherweight Champion Jamel Herring and Interim champion Shakur Stevenson but find themselves running into some problems.

Bob – Gotdammit!!!

Todd – What is it Sir?

Bob – Fucking MSG!!!! They won’t host Herring vs Tupac.

Todd – Tupac?

Bob – That Olympic kid from Jersey…Shakur, is it?

Todd – You mean Shakur Stevenson.

Bob – Tupac…. Shakur. Whatever…. I can’t book him at MSG.  They say he needs to fight someone that has a chance of beating of him.  Someone that can knock him out.

Todd – Well Jamel Herring did KO Carl Frampton earlier this year.

Bob – Yeah?!! and I knocked out Jimmy Brown on the set of “Dirty Dozen” in 66.  That’s why he retired from football you know.

Todd – What?

Bob – You’re not the only one that can say outlandish things Todd.  Anyways cut the bullshit.  What’s a place that has a big population of Neg….err…Bla…err…. African Americans?

Todd – I don’t know sir.  I would have thought that both men coming from the tri state area we can look elsewhere.

Bob – *mimicking* We can look elsewhere.  You’re useless Todd!!!  Wait I know a place!!!!

Todd – Where?

Bob – What’s that city that Ali fought in? The first fight from exile where he faced that bleeding mick Quarry?

Todd – Atlanta?

Bob – Yes!!!! Atlanta!!!! That was a fun city.  They were all out with their loud clothes and big puffy fros and foxy mamas.  I had my first piece of brown sugar there if you know what I mean?

Todd – Yes sir

Bob – Contact the guys at the stadiums where the Falcons and Hawks play.  See if they have open dates available.  Tell them we are delivering champions…not like they know anything about that.

Bob and Todd both laugh – “HAHAHAHAHA!!!”

Bob – After that I need you to call Paco and tell him to call off the purse bid.  If I don’t, Don King might try to take this fight from me.

Todd – Mr. King is irrelevant sir.  He has no fighters.

Bob – You’re gotdamn right he’s irrelevant!! But I need that bid called off.

Todd – Yes sir

Bob – and tell him he reaaaallllllly owes me for this staging this fight.

Todd – What does he owe?

Bob – The WBO Middleweight Title. I want it.

Todd – The WBO Middleweight Title?

Bob – Is there an echo in here? Yes, the fucking belt.  I signed Ali’s grandkid to Top Rank.  Tell you the truth I’ve never seen him fight but he’s an Ali.  I want to make him a champion within his first 5 fights.

Todd – Sir we could just get the belt off Murata?

Bob – Todd do I own the fucking WBA?  Plus, if I job him his people might release more Covid to our country.

Todd – He’s Japanese not Chinese.

Bob – THEY ARE ALL THE SAME TO ME!!! Just tell Paco I want that belt back. He knows what to do.  That smug English toffee Hearn isn’t doing anything with that Rhode Island kid Andrade anyways.  I bet you I will find him some opponents.

Todd – Yes sir

Bob – Good……. what was I just talking about?

Todd – *sigh*

Forgotten Fades – Mikkel Kessler vs Librado Andrade

Mikkel Kessler is one of the good, borderline great super middleweights of the last 25 years.  5 reigns as super middleweight champion.  Great fights with the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, and Andre Ward.  An outstanding record of 49-3 with 35 coming by way of knockout.  The “Viking Warrior” had accomplished a lot in his career with possibly only an induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame left to attain.  Yet for some reason his name is not really mentioned or brought up as much today.  Kessler, for the most part, has been very quiet and lowkey in his retirement.  To me it is almost like he has been forgotten.  Well, I am going to shed some light on one of his fights that I feel that does not get enough mention.  Librado Andrade, a rugged durable fighter from Mexico, would be the man signed to face Kessler in his HBO debut.  Andrade had been a contender in the division for some time.  He would win an WBC eliminator in his previous fight knocking out former world champion Otis Grant in 7 rounds.  Kessler at the time was a unified WBA and WBC Super Middleweight Champion.  A clash between 2 then undefeated fighters.  Kessler with a 38-0 record, Andrade with a 24-0 record.  The stage was now set.

                I will say this from the opening bell, Kessler did not waste any time to get to work. It was the start of the one of the most astounding one-sided beatings that I have ever seen in the ring.  Kessler established his jab early.  You can hear the impact as it landed on Andrade’s face.  The rest of the fight followed a very noticeable pattern.  Andrade moving forward trying to land a shot.  Kessler hitting him with the jab, to the head or body, with the right hand behind it.  On occasion he would mix up that combination with a left hook. It was incredible the number of flush punches that Kessler was landing on Andrade.  Andrade, as tough as they come, still pressed forward and still throwing punches.  Surprisingly, the first to draw blood was Andrade.  He managed to bloody Kessler’s nose with a right hand in round 3.  That would be his only real offensive highlight of this fight.  The problem was Andrade could not hit Kessler with anything.  Kessler’s footwork was so on point. He was going backwards, going side to side, showing great lateral movement that Andrade could not get anything off.   When Andrade threw something, Kessler was throwing back 3-4 punch combinations or making him reset with the jabs to the body, feints, and then more right hands.  The Denmark crowd was absolutely loving the action they were watching from their hometown fighter.

By round 5, you can hear the concern from the HBO broadcasting crew for the wellbeing of Andrade.  Musing that either Laurence Cole, the ref, or Wayne McCullough, Andrade’s trainer should really step in and pull Andrade out. In the 2nd half of the fight, Andrade continued to make no adjustments.  He was still throwing but the zip was starting to come off his punches.  But man, his chin is incredible as was his stamina.  To also note, his face somehow stood up to the punishment that Kessler was doling out.  No cuts, blood, and swollen faces.  That also is not normal in the realm of fights like this either.  Andrade did try to rally in the 11th round, but Kessler managed to weather that storm. By the final round, Kessler clearly had a huge lead in the fight and Andrade is hopelessly behind.  Usually, the ref will have the fighters touch gloves before they start the 12th round. Instead in a unique show of sportsmanship, they hugged it out instead.  Kessler was in his right to coast at that point, but instead he attempted to put Andrade away.  He managed to stagger Andrade briefly as well as knockout his mouthpiece.  There were no more rallies from Andrade, but he managed to weather Kessler’s final assault before the bell rang.

The Lop-sided punch stats

                The decision was pretty much anti-climactic as Mikkel Kessler retained his WBC and WBA Super Middleweight belts by unanimous decision.  All 3 judges scored the bout 120 to 108.  It was that one sided a beating.   I mean look at the official punch stats from CompuBox.  Andrade threw more punches than Kessler, but Kessler landed on an almost 4 to 1 ratio.  All you can do really is shake your head at that stat.  I already touched upon earlier in the article how Mikkel Kessler’s career would unfold after this fight.  What about the career of Librado Andrade?   Librado Andrade would suffer his first career loss in his first title shot.  After a fight like this, you would think a fighter would accumulate serious mileage.  Not Andrade, who would pretty much remain a top contender at 168 for the next 3 to 4 years.  During that time, he would score stoppages over the likes of future world champion Robert Stieglitz and former world champion Eric Lucas.  He would also fight for a Super Middleweight title on 2 more occasions.  Both of those title shots coming against then IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute.    The first fight with Bute was infamous for a really suspect call from referee Marlon Wright.  In the waning moments of the fight and down on the cards, Andrade manages to drop Bute heavily to the canvas.  Wright, in the middle of his count, would break from it to tell Andrade to get back in the neutral corner.  The problem was Andrade was already in a neutral corner.   In the eyes of many Bute got a “long count” and as such was able to escape a KO loss and remain champion.  Andrade’s rematch with Bute however would tell a different story.  In his final title shot, Andrade would be stopped by Bute in only 4 rounds.  The first knockout loss of his career.  He would go 2-2 in the final 4 fights of his career.   An upset loss to Aaron Pryor Jr via majority decision and a brutal 3rd round TKO loss to an unheralded Rowland Bryant.  Andrade would retire in 2013 with a 31-5 record with 24 knockouts. Not too much is known about what he has been doing in his retirement.  Hopefully not paying the price for numerous hard fights he had and is healthy to boot.  Just like Kessler’s effort, we also shouldn’t forget the effort of Andrade.  Not too many one-sided fights are action packed but this is right up there.  High recommendation to watch.

By Patscorpio