Mike McCallum was a three weight world champion who boxed in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Heavily avoided, McCallum was known as the body snatcher for his penchant to target the body in his attacks. Featured in my book Forgotten Legends of the Ring, McCallum had a sharp boxing IQ and was certainly someone you’d call a ring general.
In the video below, we see just some of the McCallum’s broad boxing skills as he takes on the tough Michael Watson. In one of his most clinical performances, McCallum gradually breaks Watson down through the fight culminating in a round 11 knockout. One of the ways McCallum broke Watson down was by consistently countering Watson’s power shot, specifically the right cross.
The first method McCallum uses against the right cross is the inside slip followed by the left hook to the body, he next follows this up by adding another left hook to the counter, so now McCallum is countering with the left hook to the body followed by the left hook to the head, switching levels in your combos is always a smart way to box and McCallum demonstrates why he is the body snatcher by immediately looking to break Watson down via counter attacks to the body.
We then see McCallum use another counter focusing on hitting the body, this time he rolls under the right hand but as he rolls under he targets a right hook to the mid section of Watson, effectively punching with the roll, an excellent move I have written about before when discussing Salvador Sanchez, the great Mexican feathwerweight champion.
Next McCallum uses a more staple counter to the right cross – the left hook to the head. This is a great counter to a fighter who gets lazy with pulling their right hand back after throwing the punch because it leaves them open to the hook. Just for good measure, McCallum finishes the combo again with hooks to the body.
The next counter McCallum uses is a sharp left as he pulls back slightly, more like a stiff jab to counter the right hand, this is a safer option, straight down the middle and also ensures he is well protected against a potential left hook by using his left hand to jab and keeping the right hand high and tight, although the next punch McCallum throws after the straight left is the right hand. Very quickly after McCallum pulls off a more advanced move only someone who has his opponents patterns and timing worked out can pull off – McCallum slips to the outside of the right cross and counters with the lead uppercut, following it up with cross and hook.
More staple counters come next with blocking the cross and countering with the left hook and right cross down the middle, as explained above the left hook is a good counter to the right cross if the opponent is not pulling that hand back in after the punch. After this comes another show of high skill as McCallum shoulder rolls the right cross and counters with the rear uppercut and lastly there is another display of high skill from a master boxer as McCallums throws the jab out and then pulls back using the pull counter as he comes back with the straight right.
McCallum really was an unsung hero of boxing, high level boxing he could do it all and mix it up with the best, it was skills like this which helped him become a multi weight world champion who defeated some giants of the time such as Julian Jackson, arguably the greatest one punch hitter we have ever seen in boxing.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Author of: The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle *Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
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