Oliver McCall’s Return
Interview with former world heavyweight champion Oliver McCall & opponent Vernon Woodward
By Benny Henderson Jr. (October 21, 2004)  
Oliver McCall
The 25th of October of 2004 kicked off Riddick Bowe’s official return to the ring after his eight-year layoff, but to the ringsiders surprise the card featured two former heavyweight champions. The undercard featured former WBC heavyweight champion Oliver 'The Atomic Bull' McCall, 41-7 (31), who made his comeback after almost a year-and-a-half layoff with a more than assuring win over Vernon Woodward, 7-9 (6). McCall's greatest moment in the ring came in 1994 with his earth-shattering second round knockout of then unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who had won twenty-five straight fights prior to that night. But the moment that McCall is perhaps best known for is his collapse and nervous breakdown in the 1997 rematch with Lewis, when he threw only two punches in the fourth round and just one in the fifth before bursting into tears, leaving both Lewis and the boxing world in a state of disbelief. To his credit McCall says that these days his looks to the future and doesn't dwell on the past. McCall, who has been in and out of drug rehabs and jail throughout his life, never seemed to reach his full potential but has decided to step back in the ring and is more confident than ever that he will stay clean and sober and most of all leave his tattered past behind him and become champion once again. The 39 year-old seasoned veteran holds wins over Lennox Lewis, Bruce Seldon, Larry Holmes, Oleg Maskaev and Henry Akinwande since starting his career back in 1985. The Atomic Bull has his sights set on the WBC elite and no matter how far fetched it might seem, he wants Vitali Klitschko and his belt. On the night of his return to the ring Doghouse had a chance to speak to the former champ and his overmatched opponent and got their thoughts on the bout, along with Oliver’s feelings on his future along with his thoughts on his past. McCall will be stepping back in the ring on November 13th with the venue and the opponent to be announced.

Benny Henderson Jr.: What are your thoughts on your recent fight?

Oliver McCall: I felt good you know, it has been over a year and a half so I knew I would have a little ring rust or what not but I was confident. As the rounds went on although it was just three rounds I started to feel better and put my punches together.

BH: Looking back on your career name some of your favorite moments of your career.

My favorite moments was knocking out Bruce Seldon first of all in 1991, when I knocked out Akinwande, of course the Lennox Lewis fight and the Larry Homes fight, I just have several of them.

BH: You have been around a long time and have fought many fights, do you feel that you still have something to offer to this division being an older fighter, no offence.

OM: Oh no problem, yes I know I do because the simple fact is my last loss was against Lennox Lewis in which I really went and gave him the belt. I have already won fourteen straight fights so the thing is I know I have something to offer because I am winning. As long as you keep winning and keep fighting quality opponents, I knocked out Henry Akinwande back in 2001 I knocked out Oleg Maskaev in the first round and both of these guys are ranked in the top ten. So if they are ranked in the top ten looking for a shot at the title, hey, I am there and I am ready and I will fight anybody, so let me fight one of these guys in the top ten and I will show how much ready I am to get my title back, just let me fight and that will show all of that. It won’t be the talk, let’s do it.

BH: Anybody in particular?

OM: Anyone in the top ten or the champ, can’t be no more direct there are only eleven guys – well more than that when you go to the other belts – but the WBC is what I want. Any of the top guys in the WBC or Klitschko, I am ready, so anyone one of them.

BH: Looking back would you have done things differently?

OM: Looking back?

BH: On your career.

OM: Oh yes, there are a lot of things I would have done differently. [Laughs] There are a lot of things that I would have differently but I don’t dwell on that because I can’t change it. So I have to look at what I can do today so I can change it and have a better future for tomorrow. What can I do today to have a better tomorrow?

BH: What can the fans expect from you in the next year or so?

OM: To be heavyweight champion of the world, to have that WBC belt back and some more.

BH: You have been around a long time, seen a lot of stuff. What advice would you give to a young fighter coming up?

OM: Just keep on keeping on and to never give up. Even before I came champion I lost five fights. When I lost the fight to Buster Douglas I said that I wasn’t going to give up I am still going to become champion. And I kept on pressing on ahead and God blessed me to become heavyweight champion of the world.

BH: Anything you would like to add to this interview or say to the fans?

OM: Come to the fights.

Interview turns to Oliver McCall’s opponent Vernon Woodward.

BH: Give us your take on the fight tonight.

Vernon Woodward: Ah, well I hoped I would get inside without getting caught with one of his wild right hands because that was what I have always heard about with him. For coming out of retirement he is still pretty tough, he has a solid left hook which I wasn’t really paying much attention too and I got caught with it and it stunned me but I stuck in there with him.

BH: You just fought a guy whom has beat Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes and Henry Akinwande to name a few, and he was a former world champion at that. How did it feel to step in the ring with McCall with all he has done?

VW: It was very exciting, I didn’t expect it to go three rounds and I wanted to go four but the referee did what he had to do at the time.

BH: Do you think it was a premature stoppage? You were throwing back when the ref jumped in.

VW: Yeah, well I don’t mind the stoppage; it is all right with me.

BH: You going to continue?

VW: You bet, I am going to get back into shape. I was called just two days ago and took the fight.

I would like to thank both Oliver McCall and Vernon Woodward for taking out the time after their bout to talk with the Doghouse, it was greatly appreciated.
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