Mike McCallum vs. Donald Curry

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McCallum throws a right at Curry

1987-07-18 : Mike McCallum 153¾ lbs beat Donald Curry 154 lbs by KO at 1:14 in round 5 of 15


  • McCallum was going to defend his title against Curry at Caesars Palace on June 23, 1986, but Curry, who was the undisputed welterweight champion at the time, had second thoughts about moving up to junior middleweight and decided to back out.
  • On April 6, 1987, the day Sugar Ray Leonard defeated middleweight champion Marvin Hagler, Curry filed a lawsuit against Leonard and his attorney, Mike Trainer. The suit stated: "Leonard and Trainer conspired to prevent Curry from entering the middleweight divisions to assure Leonard's unobstructed opportunity to fight the middleweight champion." Curry said he asked Leonard and Trainer for advice concerning his future, and they advised him to stay at welterweight and not to move up in weight to fight McCallum or Hagler. Several weeks later, Leonard announced he was coming out of retirement to fight Hagler. Curry sought damages in excess of $1 million.
  • The fight was televised live on HBO. Curry unsuccessfully tried to get Sugar Ray Leonard, who worked for HBO as a commentator, removed from the broadcast team for the telecast.
  • McCallum's purse was $475,000 and Curry's was $425,000.
  • Curry was a 2 to 1 favorite.
  • The fight took place at the Caesars Palace Sports Pavilion.
  • After McCallum knocked out Curry, HBO commentator Barry Tompkins told his broadcasting partner Sugar Ray Leonard, "You settled a case out of court here."
  • McCallum's one-punch knockout of Curry was named "Knockout of the Year" by KO Magazine.

From Sports Illustrated:

Normally a slow starter, McCallum planned to jump on Curry right from the opening bell. "I have studied him," McCallum said. "He has a great right hand and a good hook. Let's see if he can handle the pressure and my body shots."

In the second round Curry buckled McCallum's knees with a right to the head. McCallum slumped and then steadied himself. "It was a great hook," the champion said. "It was the closest I've ever come to being knocked down."

Curry stepped up the pace in the third round and was in command until the end of the fourth when McCallum caught him with a solid right to the head. The momentum shifted. During the minute's rest after the round, McCallum told his corner that Curry was starting to cover up to protect his body.

Thirty seconds into the fifth round McCallum threw a right hand to the body, and, as Curry covered, he fired a harmless hook to the head. McCallum was testing Curry, and inwardly he smiled. Soon, he thought.

A few moments later McCallum hooked twice and then showed Curry a slow right uppercut to the body. "I just wanted him to see the right hand," McCallum said later. With his eyes locked on the decoy, Curry leaned back and lowered his hands. "I just got careless and relaxed," Curry said.

He picked a poor moment to take a breather. Stepping to his left, McCallum turned hard, cracking the hook against Curry's jaw. The challenger never saw the punch. He fell backward, bounced once and then lay stiff, his hands over his head. Curry's eyes were open but unfocused. He heard nothing as referee Richard Steele counted him out.

External Links

"Curry-McCallum bout is off, Hearns-Medal is on" The Day, April 16, 1986
"Boxer Curry files lawsuit against Leonard" Lawrence Journal-World, April 7, 1987
"Loud Left From A Quiet Champ" by Pat Putnam, Sports Illustrated, July 27, 1987