At 42-years-old, Jameel McCline – a boxer who had the chance to claim a world championship four previous times after graduating – is stepping back into the ring to face a Russian boxer in Moscow and try to achieve his ultimate goal: a championship belt.
According to an ESPN boxing blog,McCline is scheduled to fight Magomed Abdusalamov (15-0 with 15 KOs; age 31; a lefty from Russia) this Saturday.
"I'm just happy to be here and not look like the old guy trying to be something he no longer is," he is quoted as saying to NYFightBlog, from Moscow on Wednesday morning.
McCline had a troubled past. His grew up poor in Harlem, one of six children, according to a profile in SecondsOut.com. His mother sent him out to a group home on Long Island, graduating from Comsewogue High School in the late 1980s. But a year later he was arrested and spent five years in jail, 14 months of which were spent in solitary confinement.
When he got out, he set his mind on the ring and staying out of trouble. It worked, although the championship eluded McCline all these years.
McCline has also spent time travelling to schools to talk to children about his trials, helping them stay on the straight path. Although, he says he'd much rather face down a heavyweight in the ring than get up to speak in front of a bunch of school children.