Mike McCallum. The Bodysnatcher. Born December 7, 1956 in Kingston, Jamaica, McCallum had a strong professional career where he captured three World titles in three weight classes in the 1980s and 1990s. He was known as a tough fighter and an incredible ring general. With his knowledge of where he was in the ring and his mastery of pacing, he regularly caught opponents with flawless timing.
In the early 1970s, Mike McCallum proved to a sound welterweight amateur finding his way into the World Championships in 1974 and the 1976 Olympics representing Jamaica. He was unsuccessful in both outings but saw success throughout 1977, 1978, and 1979.
McCallum snatched a National AAU Welterweight title in 1977, the National Golden Gloves that same year, welterweight gold at the Commonwealth Games, and the National Golden Gloves twice in 1979. Also in 1979, he won welterweight silver at the Pan-American Games. After losing another bid for the Golden Gloves in 1980, he turned his attention to entering the professional ranks as a light middleweight.
He would start off his career in 1981 with an explosive knockout victory, something that would be the trademark of his career. That win over Rigoberto Lopez would be the first of an 11-match winning streak that year. He would also take on multiple fights in some months such as two in March and three in April.
The undefeated streak continued throughout the early 1980s cumulating into a showdown with Sean Mannion on October 19, 1984. This 22nd match saw the two square off for the vacant WBA Super Welterweight title which the Bodysnatcher won after 15 rounds of action.
His third defense of the belt came 27 matches into his career and was against Julian “The Hawk” Jackson. Known as a headhunter with hands of stone, Jackson was looked at as a true threat to McCallum’s title and streak. Luckily, the Bodysnatcher was able to take the Hawk down in two rounds.
In 1987, McCallum vacated the title and looked to move up to middleweight in the following year. His first match in the division was for the WBA Middleweight title and he suffered his first loss against Sumbu Kalambay in 1988. With a record of 32-1-0, Mike McCallum reignited his winning streak.
In May 1989, the Bodysnatcher took out Herol Graham in 12 rounds for the vacant WBA Middleweight title in England. The next decade would prove to be a much more challenging one for McCallum.