Category: Archive

McCullough to prove case in twelve

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

McCullough recently signed a contract for the rematch he’s hankered for since the tough points loss to the 28 year-old champ in California four months ago.
McCullough-Larios II will be held at the fabulous MGM Grand hotel in the Ulsterman’s adopted hometown, on the undercard of Bernard Taylor’s per-pay-view middleweight title defense against Jermain Taylor.
The biggest fight of his 12-year pro career?
“Oh yes,” he replied without hesitation. “I’ve been in Vegas for 12 years now and it’s definitely the biggest fight I’ve had anywhere – my first pay-per-view bout. It’s going to be huge.”
McCullough (27-5, 18 KOs) was besides himself with excitement. “It’s like a dream come true,” he said. “The first rematch of my career.”
He credited his promoter Dan Goossen for making it happen saying, “he pushed it and gave me a chance to fight again.”
“The Pocket Rocket” first sensed that he’d get a rematch with the 55-3-1 (35 KOs) Larios when he bumped into Bernard Hopkins, who promotes the Mexican with Oscar de la Hoya, at the Boxing Writers Association of America dinner in Vegas in early May.
According to McCullough, the undisputed middleweight king thought he’d beaten Larios in their first meeting.
“Hopkins told me, ‘we promote Larios but no way he won that fight.'”
When McCullough relayed Hopkins’ remarks to Goossen, the promoter told him that he was close to finalizing the rematch.
It’s since been a case of back to trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in the Los Angeles area for McCullough, a former WBC bantamweight titlist who’ll turn 35 nine days before his second crack at Larios.
Asked on what he’d do different in camp for the encore, McCullough talked of going into the bout in 100 percent condition this time.
“I knew I wasn’t 100 percent (last time) because I hadn’t fought in two years,” he said, forgetting the second round KO of Mike Juarez last September that ended an 18-month layoff following his unsuccessful bid for Scott Harrison’s WBO featherweight belt in Glasgow.
“Then in the second round my leading hand (the left) was gone. I hurt it in training but didn’t make any excuses,” he added.
“I wasn’t tired but couldn’t do things I wanted to do in the middle rounds. Between rounds seven and eleven, I sort of gave them gave them away, but even then he didn’t do anything.”
A notorious gym rat, McCullough said he took only six days off after the fight “because I was sore,” but has been running and hitting the pads since.
This will be his fourth bid to capture the world super bantamweight title. Prior to last February’s setback, the Shankill Road product was a gallant loser against Mexican legends Daniel Zaragoza (1997) and Erik Morales (1999).
McCullough also twice came up short in his quest for the WBO featherweight diadem, dropping decisions to Naseem Hamed (1998) and the aforementioned Scott Harrison two years ago.
His only winning effort came ten years ago when he went to Nagoya, Japan, and outpointed Yasuei Yakushiji to lift the WBC bantamweight belt in his 17th pro fight.
He relinquished the crown 18 months later after two successful defenses to challenge Zaragoza for the WBC’s 122-pound trinket.

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