Precious few combatants evoke the same swell of good will that will greet Wayne McCullough when he strides to the ring for the 35th time in a fortnight’s time. The former Super-Bantamweight world title-holder has had a frustrating Autumn to his career, with the shadow of an overturned suspension for irregular brain scans thwarting his attempts to regain momentum in his ebbing trajectory. A retirement six rounds in to a fight he appeared to be winning last June, on the back of a doctor’s intervention during the rematch with Oscar Larios, remain his only meaningful action of the past 40 months.
Aged 38, McCullough is approximately 194 in heavyweight years, and his clamour for one final title shot possesses precious little credibility beyond the memory of the courage shown in defeat to Erik Morales and Naseem Hamed.
But like a thousand former champions before him, McCullough refuses to relent, refuses to allow the unwelcome bed-fellows of old-age and inactivity stifle his dream. Whilst, I would never venture to encourage a brave, fit man like McCullough to retire, he has every right to practice the craft for which he is renown, but his legendary ability to hold a shot places him at greater risk to those more vulnerable under fire.
Opponent Alex Bacerra is unlikely to present the problems McCullough encountered during his pomp as a world class Super- Bantamweight, he has after all lost every time he’s encountered a contender worthy of the name, but he’s 11 years McCullough’s junior and the age old cliche of growing old over-night shadows the bout regardless of McCullough’s protestation that he’s comparable to the incomparable Bernard Hopkins in outlook and dedication.
Stay safe Wayne.
Full Press Release _____________________________________________________
McCullough wants one
more title shot
before hanging up
St. Patrick’s Day Eve, Monday Night, Mar. 16, WaMu Theater in MSG
Sean Mannion to be honored for 25th anniversary of world title fight at MSG
NEW YORK (March 2, 2009) – Former WBC bantamweight champion and 1992 Olympic silver medalist, Wayne “Pocket Rocket” McCullough, wants one more world title shot at that’s why he’s fighting St. Patrick’s Day Eve (Monday, March 16) “Erin Go Brawl II” card, presented by Irish Ropes Promotions, at WaMu Theater in the famed Madison Square Garden.
Limerick’s 2004 Irish Olympian Andy Lee (16-1, 13 KOs), 14 years younger than his 38-year-old hero, McCullough, headlines in the 10-round main event against 3-time world title challenger Antwun “Kid Dynamite” Echols (31-9-4, 27 KOs).
McCullough (27-7, 18 KOs), fighting out of Las Vegas by way of Belfast, takes on Mexican super bantamweight Alex “El Diablo” Becerra (19-7, 9 KOs), in the 10 round co-feature.
“Andy Lee was the only one on the Ireland’s 2004 Olympic Boxing Team,” McCullough spoke about his warm relationship with Lee. “I’ve always supported him and feel that he’s good for Irish boxing. We’ve kept in touch and we’re behind each other 100-percent. I believe he will be world champion. I’m looking forward to fighting again on the East Coast and in Madison Square Garden. The Irish packed the house when I fought in New York (1993), Boston (1993 & 1997) or Atlantic City (1998). There are Irish on the West Coast but not as many as on the East Coast. If we brought then all back to Ireland the island would sink.
“My goal is to become world champion within two years. It’s all about promoting and I thank Irish Ropes and Cedric Kushner for this opportunity to fight on St. Patrick’s Day Eve in Madison Square Garden. I should be a 3-time world champion because a lot of people thought I won against (Daniel) Zaragoza and the first (Oscar) Larios fight. I’m 38 but I’ve taken good care of my body. I’m an Irish guy who doesn’t drink and I have a gym in my home. I’m like Bernard Hopkins.”
Making his New York City debut in an 8-round bout is unbeaten light welterweight Dean “Irish Lightning” Byrne, who was an Irish National champion when he lived in Crumlin, and he later captured the Australian light welterweight title in his fifth pro fight. Byrne (10-0, 4 KOs), now fights out of Los Angeles, where he’s trained by Freddie Roach and has sparred at the Wild Card Gym with superstars Manny Pacquiao, Amir Kahn, Juan Marquez and even Oscar De La Hoya for a few rounds.
“He’s a tough kid who is a really good fighter but doesn’t know it yet,” Roach spoke about Byrne. “He’s learning to sit-down on his punches and has had two knockouts since he’s been with me. Dean’s learned a lot sparring with Manny, Amir and the others. He’s a lot of fun to watch, very exciting and cleaver for a young man. Early in his career he fought 10 rounds for the Australian title, so he already has that experience. He’s one of my best prospects.”
Scheduled to fight in 6-rounders on “Erin Go Brawl II” are Irish super featherweight champion Eddie “Pride of Tallaght” Hyland (11-1, 3 KOs), of Dublin; Philadelphia by way of Galway middleweight “Slick Fightin’Irish” Simon O’Donnell (8-1, 5 KOs); Limerick light heavyweight Jamie Power (4-0, 2 KOs) against Reggie “Concrete” LaCrete (4-0-2, 3 KOs), from Brooklyn; Jersey City super featherweight Danny “Little Mac” McDermott (7-1-1, 2 KOs).
Also on the card in 4-round matches are Massachusetts light welterweight Danny O’Connor (4-0, 1 KO), 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate; Brooklyn featherweight Sadam Ali (1-0, 1 KO), 2008 U.S. Olympian; former St. Xavier College star football player Tommy Brown, fighting out of Chicago and trained by Kevin Rooney, making his pro debut in the light middleweight division.
County Galway’s Sean Mannion (42-14-1, 14 KOs) will be honored at “Erin Go Brawl II” in honor of the 25th anniversary of his WBA light middleweight title fight at Madison Square Garden against the eventual champion Mike “The Bodysnatcher” McCallum.
Tickets, priced at $50.00, $75.00, $100.00, $150.00, $200.00, and $300.00, are on sale at TicketMaster.com as well as Jack Demsey’s in Manhattan, Hilltop in Elmhurst, and the Heritage in Yonkers.
For more information call Irish Ropes Promotions (212.868.9544) or go on line to www.irishropespromotions.com.
Bob Trieger, Full Court Press, 978.664.4482, firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Torres, Madison Square Garden, 212.631.5178, email@example.com