There’s no video evidence from the time Oliver McCall and Franklin Lawrence sparred in 2007 in a Kentucky gym. But chances are it looked a lot like their heavyweight fight Friday at The Orleans.
McCall, who is launching a comeback at age 44, might have won a 10-round unanimous decision much the way he might have dominated during the sparring, but neither effort will get him closer to his ultimate goal — a title shot against either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko.
Lawrence offered some resistance, but not enough to pull the upset. McCall won to improve to 53-9 and retain his IBA continental title.
C.J. Ross (96-94), Jerry Roth (96-94) and Robert Hoyle (97-93) had McCall ahead on their scorecards.
“It was tougher than I expected,” McCall said. “I was pleased I was able to land the jab in the late rounds. I was able to throw the hook, too, and that helped my confidence.”
McCall said a groin injury limited his roadwork leading to the fight.
“I was worried about my conditioning because I haven’t run much in the last month,” he said. “If I can go 10 rounds and not be able to run a mile, I can go 12 rounds when I’m healthy.”
McCall, who weighed 243 pounds, was a 3-1 betting favorite at The Orleans sports book. Lawrence, who previously held the IBA belt, was spotting McCall 13 pounds and 11 years but didn’t appear to be moving any quicker than McCall. Lawrence was plodding along, providing a mostly stationary target for McCall to use his left jab, which set up his right hook.
In the fourth round, McCall started talking to fans at ringside, saying, “I got him … I got him.” But he never really did so.
Lawrence (12-2-2) appeared to have gotten the better of McCall midway through the fight but couldn’t sustain the slight advantage, as McCall hit him with a good body shot in the seventh round.
Afterward, Lawrence demanded a rematch with the former WBC heavyweight champion, saying he did enough to win the fight.
In the co-main event, the expected slugfest between super middleweights Isiah McFadden and DeMark Scott was one-sided. McFadden (3-1) knocked out Scott with a big overhand right to the head late in the first round. Referee Tony Weeks didn’t bother to count, and Scott (3-3-1) was a TKO victim at 2:34.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.