Boxing: `It was rope-a-dope,' says McCall

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The Independent Online
The morning after his bizarre performance against Lennox Lewis, Oliver McCall let the world in on the secret: he was simply emulating Muhammad Ali's tactics during his famous victory over George Foreman in "The rumble in the jungle".

"My strategy was, and I know this sounds kind of absurd, a type of rope- a-dope," McCall said during a press conference in which he spoke virtually non-stop for 45 minutes. "The referee wouldn't go along with my fight plan. The couple of punches I did throw, Lewis was fearing for his life. That belt belongs to me. Mills Lane is a great referee but he didn't understand the scenario. I didn't have that fighting face, but I still thought I'd win."

Lewis was dismissive of McCall's explanation. "McCall is just plain mad," he said. "He says he was hurting me? Anyone who saw the fight would know that is just not worthy of comment. I was worried what I was going to do to him in the ring."

The next stop appears to be Henry Akinwande, but Lewis said: "Bring anyone on. I don't care. Eventually I will unify the titles. I don't really feel left out of the picture: let Tyson and Holyfield have their rematch and beat each other up and I'll take the left-overs."

Even that might prove difficult, however. Don King, who still effectively controls the heavyweight division, was as dismissive of Lewis as at any time in the last few years. "I'm not interested in him," King said. "His camp are great theme writers for the comedy of errors."