Thursday, September 21, 2023  |


Shawn McCalman aims to enter a new stage of his career against Money Powell IV

Shawn McCalman
Fighters Network

Rising super middleweight Shawn McCalman will take on once-touted Money Powell IV at the Overtime Elite Arena, Atlanta on Friday.

McCalman is excited to be given the platform to move his career forward having turned professional five years ago.

“I think it’s a pretty big fight for where I’m at in my career at this moment,” McCalman (13-0, 7 knockouts) told The Ring. “It’s a big opportunity to be seen by a large audience and I think a win over him will do a lot for my career and the stage I’m at currently.

“He’s a pretty good named opponent. I feel like he’s pretty well known in the world of boxing for the most part. A win would push my name out there and let people know I’m a serious commodity to keep an eye on in the future.”

McCalman, who is originally from Denver but now resides in Aurora, Colorado, was a late starter and didn’t get into boxing until he was in his late teens.

“I came to it after I made the decision not to go back to college after my freshman year,” he said. “I was a football player for a long time, I was kinda coming to the end of the road with that. I felt I wanted to do something different and boxing was always something I’d always admired, always loved watching, I’d always watch pay-per-views as a kid, go to fight parties as a kid.

“So, it was one of the first things that came to mind after I knew wasn’t going back to college. I was 19 the first time I ever walked into a gym. I made the decision and hit the ground running.”

Despite the late start, McCalman had around 75 amateur fights, losing only a handful, mostly at national tournaments.

During that time he first came across and befriended now Ring welterweight champion Terence Crawford. It proved to be a valuable experience that set him in good stead.

“I started to take part in his training camps with some of his guys and would spar some of the established professionals that were coming in and out of the gym that he was training at,” he recalled. “I really credit all of my ability to move so fast, even though I started so late, from being around those established professionals and seeing how they trained and being in the ring with them. Those were the things that pushed me to the level of fighter I am now.”

He’s not just limited himself to staying home and being in camp with the pound-for-pound king. He likes to stay active regularly travels as a sparring partner, which he feels has been beneficial keeping sharp between fights.

“It’s been a busy summer,” he said. “I was in Vegas when Devin [Haney] was preparing for [Vasiliy] Lomachenko, I was working with one of his guys Amari Jones. I came home for a week and got a call to be in Edgar Berlanga’s camp, spent the week out there with him, came back home and jumped straight into camp with those guys. I was sparring with Steven Nelson, twice a week [before his last fight.] I’ve been getting great work all around. Things have been going great for me.”

McCalman will bring that wealth of experience into this fight. It isn’t the first time he has have shared a ring with Powell. They are familiar with each other having previously sparred in 2017.

“A lot of it has to do with his natural gifts, he’s a tall guy, he’s pretty long, he’s got some decent power but other than that there’s not too much that worries me,” he explained. “Being tall and long presents certain difficulties but I believe I’ll still be able to get the job done.”

While the 29-year-old doesn’t have the amateur pedigree that Powell does, he is the bigger guy and also has been more active, both of which could ultimately prove pivotal.

“I had put some thought into that but we’ll have to see how he’s grown into the weight class from the time we sparred till today,” he said. “As fighters grow older their body matures and fill out more to certain weight classes, that’s one of those things we’ll have to see once we’re eye-to-eye prior to the fight at the weigh in and when we finally do get into the ring. I am the naturally bigger man, because I started my career at 175, I had few fights at ’75 and worked my way down from there, not that it was a hard transition. I do believe I will be the naturally bigger, naturally stronger guy come fight night.

“I definitely think activity is the name of the game for fighters in general. You have to keep a standard, even if you’re not fighting the best competition. Activity is a very important key and I’m really waiting to seeing how his timing is and what the affect of being out of the ring that long has done for him. I’ve never been out of the ring for that long at any point in my career. Since I started I’ve hit the ground running. I’ve stayed pretty active. I definitely feel I can take advantage of the ring rust he’ll most likely have.”

Another intriguing factor that favors McCalman is the fact both have a common opponent with differing results. One-time prospect Vaughn Alexander upset Powell in August 2019 but McCalman bested him in July 2021.

However, McCalman says he isn’t reading too much into that, though acknowleges it may help psychologically.

“Styles make fights but I believe it’s a funny situation,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. I don’t fight necessarily like Vaughn Alexander. I’m very versatile. I can be a come-forward pressure guy if necessary but I believe that I can’t look too much into it. I may have the mental edge, I’m sure it’s something he’s thought about. The mental edge to me is more valuable than a physical or speed advantage.”

McCalman’s manager, Jolene Mizzone, formerly of Main Events, feels the timing was right for her fighter to make his move.

“When this Money Powell fight come to us, we all agreed as a team this is the fight to take,” said Mizzone. “These are the type of fights fighters need to take to show everyone who they are. While Powell by no means is an easy fight, Shawn understands he needs to step up and wants to! You don’t see that often these days with some fighters coming up. This is one of the few reasons Fighters First Management and Main Events signed him. We all have known what Shawn has and know he will be victorious.”

Powell was a standout amateur winning three-national titles before turning professional in 2017. The now 25-year-old won his first 10 before suffering a defeat at the hands of Alexander (MD 8) in August 2019.

After a year off, Powell returned with a win and is on a three fight winning streak. This is a very important fight for him and he can ill-afford a second defeat if he is to live up to his initial promise.

This is an excellent opportunity for both men to show what they can do and would vault the winners career forward. Powell hasn’t lived up to his early billing, while the less celebrated McCalman has quietly gone about his business. Two things that favor McCalman is his size and activity. Those things will come into play and I think he will win an eight-round decision.

Scoby-Carmona, plus undercards bouts, will be broadcast on DAZN beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET/ 5:30 p.m. PT


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].