History | Feb 07 2020

On This Day: Oliver McCall suffers mental breakdown during rematch with Lennox Lewis

"If a kid is in rehab, you don’t let him into a major fight. A guy on drugs in withdrawal can do all sorts of crazy things," said Bob Arum after Lennox Lewis vs Oliver McCall II. Matt Horan tells the story
Lennox Lewis
lennox lewis vs oliver mccall  |  Action Images/Nick Potts

1. LENNOX LEWIS was a 4-1 favourite to avenge his defeat to Oliver McCall as the two former champions battled for the WBC world heavyweight belt on February 7, 1997. In their previous meeting McCall defeated Lewis via a second round stoppage, to take the same title away from the Londoner.

2. LEWIS was to earn around $2 million for the fight, which took place in the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, whilst McCall was offered a hefty sum of $3 million.

3. McCALL had a far from routine preparation for the fight. The year after losing his world title to Frank Bruno in 1995 McCall was marred with a number of arrests and charges for the “Atomic Bull”. He twice went into rehab on the back of being arrested for drug charges and antisocial violence.