In his own words, top journeyman Kevin McCauley tells Boxing News why, at the age of 43, it is time to hang up the gloves
THE TARGET was to get to 301 fights and then retire.
I wanted to get there to wind up Peter Buckley and Kristian Laight (who both had 300 fights) and I would have pissed it as well, if it wasn’t for covid. I reckon that robbed me of 60 fights.
So what am I going to do with my Saturday nights now?
I tried drinking and it’s not for me – I get pissed after four pints – and telly is too boring. The dream is get a gym, train and manage fighters and spend my Saturday nights having banter in the away changing room again. I want to get some journeymen like me. They are the backbone of the sport and there’s not enough of them around. There’s money to be earned. But I want prospects as well. I’m training my stepson, Frankie Powell, and he can be special. He’s 15 years old, he can dig a bit and he’s spiteful. I’m putting a lot of time into him.
He has just had his first amateur fight and is starting at a good age. I left it too late. Dad had 70 amateurs around Coventry, but he never pushed me into boxing. He wanted me to box, but thought: ‘Kevin never does what I tell him to, so there’s no point trying to push him.’
If I had turned pro five or six years earlier and sold tickets I could have been a prospect. I would have sold tickets if I had stayed in Brighton and turned pro at 21, but I moved to the Midlands and didn’t turn pro until I was 28. It was so stressful trying to sell tickets. Selling tickets used to really drain me. I didn’t want the stress. I fought better on the road. I treated it like a job. I turned up, did my job, got paid and went home. I learned out how the game works by talking to other fighters in the way changing room and I had the right team behind me.
Errol Johnson used to tell me what the opponent was like and every single time he got it right. He has so much knowledge and he’s passed a lot of that knowledge onto Paul Mann. I couldn’t have done it without them – and I probably wouldn’t have had the last two years if it wasn’t for my beautiful girlfriend, Hayley Storrie.
She went to every one of my fights, even if meant getting home at silly o’clock in the morning. I wish she had been there from the start. Perhaps if she had I would have taken it more seriously.
I smoked throughout most of my career. I gave up before I fought Dave Ryan for the Midlands title – and I won. To do 10 rounds out of the away corner and win was an amazing feeling and Dave went on to have a good career after the fight.
It depended what Kevin turned up. It depended on what else was going on in my life. If I was happy and in a good place I put up a good fight, but there were times when I had been kicked out of the house and had got off a friend’s sofa to go and fight.
I’m planning to put all my stories in a book. I’ve got an author who wants to write it and it will be a good read all about someone who spent 15 years dodging punches – and loved every minute of it. People say, ‘But you lose every week,’ yet there’s no better feeling than boxing. Nothing compares to the buzz of being in the lion’s den.
I’m gutted I’m leaving the game I love, but I think I made the right decision. I’m 43 so time is against me.
I got a bit disheartened over the last 12 months. I wanted to get some wins and I definitely won a few and didn’t get the decision. It’s been going on for 15 years and I’ve finally got bored of it! I should have 50 more wins on my record, but nobody does you any favours when you’re a journeyman. That’s just the way it is.
I don’t want to stop entertaining people, but it got to the point where I thought: ‘I’m done with this.’
Some journeymen try, some don’t. I always turned up to have a go and entertain. I wanted to give people their money’s worth. I wanted them to think they were watching their mate in a 50/50 fight. Most of the people who buy tickets for boxing shows don’t really know how it works. I was there to entertain, but I knew that you can’t fight every week and have a war every time.
Losing my dad [Tom] played a big part in my decision as well. Dad was in my corner for probably 97 per cent of my fights and now he’s not there anymore.
I fought at a good level at judo before I took up boxing. I was competing in big tournaments abroad, but I got a bad injury and fell out of love with the sport. I dislocated my left arm and it felt weak after that.
Funny thing is, my left hand was always my strong hand when I boxed – but it wasn’t enough to keep off Liam Smith. He was one of the best I fought – really skilful and slippery – and Ahmet Patterson and Danny Ball were good as well.
There were some easier nights. I was due to box on the undercard of the Ricky Hatton-Vyacheslav Senchenko show, but there was a curfew on the venue and I ended up getting paid for sitting around the changing room all night, then eating a cheese sandwich and driving home!
I’ve got a degree in criminology and social care and I was working with prisoners and people coming out of prison, teaching them boxing and giving them advice, before I moved back to Brighton. I only got that degree to prove a point to my ex-wife. She used to say I was thick and I wanted to show her I wasn’t just a sausage who gets punched in the face every Saturday night.
When I was a kid, I used to watch Rocky and beat my brother my up. I found the right job for me. I’m glad I boxed and I ain’t done too bad.