Cool Hand

27 October 2008 – Cormac Campbell

Good things come to those who wait, and Co Down middleweight Jason ‘Cool Hand’ McKay has had to wait too long for a crack at the British title.

But finally at age 31, McKay has got his wish and a December 6 clash with the well regarded Wayne Elcock on the road in Nottingham for the British title is his reward. Now a member of the John Breen stable, McKay learned his trade under the legendary Albert UPrichard, where as a member of the HML club picked up countless underage titles.

I played for Gaelic football for my local club and at school until I was 15 but then the boxing took over, he told

I won three Irish titles before turning pro in 2002.

The 31 year old Banbridge man had looked value for a crack at Lonsdale glory as far back as 2004 as he lit up the undercards of former Matchroom stablemate Brian Magees memorable nights at the Kings Hall. Unfortunately for McKay, when Robin Reid inflicted defeat on Magee, he too would suffer. Gone were the regular opportunities to hone his craft in front of home audiences in the thousands and right around the corner was a contentious defeat at the hands of Englishman Paul Buchanan. Things were to get even worse in 2005. Just one fight, a points victory over Ojay Abrahams a man he had already beaten – highlighted that McKay was in danger of slipping away without ever getting the chance to prove his undoubted quality.

Despite these lost years, he comes across as a remarkably patient man.

Its all swings and roundabouts. Brian getting beat probably didnt help my career but there is no point getting upset about it.

Things improved considerably with the emergence of Brian Peters on the promotional scene. Regular contests could now be secured and the biggest fight of McKays career was secured, albeit at short notice, against world class Limerick native Andy Lee. Despite coming off second best in an entertaining and highly charged National Stadium contest McKay had proved he could give anybody problems.

The thing I learned most from the Andy Lee fight was not to take big fights at short notice! Saying that it was a great experience.

His performance was also good enough for the BBBC to sanction a title bout with former world title challenger Wayne Elcock.

Training for this fight has been going well. Obviously Ive seen him fight a number of times but John Breen and I will still be studying videos of him in action.

Although I work full time in the Tayto factory in Tandragee and train after work this is the first time I will have a chance to fully prepare and that will show in my fitness and my performance so I will be at my best.

Despite the strength in depth in the Irish middleweight division, McKay declined the offer to look ahead to clashes with the likes of Duddy and Macklin.

There are some great all Irish fights out there, but it would be foolish to look past Elcock as so many boxers have been caught out in the past.

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