Gerald McClellan

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Gerald McClellan
Real nameGerald Allen McClellan
Nickname(s)The G-Man
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Reach77 in (196 cm)
Born (1967-10-23) October 23, 1967 (age 53)
Freeport, Illinois, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights34
Wins by KO29

Gerald Allen McClellan (born October 23, 1967) is an American retired professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 1995. He is a two-time middleweight world champion, having held the WBO title from 1991 to 1992, and the WBC title from 1993 to 1995. McClellan was forced to retire from boxing after a severe brain injury suffered during his final fight in 1995, a loss to WBC super middleweight champion Nigel Benn.

Known for his formidable punching power and one of the highest 1st-round-knockouts ratio in the history of boxing, McClellan was dubbed ‘a miniature Mike Tyson’ by his promoter Don King (Tyson himself, while being incarcerated, reportedly called McClellan ‘the best fighter in the world,’[1]) The Ring magazine rated McClellan #27 on their list of "100 Greatest Punchers Of All Time".[2] In 2007, McClellan was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in California, not to be confused with the more widely recognized International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota.

Amateur career[edit]

As an amateur, McClellan was a four-time Wisconsin Golden Gloves champion, 1984–1987, competing mostly in the junior middleweight division.[3]


He trained with Kronk Gym being trained by Emanuel Steward.[1] After turning pro, he also fought out of a Palmer Park gym run by Sugar Ray Leonard.[4]

Professional career[edit]

"He seems like dynamo."

Mike Tyson speaks on McClellan.[5]

McClellan turned professional in 1988. Trained by hall of fame trainer Emanuel Steward, his early career was notable for a propensity for quick victories by knockout: only two of his first 29 fights went beyond the third round, although he lost both of those on the scorecard (in 6 rounds against Dennis Milton, 8 against Ralph Ward, in successive fights.) However, these proved only a momentary check on his career, as he captured the vacant WBO middleweight title by knocking out John Mugabi in one round in 1991, and the WBC middleweight title by knocking out Julian Jackson in five rounds in May 1993, after McClellan had survived some brutally hard punches from Jackson in the second and third rounds. McClellan defended the WBC title three times, all first round stoppages, including a rematch with Jackson. In the fall of 1994, McClellan separated from his long-term trainer Emanuel Steward.

Benn vs McClellan[edit]

McClellan moved up in weight to challenge WBC super middleweight champion Nigel Benn in London on February 25, 1995. The fight was watched by an estimated 17 million people on television and 10,300 paying spectators.[6]

In a savage bout, McClellan knocked Benn out of the ring in round one and scored another knockdown in round eight, but each time Benn was able to work his way back into the fight and kept landing hard power punches to the challenger. Referee Alfred Azaro was also roundly criticized for his officiating mistakes, which included impeding the challenger's progress when McClellan was trying to finish off Benn in round 1. McClellan was noticeably blinking repeatedly early in round ten, during which, after receiving a single hard blow from Benn who seemed to throw his shoulder into McClellan's eye, he voluntarily went down, taking a knee again.[7] McClellan took the mandatory eight count and the fight was resumed, but he did not throw another punch, and moments later he dropped to his knee for a second time and allowed Azaro to count him out. After the fight was over, McClellan immediately stood up and walked to his corner under his own power. He then sat down on the canvas and leaned against the ring apron, but while being attended to by ring physicians he slumped onto his back and lost consciousness. McClellan was subsequently strapped to a stretcher and rushed to the hospital.


McClellan had emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. He spent eleven days in a coma and was found to have suffered extensive brain damage. He lost his eyesight, the ability to walk unassisted, and was reported as being 80 percent deaf. Sports Illustrated ran an article about the fight and its outcome one week after the fight. McClellan's family flew to London to be by his side, and he was later flown back to his home country. He has recently recovered some ability to walk with the assistance of a cane, but he has not recovered his eyesight. In addition to being blind, his short-term memory was also profoundly affected. His three sisters, particularly Lisa McClellan, are responsible for his care. In a 2011 documentary broadcast by ITV (which originally screened the fight live in the UK), Lisa stated that Gerald is in fact not deaf, but that he has trouble with comprehension when spoken to.

Tarick Salmaci, a Kronk Gym fighter, claimed later in an interview that he had sparred with McClellan over a year before the Benn fight, and that after McClellan was hit by a jab thrown by Salmaci, McClellan started to blink hard and the session had to be stopped. McClellan initially claimed that he was thumbed, but later admitted to Salmaci in the locker room that he was in fact seriously hurt. Salmaci said that he found it strange that a fighter with McClellan's chin wearing headgear was being hurt by a jab, and that when he noticed McClellan blinking during the Benn fight in the same way, Salmaci was immediately aware that McClellan was in serious trouble. Also notable in hindsight was McClellan complaining of getting regular headaches after his first fight with Julian Jackson in May 1993. In the fight, McClellan's chin resisted Jackson's formidable punching power before McClellan won the fight in Round 5, but Jackson's punches may have done some damage to McClellan's brain, such as concussions, that weren't noticed at the time.[8]


McClellan has been the honoree at numerous banquets and award ceremonies, and fellow boxing world champion Roy Jones Jr., often pointed out as a rival middleweight champion during 1993–94 (indeed, McClellan actually beat Jones as an amateur), set up a foundation to help McClellan.[citation needed]

Nigel Benn himself has also helped to raise funds for McClellan's treatment, and the two men would meet again for the first time since their bout at a fundraiser held in London on February 24, 2007. Several items were auctioned off at the event and a total of £200,000 was raised.[9]

In May 2012, the World Boxing Council publicly appealed for donations to a trust fund set up in McClellan's name in order to help his sister Lisa maintain his 24-hour care.[10] In July 2017, McClellan took a turn for the worse, and underwent surgery to repair a malfunctioning colon. McClellan now uses a colostomy bag, and incurs colostomy supply expenses of about 500 dollars a month.[11] Former world light middleweight champion Terry Norris, whose Final Fight Foundation acts to protect boxers, made an appeal for the Gerald McClellan Trust, noting, "McClellan's organs are starting to shut down because of his brain injury."[12] Ring 10, a nonprofit organization that helps impoverished former fighters, provides McClellan with monthly food credit and raises funds to assist with payment of other necessities.[13]

Dog fighting controversy[edit]

According to an article in The Observer, McClellan participated in dog fighting.[14][15] McClellan's trainer and family admitted that McClellan was involved with fighting pitbulls, and on one occasion had used tape to bind the jaws of a Labrador shut before allowing his pet pitbull "Deuce" to kill it.[16][17]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
34 fights 31 wins 3 losses
By knockout 29 1
By decision 2 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
34 Loss 31–3 United Kingdom Nigel Benn KO 10 (12), 1:46 Feb 25, 1995 United Kingdom London Arena, London, England For WBC super middleweight title
33 Win 31–2 United States Virgin Islands Julian Jackson KO 1 (12), 1:23 May 7, 1994 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC middleweight title
32 Win 30–2 United States Gilbert Baptist TKO 1 (12), 1:37 Mar 4, 1994 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC middleweight title
31 Win 29–2 United States Jay Bell KO 1 (12), 0:30 Aug 6, 1993 Puerto Rico Coliseo Rubén Rodríguez, Bayamón, Puerto Rico Retained WBC middleweight title
30 Win 28–2 United States Virgin Islands Julian Jackson TKO 5 (12), 2:09 May 8, 1993 United States Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won WBC middleweight title
29 Win 27–2 United States Tyrone Moore TKO 2 (10) Feb 20, 1993 Mexico Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
28 Win 26–2 United States Steve Harvey TKO 1 (8), 1:51 Nov 7, 1992 United States Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.
27 Win 25–2 United States Carl Sullivan TKO 1 (10), 0:45 May 15, 1992 United States Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
26 Win 24–2 United States Lester Yarbrough TKO 1 (10), 2:02 Feb 24, 1992 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
25 Win 23–2 Uganda John Mugabi TKO 1 (12), 2:51 Nov 20, 1991 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England Won vacant WBO middleweight title
24 Win 22–2 United States Sammy Brooks TKO 1 (8), 2:07 Aug 13, 1991 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
23 Win 21–2 United States Ivory Teague TKO 3 (10) Jul 27, 1991 United States Scope, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
22 Win 20–2 United States Ken Hulsey KO 1 (10) Mar 1, 1991 United States Pioneer Hall, Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.
21 Win 19–2 United States Danny Mitchell KO 1 (10), 2:37 Dec 15, 1990 United States Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
20 Win 18–2 Brazil José Carlos da Silva TKO 3 (8) Nov 14, 1990 United States Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
19 Win 17–2 United States Charles Hollis PTS 8 Sep 14, 1990 United States Beloit, Wisconsin, U.S.
18 Win 16–2 United States Sanderline Williams UD 8 Aug 21, 1990 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
17 Win 15–2 United States James Fernandez TKO 2 (8) Jun 12, 1990 United States Metairie, Louisiana, U.S.
16 Win 14–2 Colombia Brinatty Maquilon TKO 3 (8), 1:42 Apr 26, 1990 United States Resorts International Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
15 Win 13–2 United States Ron Martin TKO 1 (8) Mar 10, 1990 United States Bristol, Tennessee, U.S.
14 Win 12–2 United States James Williamson KO 1 (8), 1:55 Jan 20, 1990 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
13 Win 11–2 United States Rick Caldwell KO 1 (8) Dec 14, 1989 United States Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
12 Loss 10–2 United States Ralph Ward UD 8 Sep 21, 1989 United States Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
11 Loss 10–1 United States Dennis Milton PTS 6 Jun 24, 1989 United States Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Terrence Wright TKO 1 (8), 2:00 Apr 14, 1989 United States Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Tyrone McKnight TKO 2 (8) Feb 19, 1989 United States High School Gym, Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Anthony Jackson KO 1 (6), 1:30 Feb 10, 1989 United States Cedar Creek Ice & Expo Center, Wausau, Wisconsin, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Joe Goodman KO 2 (6) Feb 4, 1989 United States Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Jerome Kelly TKO 1 (6), 1:52 Dec 3, 1988 United States Brook Park, Ohio, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States John Gordon TKO 2 (6), 1:45 Nov 25, 1988 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Roberto Abondo TKO 1 (4), 0:36 Nov 22, 1988 United States Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Danny Lowry TKO 1 (6), 2:00 Nov 3, 1988 United States Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Bill Davis TKO 1 (4) Sep 15, 1988 United States La Fontaine Bleue, Glen Burnie, Maryland, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Roy Hundley KO 1 (4) Aug 12, 1988 United States The Eagles Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. Professional debut


  1. ^ a b History - Kronk Gym
  2. ^ Eisele, Andrew. "Ring Magazine Top 100 Punchers Of All Time". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  3. ^ Gerald McClellan Amateur Record at the BoxingRecords. Last updated : March 1, 2006.
  4. ^ Night of boxing attracts only 311 paying customers by Chris Marti, The Baltimore Sun, September 18, 1988, p. 20.
  5. ^ Mike Tyson's thoughts on Gerald McClellan CNN, Larry King Live.
  6. ^ "Boxing: Benn bids to boost Gerald. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  7. ^ Tim Dahlbergap (2003-09-27). "Brain-damaged and blind, former boxer McClellan can't fight back". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  8. ^ Edwards, Stephen (7 February 2012). "Daily Bread Fat Tuesday Edition". BoxingTalk. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2012-07-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "SecondsOut Boxing News - Main News - McClellan's Plight Continues - Please Donate". 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  13. ^ "Ring 10 Veterans Boxing Foundation: a Beta Bomb of Brotherhood – Part 1, Our Suffering Champions | Boxing 101 | Sports Media 101". Archived from the original on 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  14. ^ "Fighting for life | Sport | The Observer". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  15. ^ "Boxer's life caught up in ring of dogs, fighting". 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  16. ^ "Fighting for life | Sport | The Observer". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  17. ^ "The sweet science shown up for brutal game it is". The Irish Examiner. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • After The Bell: The Gerald McClellan Story, by Wayne Lettice Lennon

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Title last held by
Chris Eubank
WBO middleweight champion
November 20, 1991 – February 1992
Title next held by
Chris Pyatt
Preceded by
Julian Jackson
WBC middleweight champion
May 8, 1993 – February 1995
Title next held by
Julian Jackson
Morris East
TKO11 Akinobu Hiranaka
Kennedy McKinney
KO11 Welcome Ncita
The Ring Knockout of the Year
TKO5 Julian Jackson

George Foreman
KO10 Michael Moorer