Feature | Oct 23 2015

On this day Gerald McClellan was born

James Slater reflects on the tragedy and drama of McClellan's career
Gerald McClellan
GeraldMcClellan  |  Action Images

ON this day in 1967 in Freeport, Illinois, future middleweight world champion Gerald McClellan was born. A fearsome talent known as “The G-Man,” McClellan would rise to fame as a special fighter, but his tragic, career-ending war with Nigel Benn is what Gerald will always be most remembered for.

McClellan turned pro in 1988, his pro career coming on the back of impressive amateur wins over such talent as Roy Jones Junior and future heavyweight ruler Michael Moorer. Fast, athletic and powerful, McClellan nevertheless  suffered early career setbacks at the hands of Denis Milton and Ralph Ward, both of whom out-pointed him. Just over three years into his pro career, McClellan won his first title: destroying what was left of the once formidable John Mugabi. McClellan ruined “The Beast” inside a single round, in London, in November of 1991, picking up the vacant WBO middleweight strap. Bigger wins would soon belong to McClellan.

Soon relinquishing the WBO title, McClellan challenged another fearsome banger in the form of Julian Jackson. A terrific battle ensue in May of 1993, with both men trading bombs. Eventually, after showing both heart and a solid chin, McClellan, then aged 25 and approaching his absolute prime, got the win in crushing style in the fifth round. Now the WBC king, McClellan retained three times, winning inside a round on each occasion; including a rematch win over Jackson. Then, in February of 1995, when true stardom appeared to be his for the taking, McClellan signed to fight ruling  WBC super-middleweight champ Benn. Things would never be the same for either fighter.


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