View Full Version : Jones, Toney and Gerald McClellan

11-02-2011, 08:44 AM
Jones, Toney and McClellan
The super-middleweights

In November, McClellan came to London for the first time and put a shadow of the once- awesome John Mugabi away in a round to win the World Boxing Organisations's version of the middleweight championship. He impressed his London audience with the ruthlessness of his finishing, even if the title was more cardboard than Gold and the opponent was shot.

MClellan looked his usual awesome self in knocking Mugabi down three times and the title was OK, but not enough. He hungered for the genuine big time. The WBO meant nothing to him. Where the big fights, he wanted to know, the big money?

Why wasn't he fighting Jones?

The Amateur Rival


'But your hardest fight might still be in America, 'I argued, thinking of Don King's most chilling ko artist, 'against Gerald McClellan.'
'Yeah, McClellan would be interesting. He hits harder than anyone else.'
'You think he'll beat Benn in London?' I asked in reference to King's block busting promotion the following Saturday night which would match the WBC super-middleweight champion, Benn, against the rising middleweight title holder, McClellan. The winner would be angling for a multi-million-dollar unification match with Jones.
'Yeah, I think McClellan beats Benn. But, maybe, jus' maybe, it's gonna be tighter than some people expect. Nigel's a real warrior, he can still bang a bit - an' I think McClellan's jaw is kinda suspect when he gets tagged...'
'But can Benn's own chin absorb too many McClellan punches?'
'No, probably not. Eventually, Benn will go...'
'Which will leave McClellan calling even louder for you.'
'Sure, he knows that I'm the guy who'll earn him some real money.'
'What do you think of him outside of the ring?'
'I like McClellan - he's an okay sort of guy. He's quieter than Toney. We've known each other for a long time...'
'What happened when you fought back in the amatuers, when he beat you?'

'Well, I don' worry about that. It was just before the Olympics. I was already set for a spot on the team and the selection committee were determined that the other place was gonna go to Ray McElroy. So in the National Golden Gloves I fought Gerald in the semis and they gave him a 3-2 decision. Then they GIFTED the decision to McElroy in the final. That's amateur politics.
So I jus' said to Gerald after we fought. 'Okay good fight, we'll do it again one day...'
'Did he have a lot of power - even then?'
'Oh, yeah - he's always had power. He hits real hard. But I'd fight him just the same as I fought Toney. I won't jus' be standing there waiting to be hit. I'll move, I'll give him all kinds of cute angles, I'll give him a sample of my power. He can't take the kind of punches I throw. I think he'd go four, maybe five rounds and then he' be knocked out.'
'But McClellan seems to believe that he is the best giy out there...'
'Yeah, its interesting. I reckon he really does think he can beat me. But then so did James Toney. Those guys have thier self belief - that's what makes Gerald McClellan - he's just another fighter I'll beat. Sure, Gerald McClellan's a good boxer. Sure, Gerald McClellan can knock anybody out. But, after four rounds, Roy Jones kills Gerald McClellan.'

McClellan, meanwhile, was eager for a challenge. He told King, 'I'm ready now for Julian Jackson, anyone out there - Roy Jones, James Toney, all the big-name guys.'

The Kronk Rival

'Benn was never a bum, ' I moaned. 'Against Gerald McClellan, even you had to concede that Benn was a great fighter.'
'No!' Toney said indignantly, his eyes opening wide in fake protest. 'Nigel was knocked out in the first round. Gerald whipped his ass but the ref gave him so much time to recover. If that hadn't happened, Gerald wouldn't be in the position his in today. Gerald and me would've had a super-fight.'
'Were you a friend of Gerald's?'
'No, never,' Toney grunted again, shutting down space for cheap sentiment. 'Me and Gerald never got along. I'm sad about what happened to him. I feel for the man. But I gotta say I never liked Gerald. He used to say he beat my ass in the gym at Kronk. That ain't true! I was always so much better than Gerald! I've got the video tape to prove it. When we get home I'll dig them out for you and I'll show you how I mastered Gerald McClellan!'
'But do you think of him know - lost to boxing and even ordinary life?'
'I do,' Toney said quietly. 'Gerald is blind and shot. I've just read this Sports Illustrated article where they talk about his sisters and father fighting' over the little money he got left. An' Gerald's jus' sitting there in darkness.
Its' a tragedy..'
'And boxing did that to him.'
'It don't bother me at all. The cold truth is that Gerald was not in shape for that fight. He was never able to go more than four or five rounds. I go twelve without blinking.'
'But when you think about what's happened to some of your contemporaries over the last five years - Gerald McClellan, Michael Watson. Michael was in shape the night he fought Eubank.'
'No ones ever completely safe in boxing,' Toney said evenly. 'But I'm not fighting just for me. I'm boxing to build up Jasmin's bank balance., so that I can make her future safe. I'm willing to take any risk in the ring for her sake.'
James leaned over and tapped me lightly on the hand.
'Tragedies happen in boxing. But, baby, that ain't gonna stop me. I ain't ever thought about quitting. Not even when I saw Gerald lying there. there was never a doubt in my head. the way I look at it, you gonna die somehow.

So I fight on, I fight on...'

03-27-2012, 12:57 PM
The Fighter


Gerald McClellan was a bad man from Detroit;an unbelivably powerful hitter with a penchant for breeding savage pit-bull terriers. He induced a shudder inside me whenever I read a sombre profile of him or saw him knock someone out.
As he prepared to fight Britains own 'Dark Destoryer', Nigel Benn, at the London Arena, he revealed his philosophy. 'Outside of the ring,' he told Graham Houston in Boxing Monthly, 'I'm a real soft spoken guy. I don't say much, real quiet - but I'm an animal inside of the ring. I have a one-track mind which is to seek and destroy.'
Developing his bestial theme, he explained to Houston that 'a pit-bull is an animal that only one person can train, it can only have one master. They hate. Let's put it like this: me in the ring with another fighter is just like a pit bull seeing another animal, you know, it's nothing personal, it's just something you have to do.'

While I was amused by Gerald's descriptive powers, the image made me reel. The fighter saw himself as boxings answer to that hurtling eating-machine. 'When I'm in the ring with another fighter, I look across the ring and see this guy I have so much hate for, so much desire to knock this guy unconscious.'

I had had my fill of Darkness on the trail of Tyson and Toney; and so I chose to watch Gerald from a distance


Gerald McClellan: In the beginning


We follow Gerald's career as he works his way through the amatuers and turns pro

The start to Gerald's career should have been that of a groomed and favoured prospect. After all, despite missing the Olympics in 1988, he was an exceptional amateur and by now he was hooked up with Manny Steward at the Kronk, he most famous gym in the world. His career didn't so much as fly at first, however, as glide into a swamp.