Posted by: docdenbow | November 25, 2012

Best To Lose To A Bodyshot Ricky


Let me start by stating just how much I love sport. It’s true that from time to time I get completely fed up of the antics of a select band of footballers who dive, cheat and generally play-act in order to gain some advantage, (I won’t go into their off the field lifestyles and activities) but I usually return to watch games and enjoy them as much as before. I tend to forgive football as a whole as much as I may forgive transgressions of an errant lover, be hurt and angry at the beginning but ultimately I’ll take it back into my life. For me football is like that.

I do get annoyed, however, with the neverending pre-match and post-match and during match analysis of the minutiae of each and every game. Endless interviews with managers, coaches, players, former players, commentators, famous (and not famous at all) supporters. Get the idea? It gets on my nerves as it’s like sitting through a support act at a rock gig or warm up man for a comedian, you feel you have to do it or you’ll miss something you shouldn’t miss.

Football is not the only sport for me. I also love Rugby Union, and living in Wales the past 30 odd years have learnt more about it than I dreamed was possible. The trouble is I really don’t know who to support. When England play I am a true blue Englishman, following my team with pride. When Wales play, somewhat wistfully I wish I was Welsh so that I could feel the real emotion of the occasions at the Millennium Stadium. When England play Wales, I’m still English, which I think is just the way it should be.

Yet for all of my love for football, rugby and many others, I do have one true love when it comes to sport.

And the name of that lover is Boxing.

Now don’t book me down as some shaven headed tattooed lager swilling thug who lives out his “headkicking” fantasies by watching two men fight. No, that would not be true at all. I see myself (or is that delude) as a kind of boxing aficionado. Certainly a few years ago I devoured all of the TV coverage of matches in the halcyon days of Eubank, Benn and Watson. I soaked up the performance of Steve Robinson and watched as Prince Naseem made his arrogant way to the top. I was a huge fan of Marvin Hagler. Grandstand used to show highlights of the big American fights and I got to see Roy Jones Jr. Then we came to Joe Calzaghe, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Obviously there were many more, but I have no wish to just sit typing out a list.

I want to go back to one fighter and one fight. The fighter being Gerald McClellan and the fight being the one against Nigel Benn on Saturday 25 February 1995. This was a fight the world, and certainly UK, fight fans wanted to see. Two boxers with colossal punching power squaring off in the ring for the prize of WBC Super Middleweight Champion. The bout itself was compelling in its’ brutality with British fans, myself included, screaming for Benn to win, which of course he did when McClellan went onto one knee in Round Ten and failed to rise. This was a vivid image of capitulation, or so we thought at the time.

As McClellan lay gravely injured on the canvas his manager Don King crossed the ring to Nigel Benn and I felt at the time he had turned his back on his fighter in order to eat up and spit out another. I remember thinking “What the f*** does he want?” Don King always tried to back a winner, no matter the cost. Indeed you get the idea of what sort of man he is by recalling that he is responsible for two deaths in somewhat murky circumstances. In the aftermath of this brutal sporting event McClellan returned to America blind and crippled from the damage he sustained. Benn, the winner was haunted for years by the sorrow that seeped into his soul before he found peace in God and became a preacher.

I believe that the the seeds of McClellan’s horrific injury were sown in a previous bout. Julian Jackson was a fearful puncher, as was McClellan incidentally, where although McClellan won in the fifth round Jackson did land a few of his trademark punches. I’ve seen reports that the blinking seen by McClellan in that Benn fight was evident in this one, but I haven’t seen it for myself.

In much the same way as the seeds for McClellan’s injuries were sown in a previous fight, I do think it’s important to remember that prior to his life threatening injuries, Michael Watson was in a very hard fight with Mike McCallum where he lost virtually every round to an experienced and top class World Champion.

Ricky Hatton made his comeback last night after three years away from the ring. Unsurprisingly (to me at least) he lost. Vyacheslav Senchenko hit him with a blow to the body from which it was impossible to rise and with that one punch Hatton’s career ended. Hatton has been widely quoted of saying enough is enough and that he hasn’t got “it” anymore, recognizing as Barry McGuigan did before him, the time to quit for good. We as fight fans should be thankful that it was a body shot that drew down the curtain on Hatton’s career otherwise we may have another boxing tragedy especially bearing in mind Hatton’s boxing style and the devastating knockout from Manny Pacquiao.

As a coda to this I have something to say that many boxing fans will not like, so here goes.

It takes a special kind of person to be a professional boxer. There has to be dedication, discipline, single mindedness, confidence and many more attributes. You need to be tough and perhaps most of all you need to be a ruthless bastard when you step through the ropes. I have never met a professional boxer, I’m never likely to. I would love to meet Barry McGuigan to get his insights into boxing and I’m sure that he, along with a lot of other professional boxers are nice people out of the ring.

However, having done some research on this ‘ere web thingy, I have found a couple of assertions about Gerald McClellan prior to his injuries. What I have found are two articles from respected sources suggesting McClellan was a troubled yet odious individual.

Check the links for yourself

Espn

The Guardian

This piece below I pulled out of the Observer Guardian Article.

‘So he got this black Labrador, just went to the dog shop, told the man, “I need a dog to take care of, I’ll take this Labrador home,” and the man say to the dog, “Yeah, you got a good home now,” and Gerald takes the dog home. He takes the dog down his basement and tapes the Labrador’s mouth, takes his pit bull Deuce and says “Get him!” He lets Deuce start eatin’ the dog up while he’s timing it on a watch, see how long it would take his dog to kill this dog. And I said to Gerald, “Hey, Gerald, this Labrador wouldn’t beat Deuce, no way, so why did you tape his mouth shut?” And he said, “Coz I just wanna see how fast my dog would kill him, for one, and, for two, my dog’s a championship fighter and you don’t need no dog scratched up and bit up by no dog, by no accident. This is like sparrin’ for my dog, this is like my dog need to taste blood every day. My dog need to kill somethin’ every day, Stan. Just like a fighter need to spar every day, he don’t need nobody bustin’ him up when he got a big fight comin’ up. He just need to bust somethin’ up hisself. Right?”‘

Now I believe in karma, so maybe God is paying you back G-Man or maybe life and that poor Labrador is.

Ciao For Now

Denbow

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Responses

  1. Excellent read – never knew that about McClellan….

  2. HI Den. May I first apologise for being so slow to read and comment on this piece.

    I too like you enjoy sport and also enjoy boxing. I’ve been to many professional fights as my brother in law is a former professional boxer. But I agree with how you set up this great blog post. What happened to McClellan was a tragedy and the sport has certainly moved on since the 1990s with better refs, better docs and better safeguards to rush injured boxers to hospital. But the taking of a dog and killing it just to see how long it took his dog to “spar” with it is just wrong. I’m a big believer in karma and I believe in treat others as you wish to be treated and you speak for many of us animal and boxing lovers with this post.

    Peace friend! 🙂


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