Benn vs. G-Man: Reflections

By Ted Sares on February 26, 2015
Benn vs. G-Man: Reflections
The fight and its aftermath have been covered extensively and I will not add to that angle.

The fact and implications are there for all to contemplate without any help from someone who was not even born yet…

“There was violence in the air, all around the fight.”—Brendan Ingle (Trainer)

“The twitching around his eyes and his inability to keep in his gumshield (he was trying to suck in air) prior to his defeat rest particularly deep in the memory. These were the warning signs, ignored until it was too late.”—Paul Hayward (The Telegraph)

“Boxing is war, and in war you have to be prepared to die.”—Gerald McClellan

“You got what you wanted to see.”—Nigel Benn

“I wish there were a way that some of this money that is out there could be put aside for a pension for the boxers or to help them in cases like this.”—Lisa McClellan

Twenty-five years ago in London,  ferocious Nigel Benn (39-2-1) beat bomber Gerald McClellan (31-2) by KO in the 10th round with the WBC super middleweight title at stake, but it seems like only yesterday—so firmly does this savage fight remain vividly embedded in my memory bank. I wish it had never happened.

This was a fight where you simply knew it would be brutal given the similar and intense styles of both combatants. It was like what we might expect from Lucas Martin Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov in April of this year.

The fight and its aftermath have been covered extensively and I will not add to that angle except to say that this is one of those instants where the melodrama is innate and does not have to be waxed poetic by some boxing “historian.” The fact and implications are there for all to contemplate without any help from someone who was not even born yet. This video says it all for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYCFR1KrD6g. It is retrospective reporting of the very best. Lisa McClellan, the ever-caring sister, asks:  “How does a man who nearly killed another man sleep at night.”  Benn’s answer is played out not through words “but by deeds: a ferociously hedonistic lifestyle, drugs, a suicide attempt and finally born-again Christianity, eight years after he fed a tube from his exhaust pipe into his car and hoped he would die.”

They have since made their peace and met in 2007.

Jim McGrady of the Boxing Tribune puts it best when he writes, “The Benn-McClellan contest was the type of fight every boxing fan wants to see, with a result that makes us wonder why we watch at all.” It can’t be said any better than that.

Note: Lisa McClellan is putting together a fund-raising dinner honoring the G-Man on March 28 at the Masonic Temple Ballroom in Freeport, Illinois. New York-based Ring 10 is one way you can help. Please join me in this endeavor.

Ted Sares is a private investor who enjoys writing about boxing. He is a member of Ring 4 Boxing Hall of Fame (New England) and a member of Ring 10 (New York). He is one of the oldest active powerlifters in the world and competes throughout North America under the auspices of the RAW, USPA, and the Elite Powerlifting Federations He is the 2014 EPF Nationals Champion in the Grand Masters Class.

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The Fight of Their Lives - Nigel Benn v Gerald McClellan February 1995.



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  1. Ted Sares 12:02pm, 03/01/2015

    From Jill Diamond:

    AN EVENING HONORING GERALD MCCLELLAN SET FOR MARCH 28
    EVENT IN FREEPORT TO CELEBRATE 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF NIGEL BENN VS. GERALD MCCLELLAN FIGHT
    FREEPORT, IL (Feb. 25, 2015)

    On February 25, 1995, Gerald McClellan and Nigel Benn waged one of boxing’s most memorable fights at the New London Arena in London, England.It was also one of the most tragic.Stopped in the 10th round by Benn, McClellan was rushed into surgery for a blood clot in the brain, and was left permanently damaged by the fight.Twenty years later, the former world middleweight champion, now 47, remains under the 24-hour a day care of his sister Lisa. He is blind, cannot walk without assistance, and he has suffered with a colon ailment related to his nervous system being altered permanently by his last boxing match.


    “It’s at a plateau,” Lisa McClellan said of her brother’s health during a recent interview. “It’s not got any better but it’s not got any worse. He’s maintaining good health. He feeds himself and bathes himself. He talks on the phone when people call. He loves visitors and company.”
    McClellan also remembers his boxing career with the exception of the Benn fight, though a reunion with Benn in England in 2007 did provide some closure for the two warriors.


    And while it’s an anniversary that is both bitter and sweet, on Saturday, March 28, Lisa McClellan will present “An Evening Honoring the G-Man” at the Masonic Temple Ballroom in Freeport, Illinois, with proceeds going
    to aid with Gerald’s medical bills, medication, and the costs of the event.
    Several boxing luminaries are expected to be in attendance. There will also be dinner, dancing, a live band and a silent auction of boxing memorabilia. The Masonic Temple is located at 305-315 Stephenson Street in Freeport, Illinois.


    A GoFundMe page has been set up for the event and to aid Gerald at: http://www.gofundme.com/n4hjic

    Tickets, priced at $100, may also be purchased through this page. Please note that you are purchasing an event ticket when you make your donation.

    For more information, contact Lisa McClellan at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Tax-deductible contributions to the Gerald McClellan Trust Fund and ticket purchases can also be made by sending a check or money order (made out to the Gerald McClellan Trust) to:
    Gerald McClellan Trust
    839 East Wyandotte Street
    Freeport, IL 61032

    Thank you Jill

  2. Kid Blast 12:53pm, 02/28/2015

    So am I. It’s too painful for me to watch.

  3. Dollar bond 12:38pm, 02/28/2015

    I’m glad you didn’t play the fight .  Do something different.

  4. Dollarbond 12:07pm, 02/28/2015

    I’m glad you didn’t play the fight itself.  Keep it different.

  5. Kid Blast 02:59pm, 02/27/2015

    Note: Lisa McClellan is putting together a fund-raising dinner honoring the G-Man on March 28 at the Masonic Temple Ballroom in Freeport, Illinois. New York-based Ring 10 is one way you can help. Please join me in this endeavor.

  6. bikermike 02:57pm, 02/27/2015

    Ring 10 you say….I’m up for that !

  7. bikermike 02:53pm, 02/27/2015

    lots of former fighters…some of them even ‘rated’.....are walking around on their heels…ditto football…and a growing population of ‘tuff man ’ contests..

    forkrise sake….even guys that test motorcycle helmets get benefis !!

    NASCAR ...cruising around an oval track at 210 MPH…may be hazardous as well…what happens to those that get chewed up in competition to get to the top…..each one being a ‘gate keeper’  Boxing would perish without them…..see USA HW prospects

  8. Kid Blast 02:53pm, 02/27/2015

    Please don’t take this the wrong way because at my age I stopped bragging a long time ago. BUT, that said, I just sent a check to Ring 10 to help out Lisa McClellan and it made me feel real good. I felt like I was at least doing something even if it was miniscule in the greater scheme of things. It just felt right.

  9. bikermike 02:30pm, 02/27/2015

    I remember this one ....watched it live..on some bar/satellite thing.Hard and heavy blows…both sides…including blows to back of head…both sides.

    Still…I don’t think those made a difference in the out come…

    Benn could have been behind by five points….do to ungentlemanly conduct

    ...and knew he needed a KO to win…
    McClellan would have gladly ended the match…..by taking off a portion of Benn’s skull ....at any time throughout the match as well. McClellan couldn’t catch Benn cleanly…and Benn could take a punch.

    Benn out fought McClellan…..some by intimidation

    Now…about the fighters who can no longer fight..??

    See what other major sports…football…baseball…basketball..soccer…track and field…etc..

    someplace..maybe tennis…there is a financial model to protect boxers from themselves….just like money is withheld from a young new employee ...to contribute to pension…disability…sick leave benefits..etc for govt/s programs..and of course ....public sector union ‘monopolies’

    Tough guys..tough division ...tough time to make it ..lots of trickery in those days

  10. Kid Blast 02:19pm, 02/27/2015

    I’m dividing my time between this article on Facebook and here. Lot’s of fun.

  11. Kid BLAST 02:17pm, 02/27/2015

    It would be so easy if the promoters would take a portion of each ticket price and put it in a fund. But they don’t want to share the pie with anyone.

  12. bikermike 02:13pm, 02/27/2015

    actually Ted…..it is more about these guy NEEDING HELP….

    Were it not for the various levels of authority taking a shave off most wage and salary earners’ checks….each two weeks.for disability and pension benefits ..holiday pay…and on and on and on

    most career employees would be completely strapped after three years of their retirement.
    By law..they must render some of their pay to future good…

  13. bkermike 02:06pm, 02/27/2015

    hold it…THE FIGHT WAS GREAT TO WATCH…..except for the offensive and defensive fouls..

    If you were to offer insurance to someone who said their main source of income was from professional fighting…..do you think it would be for the same rate as for john q…working at the local trucking company ??

    Boxing has been an interest for centuries…for much the same reasons.

    I ,like Ted Sares…and thousands like minded people….wish to see Boxing being operated in a more modern business model.

    Can’t blame Benn….nor McClellan for their performance…..both were trying to render one another unconcious…

    At the time….the refereening was about as good as was available

  14. Kid Blast 01:55pm, 02/27/2015

    Paul, that seems to be a part of the “new” style of boxing writing, particularly with the younger guys. They put their own flowery spin on what really happened and then they win writing awards. Makes me want to puke. But I’m just proud to do my thing and not rewire history.

  15. Kid Blast 01:52pm, 02/27/2015

    Thanks Biker. I do believe I could help many boxers with their finances but the issue is do they really want help.

  16. Paul Magno 01:26pm, 02/27/2015

    Great work as always, Ted…and don’t even get me started on these “historians” who somehow have developed the power to know exactly what was in the head of a fighter 60 years ago or the ones who choose to re-write history in their own image with stupid, arbitrary rating systems..As Ted clearly knows, a historian reports on what actually happened—he doesn’t invent narratives to re-write or “spruce up” history…

  17. bikermike 01:10pm, 02/27/2015

    Ted Sares continues to provoke more of us to look to improve our Sport of Boxing.

    If anyone could advise young men who acquire tremendous wealth ...in a short period of time…..as well as the thousands of competitors it took to overcome to get to that status…..Ted’s da man….

    This must be outside their immediate group…managers…promoters…trainers…and the rest….
    any purse will automatically get a small shave to ‘the after ring’ plan…

    ...or maybe you’d like to see former HW Champions dieing on a cot upstairs from an empty gym…....or unloading trucks to supply bars and resteurants…

  18. bikermike 12:46pm, 02/27/2015

    Kid Blast…...

    We all want to see an ‘ALL OUT’ Championship fight…all of us !!

    Benn and McClellan were two of the best of their times….in the weight bracket…and the money was right…

    The Fighters were right ...
    If you wish to discredit the way the fight was refereed..I’m down with that.

    Points should have been deducted REEEEL EARLY..
    ..for blows to the back of the head.

    ...and for the dishonest defense of bending so low…as to only offer your back and the back of the head..as a target for opponent

    The battle could continue….but with less foul blows ..and defensive fouls

    I’m not sure it would have made a difference…Benn scared the shit out of McClellan

  19. bikermike 12:34pm, 02/27/2015

    see…in a way…..we’re saying the same thing.

    A Title Fight like that could have never taken place today….due to much more professional refereeing..(I already know about some ...not so good ones) 
    The fight was to continue….to the last man….and it did

    From early on ....the blows to the back of the head were being ignored…as well as the dishonest defense of ducking so low….so as to only offer the back of your head as a target ...both well established fouls

    I’d say…..given the time and place…Nigel said it for what it was..’.What we wanted to see.’

    Had there been no problems after…??
    See…a post earlier.said it best…
    ...There must be some way to ensure a portion of each pro fighter gets set aside…before the promoters..managers…trainers..advisors…pr consultants…..All of them ...get a swack…
    Commission….assure some after professional boxing life is seen to….for the boxer.
    I’m told Hearns spent most of his money,,,,,FORTY MILLION… on his family…instead of an education/training path…they all wanted BMW’s….wdf

  20. Kid Blast 11:35am, 02/27/2015

    Yes he did. This fight had uncommon momentum IMO and was destined for a bad ending. Bad Karma all around it. I loved both fighters but afterwards, I backed away for a bit to reflect on my feelings towards boxing.

  21. bikermike 11:24am, 02/27/2015

    Nigel Benn said it best…‘You got what you wanted to see.’

    should it have been stopped sooner….?        not important.
    Thing is…sometimes a fight should be stopped and awarded a draw…before they harm or kill each other

  22. Kid Blast 09:37am, 02/27/2015

    All true and all sad Iris

  23. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:26am, 02/27/2015

    Another really great article showing the author’s heart is in the right place. The dirtiest and most dangerous punch in boxing is the rabbit punch…..another fine article on Boxing.com is posted with a video of Wepner/Bobick where Chuck, good guy and all, must have landed twenty rabbit punches a round on Duane with only two weak warnings from the piss ant referee. In the first Frankie Crawford/Sho Saijo fight in Japan all those years ago Sho landed hundreds of punches behind the head without a peep from the homer ref, who then voted lopsided for Saijo while the other Japanese judge voted draw and good visitor Nick Pope gifted it to Saijo by a point>

  24. Kid Blast 09:18am, 02/27/2015

    Tex, it exacted a collateral toll as well and impacted a lot of people. I stay in touch with Lisa, G-Man’s care-giving sister and I am bound and determined to help raise some funds for them via Ring 10 or any other way I can. At the end of the day, I want to look at myself in the mirror and say, “hey, I walked the talk; I did something.” I am very serious about this because I can’t stand those who wax philosophically but don’t do a damm thing to help where help is really needed. Sitting back and doing nothing is not the way to give back. Even a comment to Lisa on Facebook means a whole lot to her.

    Thanks for allowing me to emote but this is a very sensitive subject with me.

  25. Kid Blast 08:22am, 02/27/2015

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7to-Ch5Omaw

    Judge for your selves


  26. Kid Blast 08:17am, 02/27/2015

    @nicolas, the referee was French and spoke no English. He was dreadful. He allowed rabbit punches and head butts by Benn. But the very worse thing he did was allow Benn to continue after he had been knocked out of the ring in the first round.

  27. nicolas 02:15am, 02/27/2015

    I have heard that some have blamed the referee for what happened, in that he allowed Benn to club McClellan with rabid punches, and gave no warning. I remember the fight, but have not watched it since though it is probably on Youtube. Anyone have thoughts about this?

  28. Big Wally 11:34pm, 02/26/2015

    Very troubling. Too sad to even watch.

  29. Tex Hassler 09:13pm, 02/26/2015

    Boxing exacted a dreadful price from McClellan. Boxing can be brutal to the extent I at times wonder why I remain interested in the sport. Fine write up on the fight.

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