Dicky Elklund and the Clarke Brothers
In addition to having been a very fine boxer, Dicky Eklund is as complex a person as you will ever come across…
Most people think of Dicky Eklund as the older half-brother of Irish Micky Ward and as the character Christian Bale played so well in the movie The Fighter. However, in addition to having been a very fine boxer, Eklund is as complex a person as you will ever come across. During two of his fights in Halifax, Canada in 1981, there were some things that occurred that revealed still another side to “The Pride of Lowell.”
Alan Clarke vs. Dicky Eklund: 1981
Hidden in Eklund’s dossier was a particularly interesting and somewhat revealing fight at the Metro Center in Halifax, Canada in 1981. Dicky met tough Allen Clarke (20-4-1 coming in). The referee was one Honey Carvery. After a back and forth battle during the first eight rounds, Eklund maneuvered his Canadian foe into a corner and launched an overhand right. He then unloaded a devastating gut shot that caused the stunned Clarke’s hands to come down. Dicky immediately shot a left hook upstairs and Clarke was out on his feet. But it didn’t end there as the referee failed to smother Dicky’s unrestrained attack of eight or nine rights and lefts at full speed. Dicky had free shots at Clark’s unprotected head before Alan sank to the canvas unconscious. The crown was aghast and horrified. Clarke was lucky to have survived.
Meanwhile, a visibly concerned Eklund watched over Clark as he slowly recovered from the nonstop battering. This was Mercer-Morrison before Mercer-Morrison, but this was worse. Eklund was visibly upset at the referee. Reportedly, he then grabbed the microphone from the ring announcer and said something to the effect,” I hope Alan is okay, nobody wants to see anyone hurt like that.“This would endear him to the Halifax
Here is the YouTube and be forewarned: this is not for the faint of heart:
Chris Clarke vs. Eklund: 1981
”Dicky could have killed him on the ropes and let him off.”—Poster named dunski
Two months later, Eklund fought Alan’s brother, the highly regarded Chris Clarke (22-1 at the time), again at the Metro Center. Clark was a tough cookie and had defeated Aaron Pryor in the amateurs. In fact, he was the first Canadian boxer ever to win gold at the Pan American Games. Chris, the former Commonwealth (British Empire) welterweight title holder, had also split two with the rugged world title contender Clyde Gary.
After a slow start, Dicky, using his great hand speed, picked up the pace and trapped Chris on the ropes in the eighth and it appeared a repeat of the Alan Clarke massacre was in the offing, but for some reason Dicky deliberately backed off and let Clarke off the hook. Still, it appeared to everyone but two of the judges that Dicky had done more than enough to win. However, he shockingly “lost” a highly controversial split-decision. Even though the fight was in Halifax, the crowd roundly booed the decision. It was as if the fight had been held in Lowell. Many observers (including the announcers and myself) felt Dicky may have held back too much and that the earlier fight with Alan Clark may have impacted his psyche. Curiously, before the decision was announced, Dicky and Alan (who was in his brother’s corner) hugged each other in mutual respect.
Chris Clark finished his career in 1987 with a fine 29-4 mark while Brother Alan tallied a 21-9-1 mark. Eklund, a road warrior of sorts, ended up with a deceptive 19-10 mark and was never stopped despite having fought the likes of Kevin Howard, Dave Boy Green, Erkki Meronen, Willie Rodriguez, Reggie Miller, and Sugar Ray Leonard. On October 25, 1983, Eklund beat James Lucas to win the USA New England Welterweight Title. He won a rematch victory over Lucas in 1985 and then retired.
Here is the YouTube of the eighth round in the second fight and also the crowd reaction to the horrible decision.
As for referee Honey Carvery, he worked on for several more years in Halifax but my memory of him is not a positive one.