Dicky Elklund and the Clarke Brothers

By Ted Sares on June 30, 2012
Dicky Elklund and the Clarke Brothers
Dickie Eklund, a road warrior of sorts, retired in 1985 with a deceptive 19-10 mark

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.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Dicky Eklund vs Allen Clarke

Dicky Eklund vs Chris Clarke - Rounds 1 - 3

Dicky Eklund vs Chris Clarke - Rounds 4 - 7

Dicky Eklund vs Chris Clarke - Rounds 8 - 10

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  1. John Alexander Baker 03:38pm, 10/30/2018

    I could not continue to hit someone who is out cold and defenceless as Allan Clark was in that fight.  I do have the “Killer Instinct,” but only if I have to fight to defend myself or to protect a loved one. I don’t like to hurt anyone if I can avoid it and that includes hurting their feelings. But, sometimes people give you no choice but to stand up to them. That is why I didn’t continue to pursue a boxing career back in 1971. As a welterweight, I fought a middleweight in my first fight because the only other welterweight available was the Ontario Welterweight Champion. It was the bloodiest fight of the night and I just felt so badly for my opponent that I just didn’t want to hit him anymore.

  2. Mike Supple Jr . 02:34pm, 05/10/2013

    My Father Mike Supple SR and myself Trained Chris for the fight with Dickie we trained him to slip and move and box Dickie for this fight work on being a smart fighter and use counter punching when he had the the opening to do so

  3. the thresher 11:29am, 02/02/2013

    Chris Clarke, thank you for that wondeful and so very honest post.

  4. Chris Clarke 05:36pm, 02/01/2013

    These fights were brutal, but it was also REAL boxing. My uncle Allen was lucky the ref interceded, because he was literally dead on his feet.
    The judges in the fight between Dickie and my dad were obviously Halifax bias…i was in the audience and even I booed along with the fans….Halifax fans were true boxing knowledgeable back in the day…they knew who won what round because they cared about the sport and they paid attention. I respect my father for what he did in the ring but he at least drew with Dickie in that fight if not actually lost by a few points.

  5. The Thresher 05:16am, 07/02/2012

    I agree. Only Paret was worse IMO. And he seemed ok just two months later. That was one very tough kid.

  6. pugknows 09:27pm, 07/01/2012

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a beating. Maybe Kid Paret, but this was terrible. How did he survive it?

  7. The Thresher 04:42pm, 07/01/2012

    Thanks Tex and Irish

  8. NYIrish 03:08pm, 07/01/2012

    Thanks for a story on decency and kindness in the fight game. They are not uncommon but rarely publicized.

  9. Tex Hassler 02:13pm, 07/01/2012

    It is my guess that people who know little about boxing or boxers may think that a boxer enjoys hurting someone. While that may be true of some it certainly is not true of all. Sometimes it tears a fighter’s heart out to see someone knocked down or who is so badly hurt they may die or did suffer permanent damage but that is how it is with many boxers. Most fighters just do what they are trained to do and folks who write are likely to call it killer instinct. Usually it is just doing what you were trained to do and it is nothing personal. We know that what we did to the other guy, he would have done to us if he had the opportunity. Dicky Elklund was a good fighter and a good man. We have all made a few mistakes in life. This is an excellent article by my friend Ted Sares.

  10. The Thresher 05:47am, 07/01/2012

    Thank you mates

  11. norm marcus 03:37am, 07/01/2012

    When Dicky Eklund let Chris Clarke off the hook and lost the decision it could have well been Max Baer holding back on Lou Nova in both their bouts.
    Some boxers are afraid of their own power and that is not always a bad thing.
    Good writing here Ted, I enjoyed it and also learned about a fighter I knew little about.

  12. john coiley 01:56am, 07/01/2012

    I’d never seen Dicky fight til this one…what I’d heard about his toughness, his boxing ability, is justified…good stuff…

  13. Robert Ecksel 08:13pm, 06/30/2012

    Bob Mladinich wrote a heartfelt feature on Dicky Eklund last year. It’s worth checking out: http://www.boxing.com/starring_dickie_eklund.html

  14. Bob 08:02pm, 06/30/2012

    Thank you for bringing this great piece of history to our attention.  Both fights show what a supremely gifted athlete and superb boxer Dicky Eklund was. They also show that despite all of Dicky’s demons and transgressions, he is at his core a good human being.

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