Vital Boxing | Benn’s Finest but Darkest Hour!
Vital Login
Social Login

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Boxing, It's Vital'

Benn’s Finest but Darkest Hour!

Yesterday (Sunday) with very little of interest on the television, I took the opportunity to watch one of the most brutal fights I’ve watched, a fight between Nigel Benn and Gerald McClellan.

It was a fight that enthralled the watching audience but a fight that was to have tragic consequences for the American who was trying to wrestle away Benn’s WBC super-middleweight title.

McClellan arrived in London as something of a slick operator who was quite capable of taking out his opponent with a single punch. Benn, on the other hand, had resurrected his career over in the USA and possessed punching power in both hands that could trouble anyone.

In the build up to the fight, McClellan was the clear favourite and the ringside pundits expected Benn to be blown away, some predicting a very early finish to the fight.

As both boxers made their way to the ring the atmosphere was unbelievable, the flamboyant Don King led McClellan out whilst Benn entered the ring to the sound of Big Ben. Once the formalities were over, the action was to begin in sensational style.

The first round saw McClellan go on the attack and Benn was trapped against the ropes, a flurry of punches to the top and side of the head, saw Benn slump to the canvas his body slumped the wrong side of the ropes.

Gathering his senses together, Benn pulled himself back into the ring, the French referee being very generous with the count, as the home crowd hoped Ben could survive the remainder of the round. Benn’s legs looked unsteady and he shipped some punishing blows from McClellan but didn’t go down. The bell sounded to end the round and Benn slumped on his stool, his sense still scrambled.

The second round, remarkably, not only saw Benn come out fighting on an even keel but also saw McClellan troubled by Benn ducking down low and catching the challenger with some clubbing punches. As rounds three and four came and went, Benn was not only holding his own, but also starting to push McClellan back.

The challenger may have arrived with a record for dispatching opponents but Benn was showing he had frailties in his defence. By now the noise was incessant and just as it looked as if Benn was starting to edge ahead on points. McLellan struck again. Pushing Benn back into a corner, Benn survived a barrage of punches but looked in trouble. In true Benn style, showing the courage of a lion, he attempted to catch the American with a huge swinging punch, but missed, ending up catching a blow from McClellan on the side of the head and going down onto the canvas for a second time in the fight.

Benn now had to dig deep as the fight ended the latter rounds. One lunge forward saw a mild clash of heads, Benn shrugged it off but the challenger appeared fazed by the contact. The referee urged both fighters to resume the battle and Benn was to go into overdrive. A flurry of punches saw McClellan sink to his knees only to arise as the count approached nine, but Benn was relentless and sensed the American was in trouble.

Another cluster of punches saw McClellan again sink to the canvas, it looked as if the body could take more but his heart had gone, little did we know (at the time) was desperate trouble McClellan was in. Down on one knee, the challenger stared at the referee but made no attempt to get to his feet, remaining in the same position as the count went through seven, eight, nine and ten.

Benn, to a crescendo of noise, had won, he’d won against al the odds and was jubilant in the ring taking the plaudits from all four ring posts and knowing that he’d silenced the critics. Meanwhile, McClellan was slumped in his corner, surrounded by his corner-men and a doctor. Benn was almost manic in his celebrations, blasting all those media pundits that had written him off, thanking Paul McKenna for hypnotizing him and making him believe he could emerge victorious.

Unfortunately, behind him, McClellan’s condition was worsening. The American was now on a stretcher, connected to breathing equipment and clearly far from well. Gary Newbon, in the ring as the ITV interviewer, tried to make Benn aware of the seriousness of the situation, but somehow managed to call McClellan Mike McCallum not once, not twice but thrice! With Benn still celebrating the excellent win, was still verbally buoyant as the action cut back to the studio with the proviso that we’d be given an update on McClellan’s condition later.

Sadly, McClellan’s condition was far more serious than anyone could have imagined at the time and he was never to recover from the injuries sustained that night and had to get on with his life brain-damaged, partially sighted and in a wheelchair.

In the months to come and in the aftermath of the tragic ending, questions were asked as to whether anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy and was it avoidable? Well viewing the coverage yesterday there are several pointers in the fight that suggest all was not well with McClellan from the fourth round onwards.

The challenger seemed to be trying to constantly wipe his glove across the bridge of his nose, his gum-shield was hanging out of his mouth and as the fight continued he appeared to be blinking rather a lot. Also, at the finish, you wonder whether he’d have gotten up if the count had gone on to 100, or even if he’d, due to his injury, had forgotten how to get up, such was its severity.

Of course there are those that infer none of it would have happened if Benn had of been counted out in that brutal first round, casting the finger of suspicion at the French referee. But, as we all know, Boxing is a brutal sport, accidents can happen and those that enter the ring do so knowing the possible risks.

It’s a fight that will go down in the history books as one that established Benn as one of the greats of the ring but it’ll also be remembered as the fight that showed just how brutal this sport of ours can be!


The Journalist

Writer: Kid Glove Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday July 29 2013

Time: 4:34PM

Your Comments

love the article, such a brutal fight but one that will live long in my memory!
Al Billy
 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Vital Boxing Articles

Smith to Set Fast Pace v Braehmer (Tuesday February 20 2018)

Joshua Tells It As It Is (Monday February 19 2018)

Brook Looking Forward to Comeback Fight (Monday February 19 2018)

Groves Place in WBSS Final in Doubt (Sunday February 18 2018)

Groves On Beating Eubank Jnr (Sunday February 18 2018)

Eubank Jnr Reflects on Loss to Groves (Sunday February 18 2018)

Groves Beats Eubank Jnr On Points (Sunday February 18 2018)

Groves v Eubank Jnr – The Under-Card (Saturday February 17 2018)

Joyce Moves Closer to Chisora Fight (Saturday February 17 2018)

You Predict a Win for Eubank Jnr v Groves (Saturday February 17 2018)

Hughie Fury to Fight for British Title (Saturday February 17 2018)

An Evening with a Boxing Legend (Friday February 16 2018)

Froch Tips Eubank Jnr to Beat Groves (Wednesday February 14 2018)

Groves v Eubank Jnr Press Conference (Wednesday February 14 2018)

Burnett Added to AJ v Parker Promotion (Tuesday February 13 2018)

Does Joshua Need to Fight in the US? (Saturday February 10 2018)

Groves Responds to Eubank Snr’s Jibe (Saturday February 10 2018)

Frampton, McGuigan Split Gets Even Messier (Saturday February 10 2018)

Jones Ends Illustrious Career with a Win (Saturday February 10 2018)

Gassiev Reaches WBSS Final (Sunday February 4 2018)

Buatsi Makes it Four Wins Out of Four (Sunday February 4 2018)

Okolie Beats Chamberlain on Points (Sunday February 4 2018)

Golovkin v Alvarez Re-Match Date Set (Tuesday January 30 2018)

Usyk Beats Briedis in WBSS Semi-Final (Sunday January 28 2018)

Selby v Warrington Fight Confirmed (Wednesday January 24 2018)

Flanagan Bidding to make History (Saturday January 20 2018)

Saunders to Defend Title against Murray (Saturday January 20 2018)

Taylor Set for Soto Bout in Glasgow (Friday January 19 2018)

Price to Face Povetkin in Cardiff (Thursday January 18 2018)

Wilder v Ortiz Set for 3 March (Saturday January 13 2018)

Smith v Brahmer Set for Germany (Saturday January 13 2018)

Taylor to Defend Her Title in Dublin (Saturday January 13 2018)

Bad Boy Wilder Found Guilty (Saturday January 13 2018)

Khan Set for UK Ring Return (Saturday January 13 2018)

Quigg World Title Fight A Done Deal (Tuesday January 9 2018)

Date for Frampton v Donaire Fixed (Saturday January 6 2018)

Quigg Set for World Title Fight (Wednesday January 3 2018)

Joshua v Parker Moves a BIG Step Nearer (Friday December 29 2017)

Whyte v Browne March 24? (Friday December 22 2017)

Frampton v Donaire Confirmed (Friday December 22 2017)

Saunders Retains WBO Middleweight Title (Sunday December 17 2017)

Benn Wins on Points against Peynaud (Thursday December 14 2017)

Tyson Fury Talking about AJ Fight (Wednesday December 13 2017)

Brook Back in Action in March 2018 (Monday December 11 2017)

DeGale Loses World Title to Truax (Sunday December 10 2017)

Haye v Bellew II – 5 May 2018 Confirmed (Wednesday December 6 2017)

DeGale Tips Groves to Beat Eubank Jnr (Sunday December 3 2017)

Price Gets Back to Winning Ways (Sunday December 3 2017)

Ortiz Escapes WBC Ban (Sunday December 3 2017)

Cotto's Career End in Defeat (Sunday December 3 2017)

Hearn Rejects 65-35 Purse Split Offer (Thursday November 23 2017)

Haye v Bellew Re-Match – Postponed (Tuesday November 21 2017)

Conlan World Title Bid Ends in Defeat (Sunday November 19 2017)

Frampton Beats Garcia on Points (Sunday November 19 2017)

Frampton’s Illustrious Ringside Company (Thursday November 16 2017)

DeGale and Selby Opponents Named (Wednesday November 15 2017)

Benn Makes Successful Debut on US Soil (Tuesday November 14 2017)

Taylor KO's Vazquez in 9 Rounds (Sunday November 12 2017)

Smith Beats Williams on Points (Sunday November 12 2017)

Smith v Williams - The Re-Match (Friday November 10 2017)

2018 Will See Joshua v Wilder (Friday November 10 2017)

Wilder Would Travel to the UK to Face AJ (Thursday November 9 2017)

McDonnell v Solis Fight Report (Sunday November 5 2017)

Wilder Calls Out Anthony Joshua (Sunday November 5 2017)

Wilder v Stiverne Weigh-In (Saturday November 4 2017)

Disappointment for Dillian Whyte? (Friday November 3 2017)

Tyson Fury v Shannon Briggs? (Friday November 3 2017)

Archived Vital Boxing Articles

List All Vital Boxing Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. merlin 709
2. Al Billy 373
3. Putney 134
4. Red Boy 131
5. Fulham Badger 111
6. Kid Glove 80
7. oxfordspur 54
8. Vital Merlin 42
9. hogeyman 31
10. eliza jhon 19

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker?
Suggested By:  Kid Glove
Joshua to Win! 80%
Parker to Win! 20%
A Draw 0%