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 v Williams Re-Match Announced (Saturday July 22 2017)

Will Tyson Fury Fight Again? (Friday July 21 2017)

Flanagan v Verdejo Postponed (Friday July 21 2017)

Martin J Ward Makes History (Sunday July 16 2017)

Davies Jnr Loses to Syrowtka (Sunday July 16 2017)

Selby Beats Barros on Points (Sunday July 16 2017)

Haye Back in the Ring in December (Thursday July 13 2017)

Eubank Snr Courts Controversy (Thursday July 13 2017)

Pacquiao Set to Fight On (Thursday July 13 2017)

Brit Seeds Choose their Opponents (Monday July 10 2017)

More Taylor v Burns Talk (Monday July 10 2017)

Who Is Next for Ricky Burns? (Monday July 10 2017)

Taylor Wants Burns Fight Next (Monday July 10 2017)

Dubois Marches On (Sunday July 9 2017)

Skeete Retains British Title (Sunday July 9 2017)

Taylor Stops Davies in 7 Rounds (Sunday July 9 2017)

Pacquiao Requests WBO Review Fight (Wednesday July 5 2017)

Haye Retire? How Did You Vote? (Sunday July 2 2017)

Conlan Makes it 3 out of 3 (Sunday July 2 2017)

Buglioni Retains British Title (Sunday July 2 2017)

Summertime Brawl Running Order (Saturday July 1 2017)

Iron Mike Turns 51 (Friday June 30 2017)

Benn v Collins - Reactions (Friday June 30 2017)

Benn v Collins III Is On (Thursday June 29 2017)

Ward Hints at Bellew Fight (Tuesday June 27 2017)

Has Whyte Got Wilder Riled? (Sunday June 25 2017)

Josh Kelly – A New Star is Born (Sunday June 25 2017)

Copper Box Arena - July 8th Update (Thursday June 22 2017)

Is This Golovkin’s Last Fight? (Thursday June 22 2017)

Tyson Fury Let’s Rip Again (Thursday June 22 2017)

Brook Wants Another Fight in 2017 (Thursday June 22 2017)

Ward Beats Kovalev in Re-Match (Sunday June 18 2017)

Smith Loses Third World Title Bid (Sunday June 18 2017)

Wilder Arrested in Alabama (Friday June 16 2017)

The Circus Will Take Place (Thursday June 15 2017)

Haye Fined (Thursday June 15 2017)

Frampton Comeback Fight Confirmed (Wednesday June 14 2017)

Burnett Verdict to be changed (Tuesday June 13 2017)

Burnett v Haskins – Quote Fest (Sunday June 11 2017)

A Truly Shocking Verdict (Sunday June 11 2017)

Make Your Mind Up Wladimir (Saturday June 10 2017)

Bellew Set for Conte Bout Next? (Saturday June 10 2017)

Whyte Headed for the US (Saturday June 10 2017)

DeGale Disrespects Groves (Thursday June 8 2017)

Good News for AJ (Wednesday June 7 2017)

Frampton Set for July Comeback (Wednesday June 7 2017)

Tyson's Views on AJ (Tuesday June 6 2017)

Buatsi Turns Professional (Monday June 5 2017)

Crolla Talks Manchester Arena (Sunday June 4 2017)

Should Haye Call It a Day? (Sunday June 4 2017)

Haye Splits from McGuigan (Saturday June 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. hogeyman 31
9. eliza jhon 19
10. rorzzman 16

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Is Eubank Jnr the Best Super-Middleweight Out There?
Suggested By:  Kid Glove
Yes! 72%
No! 28%
Undecided! 0%