Taking a look at famous sportsman of the past!
Gerald McClellan’s story is one of perhaps the most tragic in modern day boxing, with his infamous bout with Nigel Benn back in 1995 ending in tragedy and becoming one of the darkest days in modern boxing history.
The fight was arguably the most eagerly anticipated of the decade, and 13 million viewers tuned in to watch two fighters at their peak go toe to toe for the heavyweight title of the world. Having comfortably controlled the fight for large parts, McClellan began to display some strange behaviour in the later rounds, most notably being unable to keep his mouth guard in and seemingly be struggling for breath. In the 10th round, McClellan took a mandatory 8 count, despite not having actually having been hit with any great force. Disaster soon followed as McClellan once again took a knee in the middle of the ring, this time he did not get up, handing Benn what appeared to be an incredible victory. However, after collapsing in his corner and being rushed to hospital, it was revealed that McClellan had suffered a severe blood clot in his brain, and subsequently lost the use of his legs, eyesight and 80 percent of his hearing.
Boxing was rocked, and sweeping changes in the way the sport was supervised by medical staff came into force, with authorities keen to ensure such a tragedy did not occur again. For McClellan however, stories surrounding his private life, specifically accusations of being involved with illegal dog fighting prior to his injury, have seen sympathy for the fighter limited and his reputation ultimately tarnished.
Nowadays, McClellan relies on a trust fund set up by his family which pays for his various medical expenses as he gradually recovers his lost senses. A recent ITV documentary ‘The Fight of Our Lives’ captured the meeting of Benn and McClellan for the first time since the fight, and how the boxing world still has great respect for McClellan the fighter and warrior, raising over £200,000 for his charity. Ultimately however, his story remains one which many are keen to forget, and has been swept under the carpet by the boxing world in an attempt to erase this perilous aspect of the sport. Whilst McClellan now has regained his ability to walk and to speak, his life remains one fraught with difficulty, and he still stands as the main example of the real danger fighters face when they lace up the gloves and step into the ring.