February 25th, 1995, London, England.
All fight fans recall what happened today a quarter of a century ago. It was the Gerald McClellan-Nigel Benn super-middleweight title fight. Benn won the fight, McClellan was seriously injured, and today, at age 52, “The G-Man” lives with the aid and constant care of his sister, Lisa.
Lisa, who has spoken so much about that fateful evening in London, was kind enough to talk with this writer today, on the 25th anniversary of the fight she will never, ever forget (and neither should you).
Q: First of all, Lisa, does it seem like it was 25 years ago to you?
Lisa McClellan: “No, not at all. It doesn’t seem that long ago.”
Q: Have people been in touch today, remembering the anniversary?
L.M: “Yes, we’ve had calls, messages, over the past two days. So yes, they do remember.”
Q: And as painful as the memories must be for you over that night, that fight, you want people to remember?
L.M: “Definitely. I want people to remember. Because Gerald gave his life doing what he loves doing. He always loved being a fighter and I want people to remember that. Today, Gerald remembers, but not really. He remembers fighting Nigel Benn in England and he knows something happened to him. He still asks about the fight, and he talks about the fight. How could we ever forget!”
Q: How many fighters come and visit Gerald, or call him?
L.M: “We saw a lot of fighters at the recent Ring 10 event. John Scully is in frequent contact, as is Mark Breland. And Michael Nunn, he’s been over to see Gerald, and they talk on the phone quite a bit.”
Q: You keep in touch with boxing, as you told me the last time we talked. What do you think about Deontay Wilder probably firing Mark Breland for stopping the fight with Fury on Saturday?
L.M: “I wish we had someone like Mark in the corner the night Gerald fought Nigel Benn. It could have been so different had the fight been stopped – and the fight should have been stopped in the first round (when McClellan knocked Benn out of the ring; the subsequent “long” count being the subject of much debate afterward). Mark Breland showed that he cared about his fighter.”
Q: From the UK as I am, the 2011 documentary ‘The Fight Of Their Lives’ was a very strong and moving piece of work. And you carried yourself with great dignity in that film. Were you pleased with the film?
L.M: “Not at all. In fact, I was so disappointed with ITV. They got what they wanted and that was it. And they never paid us for that. Don King was blamed, as they said he would not release the theatrical rights. Today, I still have my own feelings about the referee (Alfred Azaro) and you know how I strongly feel Stan Johnson should never, ever have been in Gerald’s corner. But today, the blame is not an issue. You have to put that behind you and move on.”