Exclusive Interview With Gerald McClellan Jr: “I Know What I’ve Inherited From My Father”

Gerald McClellan Junior went pro at 175 pounds back in December, scoring a third-round TKO in his hometown of Freeport. The 33-year-old who is attempting to follow in the shoes of the great “G-Man,” Gerald McClellan Snr, says he now wants to have six fights this year.

Here, Gerald kindly talks about his career and the goals he has set for himself.

Q: It’s great to be able to speak with you, to hear your story of being the next generation McClellan. G-Man was a great, great fighter. You had your pro debut back in December?

Gerald McClellan Jr: “Thank you. Yeah, December. I’m a light-heavyweight, 175. As of right now, I’m looking to stay at 175, but I have had thoughts of fighting at super-middleweight. My father’s last fight was at super-middleweight and I sort of want to pick up where he left off. So it’s either 175 or 168 because I would like to fight at 168 and then move up, but as of right now, 175 is perfect for me.”

Q: How tall are you, you are a southpaw, correct?

G.M: “I’m six feet even. I’m actually an orthodox fighter but I can switch up – I can go southpaw or orthodox. People ask me – I just did an interview yesterday and I was asked, what’s my best punch? I get asked that a lot. I don’t know how to answer, because I have a right hand that’s just like my dad’s; the power behind it, the force behind it. And I go to the body like him. But me personally, I love my jab. My jab is my first line of defense, it’s my offense. I create openings and I create distractions with it. All my sparring partners tell me that my jab feels like a right hand. I like to fight on the inside, but me and my trainers, we’re also working on boxing, whereby I set up the knockout instead of just going in and brawling. But I have a nice chin, I can take a punch.”

Q: How soon will you fight again?

G.M: “I wanna stay busy. I plan on fighting six times this year. As of right now, I have a fight scheduled for June 11 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Everything is set in stone for that fight but I’d really like to have a fight right before that one. I’m in contact with local promoters, putting on shows and things like that, but me and my coach, we want to stay busy this year.”

Q: I read an interview with you, where you said you are having trouble getting guys to agree to fight you, already, at this stage in your career. The McClellan names scares them off, I guess?

G.M: “Yeah, it’s kind of frustrating because all I wanna do is fight; that’s how I express myself. I’ve got a very big love for the sport of boxing and I’m a student of the game too. With me being the son of a legend, a two-time middleweight champion, and with my dad being a devastating puncher, it’s like a gift and a curse [for me]. The carpet is gonna be laid out for me, with news and different managers and differing promoters trying to contact me and stuff like that. But at the same time, you got a guy like me having my pro debut, and fighters and trainers might think I’ve been in the gym for years and have had a whole bunch of elite training, but that’s not the case. I actually joined boxing a little later, when I was going on 18 years old. You know, the other sons of champions – Conor Benn and Nico Ali Walsh. I would say that they have everything put out in front of them.

“Benn still has his father in his life, so he has financial backing, the connections, an elite gym to go into and good sparring, and all the perks. But me, I’ve had to work my way from the ground up. I had it harder. I had no help whatsoever. I had no one backing me, I had no kind of boxing connections with anyone famous to help me out or anything like that. Ali Wash, his pro debut was on the under-card of a Shakur Stevenson title fight so he got so much exposure for his pro debut. I think he was signed with Bob Arum even before his pro debut. The boxing world knows my dad, of course, they know the impact he had on boxing. But with my dad being disabled right now, blind, and paralyzed, I’ve really had to do the groundwork myself and create the platform myself. My debut, which was on a local card in my hometown of Freeport, the first four fighters who I was supposed to face, they all pulled out on me with some excuse. The guy I did face, he was like 16 pounds heavier than me. I didn’t care because I just wanted to fight so bad.”

Q: How many amateur fights did you have?

G.M: “I only had 20 amateur fights. I had a short amateur career. The reason is because I never liked the amateur style – you know, the pitter-patter combinations, racking up points and the judges give it to the fighter who seemed to be busier. My style was always a pro-style: calm, sit on my punches and set things up, and of course three-minute rounds, not minute-and-a-half rounds.”

Q: What are your favorite fights of your dad’s?

G.M: “I like the John Mugabi fight. I love that fight, that fight was one of my dad’s where it elevated him to the next level of his career. I think that fight right there, it gave him confidence within himself and it took him to a whole other level as far as mind-wise, confidence-wise. In boxing, I’m a firm believer that you have to have absolutely no doubt you will win, that you are the best. You can call me cocky but I have an undying belief in myself. I know what I have inherited from my father.”

Q: If a big-name promoter came calling, who would you most like to work with?

G.M: “Oh, man. I see Bob Arum and Top Rank giving their young fighters lots of exposure. If Arum called, I’d be more than willing to do business with him. I already have a fan base that is bigger than most guys who have only had their pro debut. People want to see me carry on the legend.”

Q: How often do you see your dad and is he happy you are a fighter like he was?

G.M: “I just was on the phone with him, earlier this week. His personality is really one of a kind; he’s a funny, intelligent guy. He’s in full support of whatever I do in life, but what I chose just happened to be the same thing he chose as a career, and he’s very, very supportive of me in this. He’s showing a lot of interest in what I’m doing, in training, and how I feel after. We talk on the phone a lot. I just feel at home when I enter the gym, when I enter the ring. I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I have no fear of what might not happen, or of what could happen. I don’t live like that. My mind doesn’t work like that. When I want something, I put my mind to it and it’s done.”