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Random Thoughts from the Cheap Seats
by Steve Coughlin
And I thought I had Problems
Not to bore any of you, but 2001 hasn't exactly been the best of years for me and it's only January 15th. In less than a week's time I got DUMPED by my now ex-girlfriend, fell down a cement staircase, came down with the worst cold I've had as an adult and one of my best friends told me he's moving to Italy in March. I'm usually a "half full" kind of guy but all of this has been getting the better of me lately. Happy Freaking' New Year indeed!
But as my late, Irish, father used to say; "if you think you've got problems, just go walk out the front door & talk to someone else. You'll feel better in no time."
I did "walk out the front door" last week and, while I don't feel any better, I did speak with someone who put my trivial problems into the proper perspective - Lisa McClellan-Jordan. Lisa is the sister of former Middleweight Champion Gerald "G-man" McClellan.
For those of you who don't remember him, Gerald McClellan was THE rising star in the Middleweight scene back in the early to mid 1990s. I still remember the first time that I saw him fight. He was facing comebacking John "The Beast" Mugabi, one of my all-time favorite fighters at the time. NO ONE was a puncher like Mugabi. The Beast could put opponents to sleep with even a grazing shot and had just effectively ended the career of Marvelous Marvin Hagler with the brutal war they had given the fans. "Another easy KO for my guy The Beast" I thought, as a review of Gerald's record revealed 2 early losses. The first round had barely begun and I knew I was watching someone with very special punching power - but it WASN'T Mugabi. Gerald hammered "The Beast" in a manor that must have made even Mugabi proud. In less than 3 minutes, the G-Man had, well, mugabied Mugabi! And, in my mind at least, a new star was born.
McLellan's first shot at a word title came against another awesome puncher, Julian Jackson. I just couldn't believe my eyes as I watched the G-Man hammer yet another one of "my guys" into submission. They had a rematch but Gerald left no doubt as to who the man in the division really was with a one-round KO of Jackson.
After he defended the Middleweight title a few times with ease ( one of the defenses lasted less than :40! ) he was talked into moving up to the Supermiddleweights to fight another one of my guys & yet another vicious puncher - Nigel Benn. But this time I knew just how good Gerald was and actually feared for Nigel's safety. Benn was near the end of his brilliant career and I thought that he was taking on way too much in a young, hungry G-Man. What I didn't realize was that this was to be Gerald's final fight in the ring. While Gerald almost won in the first round by KO, Benn had somehow managed to get up. Nigel weathered the storm from Gerald and then really put the hurt on him. Benn won by TKO as Gerald collapsed in his corner in the 10th round. The fight was a brutal war of attrition that has left Gerald in a wheelchair.
You'd think that this was the worse part of the story but I'm afraid it isn't. I spoke with Lisa McCLellan-Jordan and things really haven't improved since that February evening in 1995. Gerald's ring earnings have all but disappeared and Lisa & her sister Sandra have become Gerald's care providers. It's what family is all about - looking out for one another. But they alone are providing for Gerald and covering the expenses of his day to day life. And Lisa husband's hart must be a big as Gerald's because the couple has taken in Gerald's teen-aged son as one of their own. All of this requires time AND MONEY! The family will always have the time, but do any of you readers think that money just shows up at your door because you're doing the right thing? If it did, there wouldn't be one child in this country that has to go to bed hungry or without proper medical care. But this country is littered with the poor and they're often treated about as well as litter.
ANY money the McClellan family would receive for Gerald would be greatly appreciated and would ease their financial burden tremendously.
So you'd think that the people in the sport would be the first to come to help their fallen brother, wouldn't you? They'd provide more than enough money & emotional support, wouldn't they?
Gerald's former stable mates from KRONK have never even come to visit him, much less offer any of their financial support. I must say here that there have been a few GOOD people in boxing who have helped the family. Jay Larkin of Showtime made sure that Gerald's hospital bills were paid in full. Roy Jones, Jr. and HBO put on a fundraiser that had generated almost $95,000.00. While $95,000.00 seems like a lot of money, at least $ 25,000.00 of it will be needed to make Gerald's bathroom handicap accessible. How long do you think you could survive on the remainder? You're right, not very long at all.
But there was one thing that Lisa said to me in our conversation that is still pounding in my head ( note to self: pounding in head may have been caused by fall down cement stairs): "It's the little people that have helped the most. Gerald likes grape soda, and there's a local guy who drops off a case a week for him."
You know what, I'm a little guy too damn it! And so is everyone of you reading this! So why don't we all send Gerald a grape soda ? I know it won't bring back his sight, his ability to walk without assistance or his career. But the family really would appreciate your kind words and any donation you'd be generous enough to give.
Please make a contribution of ANY size to help Gerald McClellan at :
The Cyber Boxing Zone,
c/o Grape Soda for Gerald,
13 East Drive,
Woodbury, NY 11797
And for those of you little guys out there who dig deep into their pockets, I've got a VERY special offer for you : Donate $25.00 or more to Gerald's special needs trust & the I'll send you on videotape some of the best European fights from last year. You'll get to see the amazing Danny Williams - Marc Potter bout as well as some of the best boxing action that you will not be able to find elsewhere. I promise you that you'll love this tape and you'll wind up watching it again & again.
So c'mon little guys - do the right thing! For the love of God, think about how often you waste $25.00. And think about this too - $25.00 is about the cost of one can of grape soda per week. Isn't a guy who literally gave up his health to entertain us worth a can of grape soda a week?
I sure as hell think so!
I Thought This Only Happened in the Art Community ...
Recently TWO ratings committees, the WBO & WBA, have actually elevated DEAD fighters in their respective divisions. Darren Morris "jumped" from #7 to #5 in the WBO super middleweight rankings. Sources close to the WBO confirm that if Morris can "continue to remain dead & look good while doing so he'll soon be in position for a mandatory title defense against Joe Calzaghe". Meanwhile, Sandile Sobandla "rose" from 14 to 13 in the WBA bantamweight rankings despite his untimely death from an automobile accident. A WBA rating committee member was overheard saying "... he CAN'T be hurt by any fighter now and I don't see any bantamweight beating him in the future either." OK, I made up the quotes.
Maybe It's Just Me ...
but I get the feeling that David Izon vs. Mike Tyson has fight of the year written all over it. I don't think that Izon could take a backward step if he had a piano tied to his back. My gut tells me that if Izon can take Derrick Jefferson's bombs he should be able to take Tyson's too. And this is the perfect test for Tyson too. An impressive win against Izon would make him a legitimate contender to Lewis, Ruiz or Klitschko. A win for Izon gets him the title shot he deserves.
Speaking of Heavyweight Contenders ...
These are all fighters rated ahead of David Izon and/or Mike Tyson : Vaughan Bean
Looking at this list from a half-full perspective, at least they're all alive. Kind of makes one nostalgic for David Bey & Bruce Seldon, doesn't it ?
Big Heavyweight News (NOT!)...
Holdin' Henry Akinwade is the new WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight Champ. He defeated the ever tough Peter McNeely inside 2 rounds on 3/17 for the honors. Can we finally get to see that rematch with Lennox Lewis ?
Unless He's Planning on Ascending in the WBO & WBA Ranks...
someone might want to stop James "hasn't been Quick now for almost two decades" Tillis from fighting Rob Calloway on April 13. Where the hell is John McCain when we really need him? Wasn't the news about Greg Page being near death from a beating Dale Crowe handed him in March enough for Tillis to reconsider this?
After Suffering Through Yet Another Roy Jones Jr. Fight ... the question I have for the HBO boys is: why do they continue to let Roy fight untested fighters while an undefeated World Champion like Koko Kovacs was deemed an unworthy opponent for Naz ? Answer that & stay fashionable.
Here Are a Few Fights I'd Like to See This Year ... Johnny Tapia vs. Erik Morales, Rosendo Alvarez vs. Yosam Choi, Tim Austin vs. Pauly Ayala, Johnny Nelson vs. Virgil Hill, Juan Carlos Gomez vs. Vassily Jirov, Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas
My Top 5 Pound for Pound as of 3/17/01 ...
Prince Naz Hamed
'Solo Boxeo' es Muy Buena ! ...
If you haven't been watching, check out the weekly boxing show on Univision called 'Solo Boxeo'. It airs on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern, 2 Central. Check your local listings for show time in your area. The show features competitive fights & top ranked contenders and has been getting a rating of 8 - 9 consistently. To give you an idea how popular the show is, the NBA game of the week draws around a 4 rating. You've already missed fights featuring Angel Manfredy, Jorge Paez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Yory Boy Campas and Julio Diaz to name a few.
Lock Him Up...
Davey Hilton Jr. has been convicted in a Montreal courtroom of molesting 2 girls under the age of 17. Sentencing will take place in mid-April. ANY amount of time he receives for this monstrous crime is far too little. Maybe he & Tony Ayala Jr. can share a cell ?
Watching the Mosley - Taylor Show, Three Things Crossed My Mind ...
1) There isn't a fighter south of 160 that stands a chance against Sugar Shane
2) Good guys can finish first - way to go Lance Whitaker !!! Our prayers are with your son's comeback.
3) While watching the Hagler - Hamsho fight with my now late father, he said "Leonard might be able to beat
Hagler, but he sure as hell shouldn't fight Hamsho!" I had the same thoughts regarding Shannon Taylor.
EVERY other welter would be well advised to avoid the Aussie tough guy at all costs.
Early Predictions for the Big Middleweight Unification Tourney ...
Hopkins over Holmes in 11; Tito over Joppy in 9; Trinidad over Hopkins in 12 hard-fought rounds.
As for Naz vs. Barrera ...
I sure hope that Marco Antonio has major medical coverage. Sure, he'll give the Prince a tough go while it lasts & perhaps even put Naz down a time or two, but at the end of the day Hamed will have Marco Antonio seeing stars & have the tough Mexican flat on his back. I can't see any other outcome. If Barrera thought Junior Jones hit hard, just wait until Naz lands on him.
This Makes Me Want to Puke ...
Gerald McClellan's brother made his pro debut in Wisconsin recently. His "promoter" is seeking to lure Nigel Benn out of retirement for a grudge match. Honestly, has there ever been a worse idea in the history of the sport ?
From the Cheap Seats,