Teddy’s Blackburn’s Book To Assist Ailing Boxer Gerald McClellan

By Off the BASN Sports Wire By Blake Maxey
Updated: December 6, 2005

***Photo Book priced at $50 with all proceeds to aid former champion; Blackburn assisted by Lou DiBella, Steve Farhood in charitable effort***

New York,—Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the champion in your life? Boxing Writers Association of America 2002 Good Guy of the Year Teddy Blackburn has published “In the Other Corner: A Tribute to Gerald McClellan” with the financial backing of promoter Lou DiBella. The ace boxing photographer is always ready for a good fight, whether it is a world championship to photograph or a world championship cause. The nifty volume, which was nine years in the making, is sure to knock out any true boxing fan. The book chronicles the most famous stories and photographs from the last decade in boxing. “In the Other Corner” includes a bevy of wonderful action and candid photographs – from McClellan knocking out Julian Jackson to win the middleweight title to Oscar De La Hoya shooting pool to James Toney enjoying a cigar in the bathtub to great champions like Leon Spinks and Roberto Duran posing for the camera that are sure to delight fight fans.

Contributions will also be accepted by sending a check made payable to the Gerald McClellan Trust Fund at the McClellan Trust Fund, c/o Fifth Third Bank, P.O. Box 120, Freeport, IL 61032.

Author and photographer Teddy Blackburn has been a well respected member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 1990. In 2002, the association honored Teddy by presenting him with the Good Guy of the Year Award, but his benevolence and generosity didn’t stop there. Teddy continues to emphasize the importance of the boxing community’s responsibility to take care of its own. “Many fighters have suffered injustices and injuries both inside and outside of the ring,” stated Blackburn. “This book is a tribute to a true champion. The G-Man gave the fight fans exactly what they wanted for seven straight years. Now is our opportunity to give back to a fighter who gave us his all and suffered life altering injuries in the ring. If you’re looking to help anyone this holiday season, this is definitely a worthy cause.”

Blackburn first met McClellan at the world famous Kronk Gym in Blackburn’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan. The two became fast friends forever, and part of the Motor City boxing lore with the likes of Thomas Hearns and Emanuel Steward.

The story behind the rise and fall of Gerald McClellan’s career is an emotional one. It began in August 1988 as McClellan would make his pro debut against Roy Hundley, who had boxed in over 10 professional fights. McClellan was victorious with a first round knock out within seconds of the bell. He went on to knock out his next 9 opponents, none of which would make it passed the second round. In his 11th and 12th professional fights, McClellan lost in controversial decisions to well-respected middleweight prospects Dennis Milton and Ralph Ward despite knocking Ward down in the second round.

At the end of his first year as a professional boxer, McClellan’s record was (10-2, 10 KO’s), but he had suffered two losses in a row and the people around him began questioning his true ability. With his back against the wall, McClellan continued training, fueled by his determination to be a champion. He went on to accomplish what no one thought possible. He reeled off 21 consecutive victories, shockingly 19 of which came by way of knock out. He became the WBO & WBC Middleweight champion of the world before suffering the biggest loss of his life on February 25, 1995.

Gerald McClellan decided it was time to take a step up in competition and weight class by challenging super middleweight champion Nigel Benn on his home turf in England. To the surprise of the hometown crowd, McClellan came out swinging, sending Benn sprawling through the ropes and out of the ring in just the first round. Benn wasn’t discouraged by the first round knockdown. He went on to dominate the fight keeping McClellan at bay with a precise jab. He threw two and three punch combinations that landed flush. The audience could begin to see that McClellan was being affected by the power punches Benn had been landing throughout the bout. Surprisingly, McClellan—tired and weary—came out in the eighth round and once again sent Benn to the canvas. The heroic efforts of McClellan would be short lived. In the 10th round he was knocked out and would soon learn his career was over.

After his battle with Nigel Benn, Gerald McClellan was left crippled. He had suffered too many power punches to the head, leaving him 100% blind, 80% deaf and confined to his home in Freeport, ILL under the supervision of his sisters. His struggle continues daily. With your help during this holiday season, some of his family’s problems and concerns can be alleviated.

Blackburn thanks DiBella, who funded the project, and Showtime commentator Steve Farhood, who provided editorial assistance for their help in making the idea a reality.

All proceeds from the sales of the book will benefit the Gerald McClellan Trust and will be donated directly to the injured fighter and his family. The book is priced at $50, and may be purchased via mail by sending a check or money order to Teddy Blackburn at 2985 Botanical Square Suite 6E, Bronx, N.Y. 10458. Checks should be payable to Fighters Need a Hand