The G-man did not go out of his way for the TV cameras and, looking back at it over his early years as a paid fighter, he came across as almost dull when he wasn't crushing brain cells. Never said ten words words when none would do. Gerald was just short of rude and he didn't much worry about that. As long as he got his check.
This attitude would perplex the television promoters. They want a knockout artist, but they also want a 'bit of personality' to go with the product. Still, what they suspected was that there was steel in his sullen mien. The G-man would not let them down in the ring. Gerald was what his sister Lisa called a piece of work.
Gerald McClellan: In the beginning 2-2
A series of threads about Toney, Jones, Eubank, Benn and McClellan
'Nobody can beat me'
The start of Gerald's career should of been that of a favoured and groomed prospect. After all, despite missing the Olympics in 1998, he was an exceptional amateur and by now he was hooked up with Manny Steward at the Kronk, the most famous gym in the world. His career didn't so much as fly at first, however, as glide into a swamp. He had a couple of tune-ups,in Milwaukee and Glen Burnie. A round a piece against fighters their mother's wouldn't remember. Then came the call to boxings capital - Las Vegas. This, thought Gerald, was what it was all about. Someone called Danny Lowry went over in a round. Three weeks later, Gerald was entertaining the high rollers again, putting Ezquiel Obando away in the first. He liked Vegas. He could smell the wealth, and glamour. Lot of good-looking women in Vegas, too.
The deal with Manny is this: he's the boss. Lennox Lewis and Naseem Hamed would learn that. As Evander Holyfield had. There are not two ways of doing things just Manny's. Gerald wanted to go with Sugar Ray Leonard in the first instance, but when he saw Leonard leaning towards Roy Jones and when Jones went to Seoul instead of him, Gerald got mad. He knew then he wouldn't be taking Stan wih him on this journey into the pros, because he needed a fresh start after his amateur career had stalled near the hilltop. And that's how Gerald made it to Detroit, and Stan stayed on the other side of those tracks.
After Steward had given him a taste of Vegas, he took McClellan off to Auburn Hills, near Detroit, for another cakewalk. And Cleveland Ditto. And Biloxi (KO 2), Waukesha (KO 1), Monessen (TKO 2), Milwaukee (TKO 1). He was getting $300 for some of those fights. He was losing motivation. The kid who had to be bullied to spar his brother under the street lights in Freeport was starting to kick at the system. As, at the same time, was Nigel Benn, who was working his way through what he called 'Mexican roadsweepers' (none of them whom was Mexican, for the record). Nigel was feeding on the likes of Darren Hobson and Mbayo Wa Mbayo, Gerald meanwhile had Joe Goodman, Jerome Kelly and John Gordon.
Ten fights. Ten wins. Easy. Too easy. And then...defeat. On 24 June 1989, in Atlantic City, Dennis Milton beat McClellan on points over six rounds. The G-man could not believe it.How could this be? Maybe there was a flaw. Losing to an outsider was not a crime, but it didn't look good, for his credibility or confidence. Until that blip, McClellan had had it his own way, in common with all big hitters with a pedigree. In his first ten contests, he'd scored four clean knockouts, the first round. He had six wins that forced the referee to save his pummelled opponents, four of the four in the first round and two in the second. So, between his debut in Milwaukee on the 12 August 1988, when he iced Roy Huntley in the first, until he stopped Terrance Wright in round one eight months later in Atlantic City, Gerlad had barely had a workout. Gerald had always told Todd smarts would beat power. Now he was finding out what a good boxing analyst he was.They used to call Milton 'the Magician.' Born in the Bronx, he'd boxed in good company up and down the eastern seaboard, turning pro in '85 after being rated the best amateur light-middleweight in the country. By the time he got served up to McClellan, he was still had a respectble sheet, eleven wins against two losses and a draw, but he shouldnt of presented a problem. That summer of '89 though, Milton was too sparky for Gerald over six rounds.
In the boxing scheme of things, Gerald was entitled to repair his career against undemanding opposition. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong guy, Ralph Ward of Ohio was twenty-six, with no ring name, but he could fight a bit and was still ambitious. He came to fight that September with a record not unlike Milton's eleven wins and three losses - in the fight before the McClellan fixture, Ralph had been beated over ten rounds by Terry Norris, a considerable ring presence.Again, a lacklustere McClellan got slicked out of it, decisioned over eight rounds. Like the Magiacian, Ralph would go on to a losing spree after getting by McClellan.