Before Christmas of '89, Gerlad went home to Freeport to think about his future. He told his local paper, 'I had a bad attitude. I wasn't doing anything and I couldn't get along with anybody. So I said, 'let me give it onemore try - three strikes and your out.
Another trainelr load of opponents came and went in 1990.
They lined them up and Gerlad knocked them down Gerald injured his knee in FEbruary 1991, but he kept going. He didn't want the third strike. TV still wanted a piece of him and he knew he'd get his chance sooner or later. Meanwhile the G-man was starting to ask hard questions of Steward, Davimos and King.
He was running out of patience
In November, McClellan came to London for the first time and put a shadow of the once- awesome John Mugabi away in a round to win the World Boxing Organisations's version of the middleweight championship. He impressed his London audience with the ruthlessness of his finishing, even if the title was more cardboard than Gold and the opponent was shot.
MClellan looked his usual awesome selfnin knocking Mugabi down three times and the title was OK, but not enough. He hungered for the genuine big time. The WBO meant nothing to him. Where were the big fights, he wanted to know, the big money?
Why wasn't he fighting Jones?
Roy Jones, meanwhile, was pulling away from Gerald. He'd come home from Seoul a martyr, the victum of outrageous judging, and signed a big contract to turn professional. Where Gerald was quiet, sometimes sullen, Jones had a mouthy edge - but TV liked him, and even used him in ads to promote their boxing programmes. He was being groomed while Gerald was being ignored.
It stings a bit....?
ON 15 May 1992, he got another low-key TV gig.. back on the boardwalk.
Having given up his own WBO title Gerald was marking time in a non-title ten rounder, unusual in itself. His opponent was Carl Sullivan 'the Irish Asassin' Sullivan. This ws where Gerald's career had become becalmed. A win over Sullivan would do litle for his career, even if it topped up his credit cards.
Gerald jabbed with speed and power this night. Bolts. Liston-Like. Sullivan threw one jab, into McClellan gloves. Another range finding right winged the air. McClellan followed his left with a right to the side of Carl's chops, and Sullivans's legs bid his brain adios. A few more swipes through and over the guard, with a finishing left hook - as Al Moreland had taught him - and the Irish assasin was going nowhere but home to Momma's stew. It took forty five seconds, a TVKO record, Gerald's twenty third knockout.
Gerald had thrown fifteen punches, eleven landing; Carl threw two, both appeared to miss.Although the winner was gracious enough later to credit Sullivan with maybe brushing his left eye. 'Nothin', Gerald says. 'He might caught me with a right hand across the top of left eye, a hook or something. it stings a little. But it wasn't much.'
Stings a little.
I've looked at the tape several times, and the only blow Sullivan came even close to landing was a reluctant dab with his right hand that might have brushed Gerald's left eye. But it was a gnat nipping a tiger, if that. Yet Gerald reckoned it 'stings a little'. Superfically at least,something might not have been right. His expression looked drained, his eyes those of a man whose concerns were elsewhere. He may have known, even then, that inside his head, the parts werent working properly. It's impossible to ask him know.
Since winning his world title the previous November, Gerald had jumped on Lester Yarbrough in a round, at Auburn Hills in February; after Sullivan, he'd jump on poor Steve Harvey at Lake Tahoe in a round the next November, then he'd go to Mexico City in the February of 93 to jump on the unfortunate Tyrone Moore (TKO 2). More no-names.
These were dustbin fights. If a good fighter has too many of them, he loses his sharpness. He becomes complacent. If he is being fed what the industry unkindly calls tomatoe cans, he might cheat on his training. If unstretched in the ring, he will be unsure of how to handle pressure when it comes. If he has knockout power, he might consider it a waste of time training for a fight longer than a few rounds. It happened to Tyson. And, in a different way, it would happen to Hamed. Back in 91 and 92 the danger was it was happening to Gerald.
Gerald was almost certainly having hard fights in the gym. Already a world champion once, he was learning litle. His attitude was getting mean. He'd go missing a lot, demanding that King and Steward and Davimos get him some serious money or he'd walk, do it all himself. Gerald had no time for the grind of boxing politics. It was the way he was, all day. all night.