ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–One of the biggest names in Stateline Boxing history was Freeport native Gerald McClellan Sr. He was a two-time world middleweight champion in the 1990s. Now his son Gerald Jr. is trying to build up that McClellan name again in boxing circles.
McClellan Jr. spent a lot of time this summer training at the Patriots Boxing Club in downtown Rockford. He has been getting ready for a pro fight coming up in early October in Kansas City. It will be his third fight since turning pro last December.
McClellan was an outstanding amateur boxer over a decade ago going 9-0. He ran into trouble with the law though and spent seven and a half years in federal prison. He was determined that when he got out, he would get his boxing career back on track.
“I had to find myself, get myself together,” said McClellan.
McClellan Jr. won his first pro fight at light heavyweight by a TKO in the third round. He won his second fight in April in Las Vegas fighting under Roy Jones Promotions on a card that included the sons of several boxing legends.
“There was like five to seven boxers that was on that fight card, and all of them are sons of champions and legends of the game,” said McClellan.
Gerald McClellan senior was a legend all right. He went 31-3 with 29 knockouts, 20 of them in the first-round while winning his two world championships. It all ended though in 1995 in a fight in London, England against Nigell Benn. McClellan was accidently head butted above the eye when Benn slipped and collided with McClellan knocking him down. McClellan got up only to take a couple more shots to the head. Then he went down for good. He suffered brain damage and lost his vision as a result of his injuries. He never fought again.
“The weight of just walking in the shoes of a boxing Hall of Famer, two-time middle weight champion, man one of the hardest punchers in the middleweight division, it’s a lot of baggage and a lot of weight on my shoulders,” said McClellan Jr., “But I look forward to the pressure.”
Get this, McClellan Junior’s trainer is one of his father’s former opponents.
“I’m currently managed by Julius Jackson and trained by his father who is three-time middle weight champion and a hall of fame boxer, Julian Jackson. My dad fought him twice and took the WBC belt from him.”
What does your McClellan Junior’s father think of McClellan Jr. resuming his boxing career? How supportive has he been?
“My dad is very, very supportive even though he can’t be there physically, he’s still there mentally and emotionally. I made it a ritual to where before every fight when I’m in my dressing room I call my dad up. I say, ‘Pops, your son is about to get up here on this stage and perform man. He says, ‘Listen, you’ve got this. I believe in you.”
“I’m taking care of business every time I walk in that ring and continuing on the legacy man.”
McClellan Jr. goes by S.O.G. Son of Gerald. He is 33 years old.