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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 11:22 GMT
McClellan's struggle continues
By Sanjeev Shetty

Nigel Benn lands a right hand on Gerald McClellan
Benn-McClellan was a savage bout

Gerald McClellan is a constant reminder to anyone of boxing's perilous nature.

On 25 February 1995, the native of Freeport, Illinois engaged in a violent 10-round battle with Britain's Nigel Benn which ended with the American fighting for his life.

Before the fight, McClellan was depicted in the media as a walking menace - after that fateful night in London, just walking would be a challenge.

Shortly after the fight finished, he fell into a coma, and surgery was performed to remove a blood clot from his brain.

He feeds himself and bathes himself, but as far taking an initiative to make himself an independent person, that has not happened
Lisa McClellan
on brother Gerald

Now 35 and living in his hometown, McClellan needs someone around him at all times - a task that is shared by his two sisters Lisa and Sandra.

"Gerald, physically is fine. He still hasn't got his eyesight, and he still has problems with his short term memory," Lisa McClellan told BBC Sport.

"Overall, he's not depressed or sad and he's very lively."

Boxers such as Michael Watson have staged remarkable recoveries after suffering boxing related injuries, but McClellan's sister says that her brother is still very dependant on care.

"There have been improvements as far as with his memory and his mind, but not a whole lot of other physical improvements.

"He feeds himself and bathes himself, but as far taking an initiative to make himself an independent person, that has not happened."

The cost of Gerald McClellan's medical care means that this weekend, a benefit has been organised in Rockford, Illnois to raise money.

A lot of them (boxers) have shied away from the fear, I guess, of seeing Gerald and Greg in the condition they are in
Lisa McClellan

The benefit is also in aid of Greg Page, the heavyweight fighter whose life has also been turned upside down because of injuries to the brain suffered through boxing.

But Lisa McClellan feels many leading boxing figures have not bent over backwards to help the stricken pair.

"A lot of them have shied away from the fear, I guess, of seeing Gerald and Greg in the condition they are in - that was the excuse I got," said Lisa McClellan.

"I guess I am a little disappointed because this cause is something that affects boxers - anyone of them could be the next Gerald McClellan or Greg Page.

"It would be nice to get them involved physically in Saturday's event and not just have them write a cheque."

Gerald McClellan in his corner after losing to Nigel Benn
McClellan collapsed in his corner after the fight
A year younger than her brother, Lisa McClellan has essentially given up half her life to look after the stricken fighter.

But she seldom ponders the sacrifice she has made during what should be the prime of her life.

"I really try not to think about it that way - if I had enough time to sit back and think about it - I would realise I would not have a life.

"So I just try to do something that is right.

"As long as Gerald needs me, I can be committed to caring for him."

But perhaps the most incredible thing about the McClellans is their attitude towards the sport that has left them in their current situation.

"I still love boxing and so does Gerald.

"I usually watch fights at night and I just keep him updated with what's going on - he's still aware of everything that's going on and he takes a lot of interest in it."

All donations for the continued medical care of Gerald McClellan should be addressed to: Gerald McClellan Trust, Fifth Third bank, PO box 120, Freeport, Illinois 61032.



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