Arturo Gatti Marathon Scheduled to Run on Fight Network

NEW YORK/TORONTO (Dec. 23, 2014) – Fight Network is going to celebrate Boxing Day in style this Friday (Dec. 26), airing six fights featuring the late, great Arturo “Thunder” Gatti (40-9, 31 KOs) from 9 a.m. ET — 9 p.m. ET.
 
Gatti was arguably boxing’s most popular, exciting fighter from his professional debut in 1991 until his retirement in 2007. He had an unearthly knack for sensational comebacks during a fight, as well as for enduring and dishing out tremendous pain.
 
The native of Italy lived in Montreal and Jersey City (NJ) during his colorful career until his untimely death in 2009. Known by boxing many fans as a “Human Highlight Film” in the ring, he was posthumously induted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) in 2012.
 
Fight Network is a 24/7 television channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports. It airs programs focused on the entire scope of the combat sports genre, including live fights and up-to-the-minute news and analysis for boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, professional wrestling, traditional martial arts, fight news, as well as fight-themed drama series, documentaries and feature films.
 
Below find the Arturo Gatti Marathon programming schedule for this Friday on Fight Network:
 
9:00 a.m. ET – Calvin Grove (49-8), May 4, 1997 at Caesars Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ
 
11:00 a.m. ET – Angel Manfredy (22-2-1), Jan. 17, 1998, Convention Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
 
1:00 p.m. ET – Oscar de la Hoya (32-2), Mar, 24, 2001, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV
 
3:00 p.m. ET – Terron Millett (26-2-1), Jan. 26, 2002, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
 
5:00 p.m. – Micky Ward (37-11), May 18, 2002, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT
 
7:00 p.m. – Micky Ward (38-11), Nov. 23, 2002, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
 
Gatti-Ward I was the consensus 2002 Fight of the Year, round nine the Round of the Year. The late Emanuel Steward, who was the HBO color commentator for Gatti-Ward I, called it (9th rd.) the mythical Round of the Century.

www.FightNetwork.com

Forgotten Legends: Gerald “G-Man” McClellan

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By: Steve Gallegos

Legendary boxing commentator Larry Merchant often referred to boxing as the “Theater of the Unexpected”. You never know what is gonna happen when 2 fighters step inside that squared circle to do battle. When a fighter steps through those ropes, they risk serious injury or even death. Some fighters end up not leaving the ring the same way they came in. This unfortunately was the case for former Middleweight champion Gerald “G-Man” McClellan.

McClellan was an all action, hard puncher with knockout intentions on every punch he threw. He was one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the early 1990’s until one night in 1995 when his boxing career and life were changed forever. McClellan was born and raised in Freeport, IL  and had a very successful amateur career before turning pro in 1988. Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, McClellan went on a rampage winning his first 10 bouts, all by knockout, not going past two rounds. He got his first taste of defeat in 1989, when he lost two fights back to back by decision; however it didn’t have any negative effect on the “G-Man“. He would go 12-0 over the next two years, 10 by knockout before getting his first world title shot against the very hard hitting John “The Beast” Mugabi.

They met on 11/20/91 in London where Mugabi had been in with some of the best throughout his career, however McClellan made easy work of Mugabi, dropping him within the first 30 minutes of the fight. McClellan kept up the attack and eventually stopped Mugabi at 2:51 of the first round. He would win his next four bouts, all  by knockout before getting another shot at a world title; this time it was against another very experienced and hard hitting fighter in Julian Jackson.

They met on 05/08/93 in Las Vegas. Jackson came into the fight as a 2-1 favorite, however McClellan proved the oddsmakers wrong by rocking Jackson in the first round with hard shots and immediately dictating the pace of the bout. Jackson would regain his composure and rock McClellan in the second. McClellan weathered more hard shots in the third while landing some hard right hands shots of his own. In the fifth, McClellan would land a huge left hook followed by two rights that put Jackson down. Jackson would get up and McClellan went in for the kill and would drop him again before referee Mills Lane stopped the bout.

A convincing win for McClellan and he was now a two-time world champion. He would successfully defend his title three times over the next year, all by knockout including a first round destruction of Julian Jackson in a rematch in May of 1994. He was at the top of his game and he then decided to move up to Super Middleweight to get bigger fights, however his career and life was about to take a tragic turn.

He would face WBC Super Middleweight champion Nigel Benn in Benn’s Hometown of London, England on 02/25/95. Their bout was one of the most anticipated bouts of 1995. A huge pro-Benn crowd packed the London Arena and over 17 million fans tuned in all over the world to see this much anticipated showdown. McClellan was a huge favorite going into the bout and was confident he could knock Benn out in the first round. McClellan came out landing hard shots going for the quick knockout. He would knock Benn through the ropes in the first round and was very close to ending the bout as he predicted. The very durable Benn regained his composure in the second and began landing hard shots of his own.

In the third, the hard punching McClellan turned boxer and began pumping out a hard left jab to set up hard right hands. By the fifth round, McClellan began to get winded as his mouthpiece was hanging out of his mouth. Benn was in control of the fight going into the eighth, when McClellan turned the tide by landing a huge haymaker that put Benn on the canvas once again. Throughout the course of the bout, McClellan had taken a lot of hard shots and they finally took their toll in the 10th when McClellan took a knee after a barrage of punches. He would take another knee moments later and decided to stay down for the count.

It was a huge upset win for Benn. While sitting on his stool, McClellan began wincing badly. Moments later, he collapsed onto the canvas. He was taken to the hospital where it was discovered he had a blood clot in in his brain, which required an immediate operation. He suffered extreme brain damage in which he was in a coma for 11 days. He would also lose his eyesight completely, became 80 % deaf and was also unable to walk without being assisted. Today, he is under the care of his 3 sisters who assist him with his day to day activities. A non profit organization called Ring 10 was setup to assist former fighters like him and by providing assistance for food and other necessities.

In 2012, McClellan had his colon removed which stemmed from his brain condition. His record as a professional stands at 31-3 with 29 KO’s. He is ranked 27th by Ring Magazine on their list of the 100 Greatest punchers of all time. From a boxing perspective, it was a career that was cut way too short. Who knows how his career would have turned out had he not suffered the injury against Nigel Benn. He more than likely would have won more world titles and possibly could have had classic battles with the likes of Roy Jones Jr, Bernard Hopkins and James Toney. He is now faced with a day to day battle more important than any battle he ever faced in the ring. Our hearts go out to him and his family.

McClellan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Ropes: Aaron Pryor

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By: Heath Harlem
Follow @PittGrad0214

Before 2013 winds down one of the biggest stories that boxing fans will be talking about is all of the star power in the junior welterweight division.  Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, and Zab Judah are some of the most talented stars in the game, and warriors like Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado are wowing fans with their epic battles.  While this group of fighters may be one of most exciting in recent history, it is worth taking a look back at one of the divisons all time greats.  Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor posed the personality, star power, and talent of Garcia or Judah, along with the heart of Rios or Alvarado.  Pryor reigned as junior welterweight champion for 5 years and was voted by the associated press as the greatest 140lb fighter of the 20th century by the associated press in 1999.

Aaron Pryor was born in Cincinnati, OH on October 20, 1955.  Pryor didn’t begin boxing as a youth until he was 13 years old.  Pryor quickly found success and accumulated an amateur record of 204 wins and 16 losses.  Pryor became a 3 time national AAU champion (1973, 1975 and 1976) and in 1976 he beat Thomas Hearns in the finals.  Aaron was favored to make the Olympic team in 1976 but was upset in the trials by Howard Davis Jr. and was forced to serve as an alternate.  When the Olympics ended, Pryor turned pro and made his debut with a knockout victory on November 11, 1976.  A few days after his pro debut, Pryor signed to be managed by Buddy LaRosa owner of a pizza chain in the Cincinnati area.  This management arrangement turned out to have a drastic impact on Pryor’s career in the future.

Pryor’s career got rolling in 1977 when he fought 8 times, winning 6 by knockout.  After his second decision victory of 1977, Pryor went on to win the next 26 fights of his career by knockout.  On August 2nd, 1980 Pryor fought for the title for the first time against Antonio Cervantes in Aaron’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH.  The fight was broadcasted live on CBS and in the first round an overwhelmed Pryor was knocked down.  Showing the heart of a modern day warrior like Alvarado or Rios, “The Hawk” rose from the canvass and with the skill and power of a Danny Garcia ended the fight by knocking out his opponent in round 4, becoming Junior Welterweight Champion.  Pryor defended his title in November 1980 with a 6th round knockout of Gaetan Hart.  After the fight with Hart Pryor was offered a fight with Roberto Duran that would have paid him $750,000.  Pryor stalled before accepting the fight with Duran due to a contract issue with LaRosa and by the time the management issue was worked out, the opportunity to fight Duran was gone.

With the fight against Duran off of the table, Pryor continued to reign as champion making three title defenses in 1981 and 1982 before being offered a fight against Welterweight Champion Sugar Ray Leonard. The fight with Leonard was going to pay Pryor $750,000.  Pryor had the opportunity to fight Leonard sooner for $500,000 but him and his management team held out for the larger pay day.  Before Leonard was to face Pryor, Leonard had to defeat Roger Stafford in May of 1982.  While Leonard did defeat Stafford in their title fight, Leonard suffered a serious eye injury and the fight with Pryor was off.  With the fight with Leonard off, Pryor made a title defense Against Akio Kameda before he finally had his big money fight against Alexis Arguello.

Much like modern day Junior Welterweight’s Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios, on November 12, 1982 Aaron Pryor faced Alexis Arguello in the first of their two epic fights.  In front of almost 24,000 people Alexis and Aaron were in an all-out war for the first 13 rounds.  In the 13th round Argeullo was down on the scorecards when he stunned Pryor and took the momentum of the fight.  Between the 13th and 14th round, Pryor’s trainer, Panama Lewis was heard asking “give me the other bottle, the one I mixed”.  Pryor seemed revived in the 14th round, and knocked out Argeullo with a series of viscous power shots.  Many people suspected that there was an illegal substance in the bottle, but there was never any post fight drug testing completed.  Years later another fight trained by Lewis stated that Lewis would put antihistamine pills into the water bottles to help with lung capacity later in fights.  Despite all of the controversy, this great fight was named fight of the decade by ring magazine.  After defeating Sang-Hyun Kim on April 2, 1983, Pryor faced Arguello again on September 9, 1983.  For this fight Pryor was trained by Emanuel Steward after Lewis was suspended for removing padding from another fighter’s glove.  Pryor decisively defeated Arguello dominating the rematch from round 1, and ending the fight via knockout in the 10th round.  The dominating performance silenced many of the doubters who had concerns about the “water bottle” from the first fight.   However, after going through to “wars” together, Arguello and Pryor became friends for the rest of their lives.

After the 2nd Arguello fight, Pryor had a short lived retirement which he describes as a rest.  The IBF was recently formed and upon his return they immediately named him their Welterweight Champion.  Pryor’s first fight at Welterweight was to be against Ray Boom Boom Mancini but that fell through when Mancini was stopped by Livingston Bramble.  Pryor instead defended his title against Nick Furlan on June 22nd, 1984.  Pryor was a lopsided decision against Furlan.  However, this decision ended Pryor’s knockout streak.  In March of 1985 Pryor won a split decision against Gary Hinton, his last fight before his title would be stripped for failure to defend.  During the mid-1980’s Pryor became consumed by drug abuse and did not fight again until August 8th, 1987 when he was defeated by Welterweight journeyman Bobby Joe Young.  Pryor, addicted to drugs was a shell of his former self and fought only three more time over the next three years against three journeymen before finally retiring in 1990.  After arrests in his hometown that helped guide Pryor to the proper treatment, Pryor finally was able to kick the drug habit in 1993.  In 1996 Aaron Pryor was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and in 1990 he was named the greatest Junior Welterweight of the 20th century by the associated press.

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