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Forgotten Champions: David Reid


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David Reid was one of those champions and fighters who had the talent but not the necessary power to really be successful at the highest level. An Olympic champion who also claimed the WBA super welter title, Reid was very tough, very clever and skilled and durable guy, but lacked that big punch. That proved to be the decisive factor in his most important fight against big punching Felix Trinidad. Although he tasted the canvas more than once in that fight, he managed to drop Trinidad and last the distance, despite getting a bad beating in later rounds. His nickname was "American Dream" and for a while, that dream came true.

David Terrell Reid was born September 17 1973 in Philadelphia, the so-called "boxing capital" of USA. He stands 5'9 (175 cm) tall and has a reach of 70 inches (178). He had a stellar amateur career and won the 1993 Golden Gloves and 1994 and 1996 USA amateur championships, last one at light middleweight and the first two at welterweight. He also won the gold at the 1995 Pan American Games, as a welter. He qualified for the 1996 Olympics and came to the final, where he fought the Cuban Alfredo Duvergel. Behind on points after 2 rounds, he scored a one punch ko to win in sensational fashion in round 3. Because he was the only American to win a gold medal in boxing, he was compared to Oscar de la Hoya, who did the same thing four years earlier. However, one can say his career turned out more like Davey Moore's, who held the same WBA title.

He turned pro in March 1997. In his fifth fight, he beat the former WBC welter champion Jorge Vaca, who was by then clearly past his prime, by KO1. On June 27 1998, he faced the former multiple and two-weight world champion, Simon Brown, who was also far past his prime, and won by KO4. Later that year, on October 24, he won the WBC Continental Americas title by UD12 against the 19-0 James Coker. On March 6 next year, he got to fight for the WBA title against the champion Laurent Boudouani, who was from France but came to Atlantic City to defend for the fifth time against Reid. Boudouani was known as a fast fighter who could box and punch, but he was also at the end of his prime and Reid outboxed him convincingly to win by a wide UD. He thus became one of few Philadelphian world champions of that time. In his first title defence against Kevin Kelly (not to be confused with Kelley), he got dropped in round 5 but went on to win comfortably on all scorecards. In his second and last successful defence, he outpointed the former Terry Norris-conqueror Keith Mullins.

Everything was set now for his first big payday, a fight against the former unified welter champion Felix "Tito" Trinidad. There were question marks around Reid taking such a fight in only his 15th professional fight, while Trinidad had 36 fights, more than 3 times as many. The fight happened on March 3 2000 at Caesars Palace and Reid did well in the first half and even dropped Trinidad in the third round with a long straight right. Despite being slightly shorter, Reid looked stronger than Trinidad, being a more natural 154-pounder. However, there was that one big advantage Trinidad had-he could actually knock you out with not too many punches. He asserted himself after round 6 and sent Reid down in round 7. Trinidad was also infamous for throwing a lot of low blows and he threw a few here as well, which made it extra difficult for Reid. However, being managed by Don King, Trinidad got away with quite a lot. As the fight progressed, Reid seemed to lose more and more strength, his left eye was swollen shut and Trinidad went on to batter him and drop him three times in round 11, but Reid's toughness made him survive the terrible onslaught and go the distance-naturally, he was the loser by the scores of 106-114 and 107-114 twice. 

This fight obviously took a lot out of him and his prime pretty much ended there. He came back later that year, but struggled to beat a 28-20-1 Quirino Garcia on points. Next year, he first defeated another journeyman, Urbano Gurrola, by UD10, and then Sam Brantley also by UD10, scoring one knockdown. On November 11, he fought the 13-2-1 Sam Hill and was down once in round 5 and then again in round 9 before he was stopped by TKO in that round. That was his last fight and he retired at the age of only 28, with a record of 17(7)-2. And a lot more to be wished for. Reid was simply a victim of Trinidad and knowing the later controversy around the latter's hand wraps, one might say Reid was likely wronged and might have even done better if Trinidad had played it clean, also in regards to the low blows.

Still, despite what might've or might've not transpired there, Reid gave a good account of himself against a future hall of famer and probably would have lost to him anyway, but still gave him a tough fight. On the downside, all his best wins came against guys who were either on their way out or no longer in their peak. Despite not being a big puncher, Reid still had pop and was very good at throwing and landing clean and effective punches-probably why he managed to score that one punch ko in the Olympics final. He also came to fight in splendid shape, very muscular and trim. He had the talent, but not all the tools to beat a guy like Trinidad and that is why his career suffered-he was simply brought up too early. Thank you for reading this article on David Reid-another FORGOTTEN CHAMPION




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I always felt that Reid's career was a little like Davey Moore's. A talented amateur who was rushed into a title fight but without the experience to retain it. In Reid's case this was probably due to the droopy left eyelid. I suspect his handlers thought it would mean a short career so wanted to cash in early. The Trinidad fight basically finished him though. Good fighter and could have achieved more of his team had been more patient.

Edited by robprosser
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