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David Reid Article
This was a article written on David Reid, Reid has had 10 fights when this was written. 2 Part Article
For all his speed and his boxing skills, and he has both, David Reid will probably always be known most of all for his big right hand, the punch that dropped a Cuban and earned him an Olympic gold medal at Atlanta two years ago.
In conversation at El Paso, Texas on the eve of the Kostya Tszyu-Rafael Ruelas fight, Reid talks about the right hand as if it has a mind of its own. He spends long hours working on his technique, but the right, he says, will always be there to get him out of trouble if he needs it.
The 24-year-old from the great fight city of Philadelphia is one of the coming superstars of the sport, one of a select group of fighters under contract to Home Box Office, the American subscription TV giant. As the only U.S. boxing gold medallist at Atlanta he is billed by his promoters, Denver-based America Presents, as "America's Dream".
After only 10 professional fights, all wins, seven inside the distance, he is considered good enough to fight any of the world 154lbs (11 stone) world champions right now. But Reid's longtime trainer, 54-year-old fellow-Philadelphian Al Mitchell (who became a father figure after Reid's natural father deserted the family), views the boxer as "a work in progress".
The idea is not just to fight for a title but to win it, hold on to it, win other titles, in a natural progression to greatness.
And Reid does seem to possess potential greatness. A millionaire after signing a hugely lucrative deal with America Presents - then the new kids on the boxing-promotion block - Reid has a passion for the sport and a craving for excellence in his performances. But he also has his feet on the ground. Although always in demand, he took time out for an hour to visit with a reporter before getting ready to go the Tszyu-Ruelas fight that was promoted by America Presents.
The company's young president, Mat Tinley, sees Reid as becoming the biggest attraction in the sport. "He's the best amateur to come out of the American Olympics programme since Sugar Ray Leonard," Tinley says. "He's got speed, talent and power and there's a humbleness about him, a really nice kid that people like."
However, some American TV commentators have voiced concern about the appearance of Reid's left eyelid, that has a slightly drooping look after an injury suffered in the U.S. Olympic trials in 1996. Reid has undergone two surgical procedures.
Yes, of course, he has heard the comments and noted the concerns that have been expressed. He sighed and said: "They're [the critics] always going to talk about my eye. There's nothing wrong with it. Since coming out of the Olympics my left eye has been looking a little, you know, saggy, so they want to talk about it. But it gives me more ink in the papers. It's never no problem with me. They're [the TV commentators] not the ones in the ring fighting. I'm the one fighting. So I'm never worried what anyone thinks about my eye.
"It happened in the Olympic trials. I just got hit with a good punch and it [the eye] just went down. I didn't notice it until after the fight, when I looked in the mirror. I thought someone had put a voodoo on me. I went: 'Whoo, what happened?' It turned out to be a damaged muscle, but it didn't stop me getting the gold [in the light-middle division] and it's not going to stop me trying to achieve my other goals in boxing."
He was not expected to win the gold medal, he says, and he sounds just a little annoyed at being underrated. "As far as the people [amateur authorities] from the U.S., they didn't know nothing about David Reid and I couldn't understand it because from '92 to '96 I'd won every tournament in the U.S. I don't know if USA Boxing [the governing body of the amateur sport in America] liked me or not, but I just continued to win tournaments, in the U.S. and out of the country. I just stayed strong, and there was no pressure on me until the gold medal round [Olympic final]. Winning the gold wasn't just good for me, it was good for the U.S.A., because I was the only one [to win a gold medal in boxing]."
His victory, after 35 seconds of the third and last round, was one of those "miracle" wins. Behind on points 16-6, a colossal margin in computer scoring, he caught Cuban southpaw Alfredo Duvergel with a big right that knocked his tormentor down. Although Duvergel got up, he was wobbly and the Bulgarian referee intervened.
Reid recalls: "He [Duvergel] tried to throw mud in my face and knock me out, but I was desperate. I just took the fight to him and waited for him to throw that left hand and then I just countered."
Reid was on top of the world. His victory kept alive the American run of at least one boxing gold medal at every Olympics since London in 1948.
It was especially important to him because he had lost three times against a Cuban opponent Juan Hernandez, a world amateur champ - prior to the Olympics, when Reid was boxing as a welterweight. "To this day, I would still like to fight him [again]," Reid said. "The first time, I knocked him down three times, including the last round. But he got up and survived. The second time he stayed away from me. The third time, he scratched my right eye with his glove. The referee stopped the bout but I could have continued."
That was in 1995, the last time Reid lost.
He said he had seen Alfredo Duvergel in an amateur tournament and remembered thinking: "I bet he's the guy I'll have to fight for the [Olympic] gold medal." And so it came to pass.
Reid said that during the Olympic final, his mind went back to those three losses to Juan Hernandez. "In the second round - a real bad round for me - I was thinking: 'Oh, man, for the fourth time I'm going to lose to a Cuban - and this is a different one,'" he said.
"I couldn't do anything. At first I wanted to give up, but the assistant coach, Patrick Burns, said: 'You know what? You've got three more minutes, and the fight is not over until the fat lady sings.' And when he told me that, I looked, gave a deep breath and I said to myself: 'Three more minutes!'
"I couldn't outbox him, so I went out there and fought. I thought he was going to run, but he didn't, he wanted to knock me out. So when he threw that straight left, I countered him with the overhand right. I jumped higher than the top rope when the referee stopped it."
Was it the best right hand he has ever thrown? "Well, it happened at the right time in my life," he said. "But in 1993, at the Olympic Festival, I was losing bad, and I ended up hitting a guy with my right hand, and it happened another time, in the box-off to go to the Goodwill Games I fought a guy who was winning the fight till I caught him with the overhand right.
"Every time I fight, I don't [always] throw my overhand right. I like to throw numerous punches, be creative in the ring, look sharp, so that the referee, the judges, everybody outside the ring will know that David Reid knows what he's doing in the ring. The only time I use my overhand right is when I'm in trouble, when I'm losing real bad and looking for a desperate shot. I like to meet a guy when he throws his punches, and it does not matter what punch he hits me with, as long as this punch [he holds up his right fist] gets in and clocks him in his face, I know it's over."
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Last edited by Southpaw16bf; 05-05-2009 at 06:25 PM.