by David P. Greisman
Junior-welterweight Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed has signed with Top Rank, a relationship that became official on July 23. He had in essence fought a “tryout” with them on June 14, when he appeared on the undercard of a Top Rank show. Now the 21-year-old from the Washington, D.C., suburb of Waldorf, Maryland, has an opportunity to grow under a major promoter.
The 10-0 prospect spoke with BoxingScene.com on July 24.
BoxingScene.com: How long had Top Rank been courting you or in contact with you?
Reed: “For the last two or three months. The last time I fought at Rosecroft [Raceway], which was April 18, we had already had the fight set up for June 14 [in Atlantic City on a Top Rank card], so since then. So it’s been a long time coming.”
BoxingScene.com: What made you want to sign with Top Rank, rather than with some of the other offers you’ve been receiving?
Reed: “It was the negotiations, they weren’t really hard negotiations. Pretty much everything that was asked for, we were given, with little exceptions here and there. You know, it felt right. Even when I fought on their card and I wasn’t signed, it felt right. I could actually see myself being there. So it was pretty much an easy decision for me to sign with Top Rank.”
BoxingScene.com: What was it that felt right?
Reed: “For starters, the way me and my dad interacted with everybody, including [Top Rank’s] Carl Moretti, who was pretty much the guy that we talked to throughout the whole process. We negotiated. It wasn’t hard negotiations. It was ‘I give a little, you give a little, to get a lot,’ pretty much. That’s what it’s all about. It just felt like the right place to be. It felt like family. It felt like I’ve known them for a while upon meeting them.”
BoxingScene.com: What is the “lot” that you think is going to come from this?
Reed: “Well, the future. With Top Rank, they’re a prestigious company. Everything that they’ve done speaks for itself. I just want to be one fighter amongst many to pretty have them tailor my career and become a world champion.”
BoxingScene.com: Please tell me about what you know of them and what they’ve accomplished, and why that makes them the best fit for your career.
Reed: “If you look at the two biggest superstars right now in boxing, you have Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. They promote Manny Pacquiao as of now, and they had promoted Floyd Mayweather until he kind of did his own thing, and Al Haymon, they did their own thing. But Bob Arum and Top Rank, they’ve been proven to make the big fights, and … have their fighters go a certain direction. The blueprint is laid out, and I just want to follow it.”
BoxingScene.com: What is the path from here? You are still relatively young and early in your career. Where do things go on a fight-by-fight basis or a year-by-year basis in your eyes and theirs from here?
Reed: “We want to continue at the same pace that we’ve moved. I already have 10 fights [since March 2013]. So if we can continue this pace, it’d be excellent. Keep stepping up gradually. In the past, I said I didn’t want to fight any ducks. I want to continue that. I want to continue to impress. I’d like to be able to get some TV time sometime soon. If not in the next fight, in the next couple of fights. I’d like to move into eight rounds, because I have already fought six 6-rounders, so I feel I’m ready for that step up.”
BoxingScene.com: Have they made any promises or guarantees in terms of when you might be getting some of those goals you’ve set for yourself?
Reed: “Nope. No promises yet. But I’m pretty sure within the next week or so, we’ll know the exact next fight date. I’m in the gym. I’m ready to fight right now if Ihave to.”
BoxingScene.com: Does this mean that you won’t be fighting in Rosecroft anymore? Seven of your first nine fights were there, and all but your last fight have been local.
Reed: “Yeah, probably so.”
BoxingScene.com: And how do you feel about that?
Reed: “I think it’s a good move. I think we had a good run at Rosecroft. I think my fans appreciated it while I was there, and it was only a matter of time. I think everyone in that situation kind of knew that it was only a matter of time. I’m grateful for the opportunity Keystone [Boxing] has given me. That was big for my career. Me being unsigned coming out, and me having 10 fights, I thank most of that to them.
“There’s a lot of fighters, their area isn’t as boxing-heavy as the DMV [District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia] is. With that being said, they would kind of be forced to sign a contract coming out of the gate, whereas me, I wasn’t forced to sign because I knew I kind of had a security blanket with Keystone, where if I had to, I would have to go out there, hustle to sell the tickets and fight on their card, which we had no problem doing.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you hoping that there will still be some opportunities to fight near your hometown under the Top Rank banner?
Reed: “Absolutely. As you can see, Top Rank is kind of moving toward the East Coast a little bit more. They’ve been known to do a lot of their business on the West Coast. But in the past recent years, they’ve been working on the East Coast more. I’m pretty sure we’ll land something close to home where the fans can come out to support like they always do.”
BoxingScene.com: How was their support for you up in Atlantic City for your last fight?
Reed: “It was nice. It was probably around 40 or 50 people that came out. It was still a real good turnout. We could’ve had more. Some things fell through, so it could’ve been more. It was a showing of what we can bring to the table.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you still plan to continue with school full-time now that you’ve got this contract?
Reed: “I’m going to try. I am definitely going to try, but I know it’s definitely going to be difficult. I will try. If my grades start to suffer, then I will do something like part-time.”
BoxingScene.com: Some athletes put aside academics for a bit. Why do you want to continue?
Reed: “Because I have a young mind. I keep on hearing the phrase, ‘If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.’ Coming out of high school, I didn’t go to school, I took a year off. When I got back in school, I had lost a lot of what I knew in high school. So it was kind of like I’d taken steps backward and was fighting an uphill battle until it kind of became habit again. So I think if you go straight through, you have less of an urge to stop, because if you go and then you take a break, then two or threes pass by and you go again, everything is going to be harder as you get older.”
BoxingScene.com: And you never know what’s going to happen, so it’s good for you to have something to fall back on.
Reed: “Boxing is a short-term thing. I’ve been doing it for 11 years now. If I have a good career, I want to get out by the time I’m 34 or 35. And if I can get out at that age, then I’ll be doing pretty good. I would love to use my accounting degree to further my businesses and start the next phase of my life.”
BoxingScene.com: Who else were you hearing offers from?
Reed: “I would choose not to say, because I’m a Top Rank fighter now. All the deals I was getting offered, they’re pretty much irrelevant because I am a Top Rank fighter. It was pretty much the other major promoters that you see going on. But like I said, I think Top Rank is a correct fit for me.”
BoxingScene.com: Given the politics in the sport, with Top Rank not yet working with Golden Boy again despite the potential, and with the networks divided, were there any concerns that signing with Top Rank might keep certain opportunities from opening up for you?
Reed: “No, there weren’t concerns. But I’m well aware of the quote-unquote Cold War between Top Rank and Golden Boy, and then the networks. Other than some of the amateur guys that I fought being signed with other promoters, in terms of me fighting them again— say if I lost to them in the amateurs, then I would want to get that back. I won’t be able to fight them. That’s kind of like a pride thing. That’s just me being a fighter, me being a competitor. Other than that, there’s really nothing.”
BoxingScene.com: What else do you want people to know?
Reed: “This is the next step in my career. I did the unsigned thing for a year and a half. And every fight, I was fighting to get to this point. I’m here now, still improving. I just want to keep proving myself each and every fight.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]