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Reid Loss Shows Importance in Fighting Quality Opposition

by David L. Hudson, Jr.

Nashville's Jonathan Reid failed to overcome the huge step up in class against world middleweight champion William Joppy on the Trinidad-Vargas undercard Saturday night.

Reid faced several disadvantages in his attempt to wrest the title from the seasoned Joppy - a solid world champion who had twice avenged his lone defeat to Julio Cesar Green. Reid took the fight on short notice after Joppy's original opponent Guillermo Jones had trouble making weight.

However, the main disadvantage for Reid was his lack of quality competition in his pro career. He had never fought a top-ten contender in reaching his top-ten ranking. In fact, he had fought only three or four fighters in his 27-bout career who had winning records.

Reid entered the ring after having feasted on marginal competition. His last fight prior to Joppy was a first-round stoppage of journeyman Benji Singleton - a fighter with more than 60 losses.

Reid had never faced a fighter even remotely in the same class as Joppy. Reid's 28-0 record featured two wins over the crafty Reggie Strickland - he of nearly 300 professional bouts and more than 230 losses --, a 2-round stoppage of former fringe contender Karl Willis and a convincing decision win over tough journeyman Gerald "the Disciple" Coleman.

The problem for Reid was that probably for the first time in his career he faced an opponent with greater quickness and a better jab. Joppy seemed to land straight right hands at will.

During the fight announcer Larry Merchant accurately said "I doubt that Reid has ever been in with anybody who has hit with half a dozen jabs to the body in the first round or even in a whole fight." Reid took more punches in this fight than he has in his entire pro career.

The fight turned into a statistical mismatch. Joppy landed 190 punches while Reid only threw 99 punches. According to Compubox, Joppy landed 59 punches in the 3rd round alone. Merchant summed it up when he said that "Reid has obviously been thrown in over his head obviously a little too quickly."

Reid showed his courage in taking a beating from Joppy. He even showed flashes of world-class potential by surprising Joppy with quick lead right hands in the 3rd and 4th rounds. If Reid had better seasoning, he perhaps would have followed up those sneaky right hands with left hooks.

George Foreman commented that Reid maintained his power even after he was badly hurt and said that Reid "can only win here tonight."

Hopefully, the beating will not discourage Reid from his usual dedication to the sport. If anyone has the character and work ethic to bounce back from a devastating defeat, it is Reid. His handlers would be well advised to give him better preparation and match him with better competition.

--- David L. Hudson, Jr. is a writer and attorney based in Nashville, Tenn. He can be reached at dhudson@fac.org.

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