It remains an all-too-familiar story to those who travel in boxing circles
-- an undefeated, untested prospect steps up in class and comes away with his first defeat.
Nashville middleweight Jonathan "Reiddawg" Reid insists he will
write a different story. Reid sports a 25-0 record with 14 knockouts, a muscular
physique, a spartan drive and a confident persona. "My main goal is, of
course, a world championship," he says.
So far he has easily cleared every hurdle placed in front of him. After
sporting an amateur record of 57 wins and only three losses with a 1996 Mid-South Golden Gloves title at middleweight, Reid turned pro in December
He added 8 wins in 1997, 6 in 1998, 7 in 1999 and three so far in 2000. His next fight will be Aug. 26 in Gallatin, Tenn. against an as yet to be
Reid has handled his fights with ease, sometimes playing the role of boxer and sometimes puncher. "I consider my jab my biggest strength and the
fact that I'm a versatile fighter. I can box, I can punch, I can fight
right-handed or left-handed."
His trainer and manager Eddie Rochelle says that Reid's greatest assets are both his "upper body strength and his work ethic."
Having judged at least five of his fights, I can attest that he is a versatile boxer in top-notch condition. He has never been knocked down and I
cannot recall him losing even one round in any of his recent fights.
Though his longest fight was only eight rounds, Reid says he is "15-round
shape." "I put in the work every Monday through Saturday,
fine-tuning my skills. I know I can go 10 or 12 rounds."
What remains to be seen, however, is how Reid will fare when he faces stiffer competition. His three fights this year are a 6-round decision over
Delfino Martin (15-23), a six-round decision over Gerald "the
Disciple" Coleman and an 8-round decision over Robert "Dynamite" Davis
However, last December he blasted out veteran Karl Willis (25-12-1) in only two rounds to capture the NABA middleweight crown. Though Willis is
definitely on the downside, his past opponents include Thomas Hearns, James
Toney and Montell Griffin. Reid stopped Willis sooner than all those former
Reid remains unfazed at facing a top-ranked fighter. "I would love to fight
anyone in the top ten in either the middleweight or junior middleweight.
I've sparred with David Reid to prepare him for his fight with Keith
Mullings and I sparred with Fernando Vargas in preparation for his fight
with Ike Quartey."
The problem, according to Rochelle, is that Reid has almost performed too well in sparring sessions. "It is a double-edged sword," Rochelle
says. "It is good to spar with top fighters because of the experience factor. But when
you perform too well in sparring sessions, it scares fighters away and they
won't fight you."
"In the gym you plan your work and work your plan," Reid says.
"My plan is to keep in top-notch shape, work on getting quicker (he's already quick) and
be ready for the big one when the call comes."
Though his resume sports many fighters with losing records, Reid remains the brightest prospect from the middle Tennessee area in quite some time.
Several fighters before him sported glossy records until they faced better
competition. Local heavyweights Joey Guy and Frankie Wood feasted on
marginal competition with relative ease, but then failed when they took on a
top heavyweight. Wood fell quickly to Danish power Brian Nielson, while
Guy was taken out in three rounds by Clifford Etienne.
Welterweight Theo Elmore, who racked up over twenty wins in Nashville fights in a two year span (97-98), faced a similar fate when he faced his first
two major challenges in Santiago Samaniego and Alex Bunema.
Rochelle contends that Reid will succeed where the others have failed. "From
an ability standpoint and a discipline standpoint, Jonathan is on another
Reid's incredible work ethic, along with his God-given talents, may distinguish him from the others and take him to the top. He has
remained loyal to his original trainer and manager from day one, Rochelle. "I met
Eddie on September 9, 1993, when my father took me to the Police Athletic
League in Nashville and I've been with Eddie every since."
"I'm proud to be a member of Team Rochelle and always will be," Reid
The feeling is mutual, according to Rochelle: "He's the best fighter I
have and the fighter with the best work ethic. He has no bad habits."
Rochelle, who also trains heavyweight prospect Owen Beck (5-0) and welterweight talent Vinroy Barrett (14-1) is convinced Reid can take it to
the next level - when he gets the chance.
To ensure that Reid, indeed, gets the opportunity, Rochelle and Reid inked a deal with Don King about three months ago. "King promised us a shot at a
top 10 fighter sometime this year," Rochelle said. "Boxing is politics
and, if you want to move up in the rankings you have to beat top fighters."
Perhaps, the deal has had some positive effect. Reid has now cracked the top 30 in the WBC rankings for super middleweight. "Jonathan came in at 161
in his last fight, so that's probably why he's listed as a super
However, Rochelle believes Reid will first challenge for a title at 154 in
the junior middleweight class. "Jonathan was at 156 against Delfino Marin
and he looked as good as I've ever seen him."
Reid himself says he like to take a shot at any of the junior middleweight or middleweight champions. "I am ready for the big fight. I love the
sport of boxing. I train every day and I'm ready to prove to the world that Jonathan Reid is a true fighter."
Any top-ranked fighter in the 154-160 range should be advised that Reid is a legitimate threat.
To WAIL! Contents Page