Cintron-Reid: No Need For Stats Here

18.07.04 - By Wray Edwards: Kermit Cintron and Teddy Reid stole the show last night. Their contest was similar to the “main event”, in that both matches featured young bucks on the way up, against old warriors on the way down. For sheer drama, Kermit and Teddy’s bout eclipsed much of what followed. Both fighters went to the very edge of endurance and courage.

The first three rounds, in which both fighters got their bearings, were fun to watch, but nothing noteworthy. Then came round four… As it began, it was obvious that something special was about to happen. "Stick and move" can be graceful and effective (Ali) for a points fight, but those contests rarely produce fight, or round of the year.

I think I have discovered my inner beast, which conveniently forgets the float and sting, and waits, with crude desire, for the close-in, messy bangfest. As the first minute of the fourth ran down, the spirits of Marciano, Lamata and Gatti must have moved in over the ring to hover in appreciation and encouragement of what was about to happen.

By then, Reid probably knew he was not going to be able to win on points. By then, Cintron probably knew that also. The die was cast. From that moment on, the judges and Compubox were (thankfully) out of the picture. These two intrepid souls ventured into the no-man’s land of do or die. Each throwing and taking the best the other had to offer. The ebb and flow of number four, was to presage its doubling, in a symmetry of violence and courage rarely seen outside of military conflict.

Like an epic scene from “A Clockwork Orange”, Kubrick’s choice of classical music would have been appropriate here, as Teddy and Kermit took each other to the absolute limit. Both men staggered…both men reeled under withering fire…both men surely saw their lives pass before them. The old man and the young buck ripped at each other’s hearts without mercy. No bell on earth could have rung loud enough for Reid to hear it through his desperation, and he unfortunately struck after the gong.

That one infraction, at least, was understandable. In general, Teddy was doing some unnecessary roughhousing what with the arm throw and other strikes after the bell. When Reid was knocked down for the first time, he had sort of a “Dang it!” look on his face. He took many harder shots in rounds five through eight, but pretty much stayed on his feet in five, six and seven.

Reid’s hand speed was generally inferior to Kermit’s. The slo-mos of Cintron’s right strikes over Teddy’s left arm demonstrated the awesome increase in power that a curving object contains. We learn in physics that vector has two components: direction and velocity. Change either, and you have acceleration, the root of power. Both fighters fought in spurts through the next three rounds, dealing with fatigue and inner ghosts. Reid, ever dangerous, dredged up whatever he could find to try to prevent a train wreck.

In round eight Reid went for it. Sensing this, Kermit began a series of furious counter combinations every time Teddy got to him. Toward the end of the first minute Reid’s compass needle began to spin, and he got clocked so hard, he lost his battle with gravity and went down. When the ref said “I’m going to give you a chance” Cintron stood in the background calmly focusing the reticles of his leather artillery on Reid’s hapless fortress. With great heart, and ill-advised courage, Teddy stepped into the gates of hell, and found the devil in the details. He was finished. The ref moved in, and pulled him away from the brink of death, as one of his former opponents was not lucky enough to experience.

Cintron’s emotion, and Reid’s resignation were proof positive that we had just witnessed the essence of the sport. As someone said recently: There is nothing on earth more interesting or exciting, than when one man tells another to bring it…and he does.

Article posted on 18.07.2004

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