The Predictamundo Strikes: Lacy Versus Reid

03.08.05 - By John Way: On the first Saturday of every month, ShowTime gives the boxing world a special treat: fight night. This year it hasn’t let us down yet, giving its audience such quality fights as Mormeck-Braithwaite, Castillo-Diaz, Corrales-Castillo, and Hatton-Tszyu. Therefore, when August 6 finally arrives, there is very little reason to believe that the super middleweight clash between Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy and Robin "The Grim Reaper" Reid will be any different.. In fact, on paper this fight looks like this fight could exceed the excitement produced by any of the above contests, excluding Corrales-Castillo. This match is so eagerly anticipated by fans because the winner will likely be in line for a unification fight with long time division kingpin Joe Calzaghe.

Lacy versus Reid comes at exactly the right time also, because the usually lackluster 168lbs class is finally coming alive for the first time since dominate champs Roy Jones jr. and Sven Ottke departed.

Meanwhile, surging veterans Mads Larsen, Eric Lucas, and Scotty Pemberton are all making a run for the glory. Also, stylistically this fight is genius. Omar Sheika, that tough Palestinian brawler, gave "Left Hook" the toughest test of his career on ShowTime last December, in a bruising fight that saw a stale champion struggle with Omar’s roughhouse tactics.

Now, after another defense of his IBF bauble, he claims that he has improved his defense and will show that he is ready for the likes of Calzaghe. With his sturdy jaw, bone crunching power, fast hands, and immaculate conditioning, he is a fighting machine, and a likely favorite over anyone at super middleweight. A graduate of the 2000 Olympics, Jeff is in tall company with his fellow Olympians, like Rocky Juarez, Miguel Cotto, Calvin Brock, and Jermaine Taylor. In his eighth pro fight, he took a huge leap up in class when he iced Glenn Thomas in the first three minutes.

You might remember Thomas as the unfortunate who was used for target practice by Roy Jones for several rounds before he compitulated in their 1992 bout. By the time he fought Lacy, some ten years later, he was totally washed up, but still represented a leap up in class. His next few fights were against B-Level brawlers like Richard Grant, Anwar Oshana, and James Crawford. Then he was given a chance to fight in an IBF title eliminator against German pasty Vitali Tsypko, in a fight that was stopped when an accidental clash of heads forced a premature stoppage, resulting in a disappointing no decision. But the Florida based banger would not be denied, as he bombed Canadian Syd Vanderpool for the vacant IBF championship.

Since that encounter, he has established himself as one of the most active belt-owners on the planet, as he is set to make his third title defense. Standing across the ring in the opposite corner is Robin "The Grim Reaper" Reid of the United Kingdom. This corn-rowed pugilist won the WBC title with a valiant knockout of Vincenzo Nardiello in seven gritty rounds. After defending his title against the usual crop of undeserving contenders, he ran into the low light of his career, beginning with a twelve round points loss to long time veteran, Sugar Boy Malinga.

After a brief hiatus from the world class, he came back to lose two of his next three, one was a razor thin split decision loss to Joe Calzaghe, giving the Welshman his toughest fight to date. Then he battled Italian Silvio Branco in Gasglow Scotland, only to come up short again, this time by an unkindly wide points verdict. After treading water against journeymen for about a year, he thrashed tough-as-nails Mexican legend, Julio Cesar Vasquez over the twelve round distance. Another high profile win followed, this time against Fransisco Antonio Mora, which soon earned him a shot at Sven Ottke in Germany.

In one of the worst robberies of 2003, Reid was sent home to Britain with his fourth decision loss, but the sympathy of millions. Unaffected by Ottke’s or Calzaghe’s unwillingness to grant him a rematch, Reid plugged onward by handing highly touted Brian Magee his first career loss. "The Grim Reaper" is an extraordinarily wily fighter, always anticipating punches, and utilizing solid head movement, which could help him avoid Lacy’s often telegraphed bombs.

He also has a granite chin in the mold of Evander Holyfield and Oliver McCall, which gives him a fairly good chance of absorbing anything he gets hit with. However, some questions still remain: can he deal with Lacy’s constant pressure? Does he hit hard enough to get the champions respect? Fighting in his opponents home state, can he get a fair shake on points? If not, is he willing to put himself in danger by hunting for a knockout?

While all of these questions will be answered definitively on August 6, it’s my duty to give a prediction. Here’s how I see this one playing out: Reid starts fast, unleashing a heavy body attack, while Lacy tries to fire back. The champion seems to be coming on in the fifth, until an accidental head butt opens a grotesque gash on his forehead. The ringside doctor calls a halt to the bout after the seventh round when the bloodshed becomes too severe and the fight goes to the scorecards prematurely. The winner by majority decision in an intense war, Reid goes back home to England finally the hero. Bet the underdog, thank the judges, and tell everyone where you heard this sage prediction.

Contrasting predictions are welcome below.

Article posted on 03.08.2005

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