Boxing

Lacy-Reid: What “Left Hook”?

07.08.05 - By Wray Edwards, photo (c) W.Edwards: During the weigh-in it was noticed that Jeff Lacy was unusually low-key and almost reluctant. This subdued attitude seemed a bit out of character for Jeff and really unusual for a boxer just before a fight. The standard bravado, confidence and confrontational riffs were missing. Then again, Jeff Lacy is not a standard guy. The next day East Side Boxing sought out some of Jeff’s homies for a sit-down. The talk we had was over a plate of Granny Flossie’s Bar-B-Q ribs and sweet-potato pie. It doesn’t get any better than that.

“How come Jeff is acting that way” we asked. “Oh he’s just really tired of all the talk.” “He doesn’t like to waste energy going over-and-over what will happen, what won’t happen and what might happen.” One of his friends looked this writer in the eye and said “You have no idea how much is built up in this guy. He’s ready to explode, and just wants to save it for the ring. You’re going to see something special tonight bro.” Was he ever right!

Speaking of explosions…the Tampa Bay area is literally exploding with development and public works. One of them is the St. Pete Times Arena. It is a beautiful venue between the convention center and the aquarium. It holds about twenty-thousand people and slowly-but-surely, through the preliminary bouts, fifteen thousand of Jeff Lacy’s closest friends packed the best seats to cheer him on. Lacy made his entrance in back-lit silhouette behind a huge American flag to the strains of “Born in the USA” and the deafening roar of bay area fans.

The broadcast of the fight was preceded by a replay of Corrales-Castillo which ordinarily would be a tough act to follow. With local heroes like Golota, Spinks and Gatti all falling before home crowds recently, another onus was on Jeff’s head.

THE FIGHT:

ROUND ONE gave evidence that this bout was going to be very personal between the fighters and between Ref Jorge Alonso and Robin Reid. At about 1:39 Robin held Lacy with his left arm and kidney-punched him several times. Alonso stepped in and gave Robin a stern warning. At 1:13 Lacy gets turned around by the action and Reid takes a strong swipe at the back of Jeff’s head…it was pretty blatant. This time Jorge is really fried and shakes his finger in Robin’s face. Reid looks indignant and argues with Alfonso. At :40 there is a mild head-butt and Lacy checks for blood.

It was obvious that Reid was going to play the bad-guy in this one. He was not making too many friends with his rough-house tactics. This, of course, tended to make it a three-way fight with the ref right in the thick of things.

ROUND TWO started off with some exploratory circling and feints but neither fighter made any real progress. At 2:11 Lacy starts to press for inside action, which Reid doesn’t seem to want at this point in the match, so he tries to tie Lacy up at every closing until :45 when we were treated to one of Jeff’s other (than the left hook) weapons…a ¾ overhand right which Reid would later, and to his regret, see many more of. :30 again Reid goes with the holding and hitting which prompts Jorge to intervene yet again. Lacy completes his second round with multiple rights.

ROUND THREE: 2:50 Reid holds and hits and is mildly warned again (He’s obviously been watching too many Hopkins fights). Also Robin is still habitually trapping Lacy’s gloves under his elbows. 1:27 Lacy throws a lowish blow with half the left glove on Reid’s black belt-band and half on the white satin of his trunks. Robin takes a knee and Jorge gives Jeff the keep-‘em up sign and lets Robin walk it off. :60 the hounds are loosed and Jeff lets his hands really go for the first time. He pretty much lathers Reid all around the ring until the bell. The fans went wild with most jumping to their feet.

ROUND FOUR: Highlights here were a Lacy left putting Reid off-balance to his right followed by an over-hand right to Robin’s left ear followed by a left to Reid’s chest, then a glancing right upper-cut, a left hook (partially blocked), and a right cross to Reid’s left ear. This series of blows by Jeff had Robin reeling a bit…not necessarily from damage but more from confusion over the sheer volume of punches from all directions.

The time-keeper, bell-ringer was obviously not prepared for the ear-wracking din of cheers from Jeff’s fans, during this flurry, which so loud that, as the round was supposed to end, the fighters could not even hear the bell. Two or three of Jeff’s strikes came after the first ring. Alfonso just barely heard it, and had trouble jumping in to stop the action. Reid stepped back with his tongue hanging out (Byrd must have liked that). Jorge ragged on the time-keeper to ring that sucker louder next time. For work rate and connects Jeff has won the first four rounds 40/36.

ROUND FIVE was the signature frame of this fight. It contained just about everything that can happen in a boxing match. It was the beginning of the end for Reid. The significant action began at 2:01 with a Lacy left jab to Reid’s forehead which rocked his head back pretty good. Lacy then threw about five quick glancers and misses ending with a slight right.

During this round Jeff began to very effectively pick off Robin’s attempts. Then came an epic moment in the career of Robin Reid: at 1:35 Robin makes a head-butt at Jeff which he later admitted to. Seeing this, Jorge makes the head-but sign, 1:34, and steps towards the boxers from Reid’s right yelling at the fighters. Robin then turns his head to see what the ref wants…MISTAKE!!! Protect yourself at all times Robin. 1:33 seeing Reid’s left cheek hung out to dry, Jeff unloads a whistling right cross which catches Reid flush.

As Lacy’s glove comes off of Robin’s blurred and twisting head, Jeff’s follow-through seems headed right for Jorge’s face and he winces and fades his head back to avoid the leather. Also at this point Alonso’s left hand is caught in the crook of Reid’s right elbow. It looked like Jorge was trying to stop the action. Jeff then sees the ref coming between them and starts to step back just as Robin begins to drop with Alonso’s left hand still on his bent right arm.

1:32 Jorge is motioning to Jeff to go to a neutral corner as Robin ends up on his knees. The noise in the arena was the loudest sound the writer has ever heard, and that includes an F-18 on the catapult at full throttle. Robin looks up from the floor for the first time in his career. It is a pitiful sight. Alonso then gives Reid what appears to be the beginning of an eight-count which sort-of segues into an arm-holding walk-around for a point deduction. Everybody in the media gaggle gets confused and are asking each other “Was that and eight-count AND a point deduction or what?”

Showtime commentators were calling the eight-count “inappropriate”. They also said that Jorge never completed the eight-count. They were mistaken. Alfonso can clearly be seen in freeze-frame holding up a full eight. There was quite a controversy over the scoring of Round Five on press row. This writer watched the sequence about twenty times. In
full motion, it appears that Lacy, as he pulls his head off of Reid’s right shoulder, quickly glances at the ref coming in and then turns his eyes back to Reid’s exposed left cheek and strikes. In stop-motion that quick glance is not obvious. At that point in the round scoring was either 10/9 or 10/7 Lacy depending on how one read the action.

The author scored one point against Lacy for hitting on break and one point against Reid for the head-butt making it 49/45 Lacy at that point (it is really obvious in the overhead shot that Lacy sees Jorge coming, double-cocks the right, looks back to Reid and delivers the blow). Then toward the end of the round, Jeff lets loose a flurry with over-hand rights, left upper-cuts, and every other punch known to man which drops Robin for another eight. No controversy on this one. The bell rings, 49/43 Lacy.

Between rounds Reid’s trainer says: “If you don’t do what I’m sayin’ – I’m gonna stop this fight…I mean it. “I’m gonna stop it seriously…you’re getting’ hit in the chin…” Reid objects.

ROUND SIX had Reid backing up and attempting to keep his distance as Jeff tried and tried to cut off the ring. At about :49 Lacy gets in a couple of overhand rights which put Reid down for another eight-count. Later Lacy’s head gets caught under Reid’s arm and he gets pushed down. The Ref pulls Jeff to his feet and the round ends, 59/51 Lacy. Again
Reid’s trainer says: “I’m gonna stop this fight-you’re getting’ hit too much- Rob…please…common.”

ROUND SEVEN starts off with Robin, 1:25, getting a point taken for holding. Robin then decides to re-enter the danger zone instead of keeping his distance. Jorge says, another and he will DQ Reid. At :33 there is a Lacy left uppercut, :31 a missed left uppercut, :30 a big overhand right, :29 a left uppercut, :28 a HUGE right uppercut, the whites of Reid’s eyes show and Robin goes down. He manages to weather out the round after the eight count, 69/58 Lacy.

When Reid gets back to the corner his trainer informs him that it is all over. The trainer tries in vain, to notify the ref, but soon Jorge gets back over there and the fight is stopped.

Jim Gray conducted such a professional and informative post-fight interview in the ring that attending a press-conference seemed redundant. Robin admitted to the head-butt which caused the controversy in round five and attempted to accuse Jeff of some infractions. Jeff just replied to the effect that Robin just could not take his power. He was so right. From this fight one must conclude that Jeff is the real deal and ready for Joe. Jeff is definitely championship material, and it appears we shall see much more of him in action soon. Can’t wait.

East Side Boxing would like to thank Gary Shaw Productions, Fred Sternburg (GSP) and especially the staff of the St. Pete Times Forum. From Mary China for credentials to the floor runners, who brought the media xerocopies of the scorecards after each bout, the people who operate that venue define the word professional. The Tampa hospitality shown by Michael Smirch, Terry Berton and Sal Versaggi were the icing on the cake. See you at the fights.

photo (c) Wray Edwards

Article posted on 08.08.2005



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