By John Gregg
Too much experience. Too much class. Too much Trinidad.
Felix "Tito" Trinidad dropped champion David "American Dream" Reid four times en route to capturing the WBA super middleweight title by pounding out a commanding 12-round unanimous decision over the former US Gold Medal winner. The fight was close over the first six rounds and Trinidad had to climb off the deck in the third after Reid dropped the legendary Puerto Rican 147-pound champ with a straight right hand to the chin.
However, the WBC/IBF welterweight king Trinidad started pulling away in the 7th and floored the champion with a searing left hook to the jaw. Reid never saw the punch and for the rest of the evening he fought much of the fight back on his heels. In the eighth round, Trinidad opened a cut over Reid's right eye and in the 11th, he dropped the champion three more times to secure the win.
Judge Stanley Christadolu scored the bout, 114-107, while Duane Ford had it, 114-106, and Jerry Roth tallied, 114-107, all for Trinidad. The BT scorecard also had Trinidad winning by a large margin, 115-106.
"The knockdown didn't bother me," Trinidad said after the victory. "If you don't get me in the first few rounds, the fight is over."
"He hit me with some good shots. I have to be a gentleman and take the loss," the disappointed Reid said after the defeat. "Experience was a factor in the later rounds. I have no respect for the other fighter, but Trinidad was the better man tonight."
Trinidad (37-0, 30 KO's) went to the body early in the fight and at 1:25 of the first round drilled Reid (14-1, 7 KO's) with a solid shot to the belly. Trinidad (153) stayed downstairs and moments later, ripped Reid, Philadelphia, PA. with a double left hook to the ribs. Trinidad, Cupey Alta, Puerto Rico, closed out the 1st, by landing a digging left-right combination that ricocheted off Reid's (153) midsection. The champion seemed tentative and had difficulty letting his hands go.
Reid, 26, finally got on track midway through the second round and at the 1:37 mark nailed Trinidad with a clean right hand to the chin. However, Reid's inexperience was clearly evident throughout the bout and he attempted to launch almost all of his attacks from too far outside. With 14-seconds to go in the 2nd, Trinidad, 27, drew a caution from referee Mitch Halpern for a low blow. Seconds later, Reid caught the challenger with another solid right hand to the head.
Circling to his left, Trinidad still seemed in control and caught the champion early in the third with a clean left-right combination. Nevertheless, Reid delivered the first knockdown of the bout when he drilled Trinidad at the 1:15 mark with a savage overhand right to the chin. The WBC/IBF king went down to one knee in the corner but was back up quickly at the count of two. For Trinidad it marked the fifth time in his illustrious career that he had been knocked down. Reid remained on the attack and scored with a solid left hook followed by a stinging right hand to the face that made Trinidad's eyes water. Trinidad attempted to go back downstairs and with 18-seconds remaining in the round, hit Reid with a low left hook. Halpern interceded and issued a warning to the challenger.
Trinidad, 5'11 ¾", returned to jabbing and moving in the 4th and 5th, while Reid continued to load up with his shots. Rather than fire his punches in combinations, Reid, 5'9 ½", continued to look for another opportunity to land a knockout blow and by doing so let Trinidad right back into the fight. The WBA champ spent far too much time posing rather than letting his hands go and Trinidad began timing his barrages.
Throughout the sixth round, Trinidad began landing his left hook with authority. Digging body shots and then coming back up top and rattling hooks off of Reid's face. Midway through the 6th, Trinidad unloaded a four-shot volley of hooks that all connected against the champion. Just before the bell, Trinidad strayed south of the border with a punch that actually caught Reid on the hip and the referee took a point away from the challenger.
The fight was close going into the seventh round but Trinidad's experience and Reid's lack of leather soon marked the turning bout of the junior middleweight title fight. Reid connected with several overhand rights early in the 7th, but Trinidad stayed within his game plan and kept firing hooks. However, the turning point of the fight happened with 2:11 to go in the round. Trinidad feinted his hook and came back with a laser-like right hand that caught Reid flush on the chin. For an instant the champion's knees buckled but he remained upright. Late in the 7th, Trinidad caught Reid with a series of three hard left hooks to the head after the champion began dropping his left hand. The third blast caught Reid flush on the jaw and as the champion careened backwards into the ropes he hit the deck. Reid simply never saw the punch and he was lucky to get back up. The bell quickly sounded and the champion sheepishly returned to his corner and a scolding from his trainer Al Mitchell.
Trinidad came out hard in the eighth round firing punches and looking to end the bout. At the 2:07 mark of the 8th, Trinidad clocked Reid with yet another hard hook to the head and the champion's legs appeared wobbly. Trinidad continued his attack and hurt the champion with several more solid flurries including another whip-like hook that opened a long diagonal slice above Reid's right eye. The referee quickly called time and had senior ringside Dr. Flip Homansky examine the cut. Homansky gave his OK and the bout continued. With 1:03 to go in the round, Trinidad connected with yet another volley of shots and Reid's only response with to counter with a smile. Trinidad went back to work and blistered the champion with several shotgun left jabs and then closed out the 8th, with a ringing volley of shots that caught Reid flat footed and confused.
Reid was still dangerous in the 9th but he was unable to deliver his big right hand. Rather instead, Trinidad moved effortlessly around the ring and clocked the champion with a variety of hooks to the head and belly. Reid attempted to counter and he caught the challenger with a low blow and Halpern took a point away from Reid. With 32-seconds remaining in the round, Trinidad flurried and caught the champ with a left-right-left-right four-shot combo that jolted Reid. By the end of the round he stumbled going back to his corner where his trainer Mitchell implored him to throw his right hand. However, by that time it was too late. Reid was simply outgunned and he lacked the experience to mount a counterattack.
Reid did manage to connect with several sharp right hands in the 10th but Trinidad began walking through his shots. At the 1:49 mark of the 10th, Trinidad connected with a searing right hand to the jaw that again shook the champion. Reid could only throw one punch at a time while Trinidad fired whistling shots with deadly accuracy. Just before the bell to close the 10th, Trinidad nailed Reid with yet another brutal right cross to the chin.
--On the Deck--
Trinidad began pouring on the leather in the 11th round. At the 2:41 mark, the challenger ripped Reid with a clean left hook to the head. Seconds later, the challenger rocked Reid again with a rocket-like combination to the head. Reid's legs were simply gone and Trinidad unloaded a fusillade of leather. At the 1:54 mark, Trinidad caught Reid with a clean right uppercut that dropped the challenger with a delayed knockdown. The champion beat the count but he looked to be in serious trouble. The beating continued as Trinidad drilled Reid with a high velocity right hand that caught the champion flush on the jaw and again he hit the canvas. Reid beat the count but when he attempted to fight back he hit Trinidad with a low blow. Halpern stopped the fight long enough to deduct a point from the champion. While it was a horrible night for Reid it was also a bad evening for the referee Halpern, who was guilty of over officiating. Just before the bell sounded to end the 11th, Trinidad clocked Reid with yet another right hand to the chin and floored the champion for the third time in the round. Reid managed to make it to his feet by the count of eight but Halpern remarkably did not halt the bout. Reid wobbled back to his corner and the beating continued for another three minutes.
Reid loaded up with several lead right hands in the 12th but there simply wasn't enough time to get back into the contest. Trinidad moved, boxed, and unloaded three-shot volleys that rattled off the side of Reid's face. At the bell, Reid's good eye, his right eye was nearly closed. His bad left eye, the result of an earlier injury in his career was also only half open. The result was that Reid took an unnecessary beating at the hands of one the greatest fighters in the sport.
Trinidad was lifted aloft by his handlers and carried around the ring. The decision was a mere formality and Trinidad was announced as a winner to the standing room crowd of over 10,000 at the outdoor arena in the Caesars Palace parking lot. Sometimes a fighter is his own worst enemy and that was the case for David Reid on this cool desert evening. What remains to be seen is how the former Olympic Gold Medal winner recovers from this defeat.
--Joppy Over Zuniga in non-title Contest--
WBA middleweight champion William Joppy (29-1-1, 22 KO's) scored a 10-round unanimous decision over late substitute Fernando Luis Zuniga (18-3, 14 KO's).
Zuniga (162) got the opportunity to battle with the WBA champ when number-one contender Rito Rubalcava was forced to withdraw from the title bout on Monday with tonsillitis. Fighting on just four days notice, Zuniga, Downey, CA. via Ecuador, held his own over the first four round but Joppy's (162) steady body attack began taking its toll in the fifth. Joppy continued to land with devastating left hooks and right crosses throughout the second half of the non-title affair but Zuniga kept his feet. Joppy connected with brutal shots in the 7th, 8th, and 9th rounds but Zuniga remained on his feet.
Joppy went on to win the fight by an overwhelming margin on all three judges scorecards, 114-107, 114-106, and 114-107.
In an earlier bout in a women's contest, Christy Martin (39-2-2, 30 KO's) scored a controversial majority eight-round decision over Belinda Laracuente (17-4-1, 9 KO's). Laracuente (140) seemed to get the best of Martin (140) six rounds to tow, but the judges scored it for the veteran, 77-75, 77-75, and 76-76, a draw.