There’s a major TV fight coming up next weekend. Well, kind of. The real reason to watch Showtime is for the replay of the Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo shindig to whet the appetite for the rematch Oct. 8.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it for you by telling you who won or how (lol) and instead concentrate on spoiling the so-called main event of the telecast. Live, Jeff Lacy defends one of those 168-pound titles — it doesn’t matter which sanctioning body’s imprint is on the trinket, of course — against Robin Reid.
The nicknames may be better than the fight. Lacy is called "Left Hook," although his right hand is hardly shabby. Reid is called the "Grim Reaper" and the most interesting thing about the English challenger is that he has frequently worked as a nude model. I read someplace where he was a "male" nude model, just in case you were wondering about anyone named Robin.
Ten years ago, Reid was a belt-holder and a pretty decent fighter, someone the great English promoter, Mickey Duff, would call "capable." He was marketed somewhat as a sex symbol, but even late in his career he was decent enough to lose somewhat controversial decisions in title fights against Joe Calzaghe and the now retired Sven Ottke.
Bitter at those losses, Reid has fought only twice in the last couple of years. Art Manteris of Station Casinos has pegged this fight at about 7-1 in favor of the young 2000 Olympian. There are many things in Lacy’s favor.
The fight is in his home town of St. Petersburg, Fla. This is not always a positive, of course. Guys fighting in front of friends and family can be under extraordinary pressure. But Lacy’s brawling, attacking style is made for anyone with an overdose of adrenaline. Plus, Reid will be thinking that he has to do more than necessary, perhaps, in order to win. He feels uncomfortable in Florida, as witnessed by his gruff refusal to take part in a nationwide media conference call. This gave Lacy, or his speechwriters, cause to say he was going to make a "Tampa Tea Party" out of the Anglo-American battle, "but instead of Boston Harbor, I’m dropping Reid in the ring."
Lacy, 19-0 with 15 knockouts, would seem to have far less experience than Reid, 38-4-1 with 27 KO’s. But as the champion’s trainer, Dan Birmingham — yes, the same genius who is responsible for Winky Wright — points out, Lacy has been fighting on a big stage since the age of ten, when he began appearing in national amateur finals.
Reid is 34 years old, not ancient, but he has been inactive (so has Lacy to a degree; he’s been idle five months) and that could lead to ring rust.
Reid’s competency means that Lacy is not an "out" bet and I don’t think there’s much value in laying the big price. On the other hand, there’s probably even less danger. I am very high on Lacy. The career plan is to go from Reid to Calzaghe, another Brit, in a partial unification of the supermiddleweight division.
It is a bastard weight class that finally may be coming into its own. It has long been dominated by Europeans, and the best of the lot may be Mikkel Kessler. Lacy, if he gets by Calzaghe (and I believe he will if British promoter Frank Warren allows his meal
ticket to be at risk), would make a lot of Euros happy facing Kessler.
But his biggest fight, I believe, is a future match against an Olympic teammate, Jermain Taylor. The new middleweight king will not be able to hold his weight at 160 pounds for very long and inevitably will be moving to supermiddle.
Moreover, after Taylor’s contracted rematch with Bernard Hopkins (which seems set for Dec. 3), there is nothing out there except perhaps Winky Wright, Lacy’s good buddy.
Tampa Bay residents Wright or Lacy, could be an intriguing question in the early months of 2006. My guess is it will be Lacy and let me say right here and now, he’s got one hell of a shot at beating Taylor, whom I believe should improve off his first meeting with Hopkins to clearly win the rematch.
But that’s probably more information than you need right now. Suffice to say, watch
Showtime for one of the greatest fights in history and, if you’re really antsy about having action, lay the odds. Of course, you don’t need an expert to tell you that a 7-1 favorite should win, or that you’re probably better off putting your money in a bank.