By Sean Bastow @SeanBastowESBR
Long before Robin Reid would go on to be a World champion at super middleweight he started his boxing career in the amateurs as a light middleweight. Reid had competed in various tournaments during the late 1980s and early 1990s across the globe, gaining more and more experience with each bout.
Reid picked up his first major amateur honour by winning the Canada Cup in 1992, as a result, the interest in him grew and he was selected to represent Team GB at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Reid looked fantastic and it was quite obvious even at this early stage his style was suited to the pro’ game, winning a bronze medal but this was merely a prelude for the success that was to come.
On the 27th February 1993, Reid competed in his first professional bout; a successful TKO victory against Mark Dawson.
From here, he quickly progressed up the rankings and it was 22 fights and 3 years later where he was given the opportunity to fight for the WBC super-middleweight title against experienced champion Vincenzo Nardiello.
At this point, Reid was one of the hottest tickets in town and had gathered a great following – with his brilliant boxing ability and good looks to match, it were hard not to like him.
Having successfully overcame Nardiello via TKO in seven rounds, the world had just become Reid’s oyster!
The super middleweight division in the late 1990’s was packed with talent; the likes of Chris Eubank, Steve Collins, Nigel Benn and a young fresh faced Joe Calzaghe, there was certainly some great fights to be made!
Nicknamed “The Grim Reaper”, he successfully defended his title 3 times and one particular fight that sticks out was when Reid took on Henry Wharton. If you have never seen it, I strongly recommend you watch it, you will find now spoilers here. Then it came time for a big test in Thulani Malinga. After a back and forth battle between the two, Malinga ripped the title away from Reid over 12 rounds.
Reid only fought once in 1998 in a comeback fight preparing him for his next World title tilt against WBO champion Joe Calzaghe.
Reid really give the champion issues throughout the fight and outboxed Joe for large spells only to end up coming out on the wrong end of a split decision. The fight against Calzaghe will be remembered in history as the one fight a lot of critics thought Joe Calzaghe lost!
Another year passed by and Reid was back and in for a World title the lightly regarded Official WBU super middleweight crown against Silvio Branco. Reid was again on the wrong end of a decision and it seemed the time away from the ring had not fared him well.
Not to be down trodden with back to back defeats, Reid bounced back and stronger than ever picking up 10 wins in 3 years and looking like the 1996 version of himself.
2003 rolled around and once again Robin Reid was back in World title contention and got his shot against IBF and WBA champion Sven Ottke. Reid really rolled back the years against the much feared Ottke and it all seemed to be set for a big upset victory until the judges’ scorecards came in. This was by far one of the worst decisions in boxing history and Reid was robbed in Germany.
The Grim Reaper returned to the ring the following year a picked up a win over Brian Magee. 2005 was quickly upon us, another victory and he was then given one more big shot at World honors against American hot prospect and IBO champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy.
The fight didn’t end in success for the Brit, after struggling to keep up with younger, sharper man, the fight was ended by the comer in the 8th round.
One thing Reid was good at doing was springing surprises on us and he came back after a 2 year break in 2007 and beat former The Contender star Jesse Brinkley. Reid was then presented with an opportunity to compete for the British title, something which he never had won nor had a shot at before.
In his way stood future world champion, Carl Froch. At this point Froch was on the way up and Reid’s slick skills were not what they used to be. Froch won the fight and his foe was left contemplating retirement.
Reid did return for one last hurrah in 2011 and finished up his great career against Kenny Anderson on the 20th October 2012.
The Grim Reaper had a great career and was one of my personal favourite fighters of the 1990’s.
When looking back at his career I feel he was hard done to with certain fights and in my eyes is one of the great British super middleweights who has never received the credit he truly deserved.
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