Despite Everyone In His Pocket, Magee Comes Up Empty

BY Joey Knish ON June 28, 2004
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Irishman Brian Magee had all the chips stacked in his favor this past Saturday as he wagered his International Boxing Organization Super Middleweight title. Magee was the defending champion, fighting a foreigner in his own backyard, younger than his opponent, and facing a guy who ‘earned’ his shot by losing last time out. When the judges decision was ultimately read there was shock as to the result. Not that Robin Reid had just out pointed local hero Magee, but that the scoring was so close. The judges had done their part, but Magee failed to do his.

The finally tally had England’s Reid taking a slim 113-112, 114-111 and 115-111 decision over Magee. How the scores were so close is testament to the type of home-cooking fighters sometimes receive. Fighting in his native Northern Ireland, Magee was dropped to the canvas not once, twice nor thrice. Four knockdowns over three rounds suggest that Reid was the stronger, better fighter, landing the more effective punches. Aside from Magee landing one punch at a time and then clinching, there wasn’t much boxing to be found from the Belfast boy. Reid was the only one registering any effective blows, yet nothing seemed to be registering on the judges’ scorecards.

It was clear that there were mathematical problems for some of the men scoring at ringside when in the eighth round Reid clearly won the round on the strength of two knockdowns. Assuming that it is rather difficult to knock your opponent down twice and somehow lose the round, that round would be scored as follows:

Reid 10-9 for winning the round, then 10-8 for winning and scoring a knockdown, and a further point for registering the second knockdown. All that results in a 10-7 round for Reid. Well, maybe not in Belfast it doesn’t. At least not when the local product is the one taking the tumble to mat . . . four times. One judge scored that eighth round 10-8 instead of 10-7. In the fifth when Reid knocked Magee down for the second time in the bout, it was carded 10-9, which suggests he lost the round aside from the KO. That simply wasn’t the case in the eyes of many at ringside.

For Brian Magee, the road ahead is hazy. Previous victories over suspect opponents such as Andre Thysse and aged Hassine Cherifi are now distant memories. The glaring fact that he has now been knocked down five times in his past two bouts is front and center. In the bout prior to taking on Reid, none other than Jerry Elliot dropped Magee. Elliot is a man who had been fighting exclusively at 160 and stepped up to 168 just for the right to fight Magee. He too seemed to ‘earn’ the shot at Magee and his IBO trinket by losing his bout prior to tackling Magee in Belfast.

On the other hand, Robin Reid is now a born-again quantity in a Super Middleweight division that is completely dominated by fighters outside of North America. Current title-holders include Cristian Sanavia, Joe Calzaghe, Manny Siaca and now Reid. Most observers felt Reid was deserving of Sven Ottke’s title when the two fought last December in front of Ottke’s German judges. The fight was not close on the cards, but very close in the ring. So close that Ottke decided his luck might finally be running out and retired a perfect 34-0-0.

The options are abundant for Reid, but I don’t see another trip to balmy Belfast in his near future. Besides a modeling career on the side and some appearances in movies for ‘adults-only,’ Reid can now rightly claim to be a stud in the ring.

Magee had a rematch clause in the contract, but you have to wonder whether that is Magee’s best option. When motivated Reid can crack with the best of them, and Magee has been found out to be rather chinny. So, a trip to jolly ole England to visit Robin Reid in a hostile environment does not bode well for the Irishman.

Seeing as though Magee couldn’t turn the trick with all the chips stacked in his favor this past weekend, a chance to roll the dice on enemy soil seems like a bad bet.

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