TAMPA, Fla. (St Pete Times Forum) – Jeff “Left Hook’’ Lacy, 20-0, 1 NC, (16 KOs), Tampa, 167, won a brutal and convincing 7th round stoppage of Robin “The Grim Reaper’’ Reid (38-5-1, 27 KOs), Bolton, England, 167½, a fighter never before down or stopped.
It was all Lacy all the way. Rounds one through four saw Reid holding and clutching after tasting Lacy’s power early.
Round five won’t go into the hall of fame for the way it was handled by referee Jorge Alonso.
The frustrated Reid obviously committed an intentional headbutt (something he admitted after the fight) and as Alonso attempted to break the fighters, Lacy unloaded on Reid, sending him to the deck for the first time in his career. Reid was then also docked a point for the foul.
To make matters worse for Reid, he was hunted down by the ever-aggressive Lacy and put down for the second time – this time without controversy.
In round six and seven Lacy continued to dominate, dropping his foe in both rounds, with Reid also penalized a point for excessive holding.
Following the seventh round, Reid’s corner, against his expressed wishes, stopped the bout. Reid complained after the fight but it was clear he was in trouble.
With four knockdowns of the previously steel-chinned Reid, Lacy serves notice to the division that his power is real.
Unfortunately for Lacy, this explosive showing may make current WBO champion Joe Calzaghe, his ostensible opponent in the fall, think twice about whether their fight will happen.
Calzaghe’s talked-about big fights with the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver et al. have fizzled in the past.
The Sweet Science had the bout scored at 70-57 at the time of the stoppage.
Lacy entered the ring a favorite of many U.S. observers despite good reviews for Reid. Pre-fight analysts saw Reid as having his best chance at capturing a victory would be to force the bout into the later rounds, using his experience.
Lacy, the younger and less experienced fighter of the two, had only wins over Omar Sheika and Syd Vanderpool on his short resume to stake his claim as a top fighter.
Both fights were, however, very important because each of the veterans stretched him in ways that caused him to learn that his considerable power would not always be enough to get him through.
Of course Lacy also sported an extensive amateur career that included a turn in the Olympics.
Coming into the fight, Reid's ledger demonstrated a great deal of international experience including three successful title defenses of the WBC belt, 1996-97, before losing the title on a decision to Thulane Malinga.
However only his win over fringe contender Brian Magee since that time represents a significant achievement since his short WBC super middleweight tenure.
Perhaps more impressive were his losing efforts against belt-holders Joe Calzaghe and Sven Ottke. He fought both very closely and dropped controversial decisions to each.
Like Lacy, Reid also had Olympic experience, gaining a bronze medal in the 1992 Games in Barcelona.