FEATURE CLASSIC IRISH BOXING- JULY 2004- Cormac Campbell
Saturday night’s IBO super middleweight contest at the King’s Hall Belfast between home favourite Brian Magee and Runcorn puncher Robin Reid was supposed to be a crossroads fight with the winner going on to bigger and better things and the loser going to the back of the queue. But what transpired showed such severe limitations in both combatants that it may well be unwise to push either further into world class.
The mood among the 5,000 capacity crowd at the show was one of dejection; truly passionate fight fans who had just witnessed the flaws of their latest hope so blatantly exposed. They did cheer Magee on until the end, creating a better atmosphere than fight, but their efforts were ultimately fruitless.
Despite getting the decision, Reid was truly awful. From the opening round his incessant and unfounded moaning was a cause for concern. In-fact he had Magee deducted a point for a non existent low blow, and continued to complain every time there was a clinch. It seems bizarre that Reid hadn’t prepared for a fight with a lot of clinches, after all the general consensus was that Magee’s chin was of the glass variety and thus it seemed obvious that when in close Magee was going to grab rather than trade.
Also worrying was the fact that Reid only threw single shots, what’s even more worrying is the fact that the few he landed actually won him a unanimous 12 round decision! For each and every time “the Reaperman” landed, Magee was all over the place, wobbling like a rag doll, touching down or worse still being dropped very heavily in the eighth with a big right hand.
Magee was equally bad, the few times he threw punches in bunches he appeared sharp and outclassed the sluggish Reid, even stranger was the fact that he waited until the last ten seconds of the bout to step it up and take the fight to Reid, pounding his opponent on the ropes. Bizarrely his main assault was a looping southpaw left hand and then to clinch, which although landing on a fairly regular basis was not hurting Reid. Magee’s constant clinching was not what worried me, rather the fact that only one shot came before them.
Reid on the other hand would have done well from knowing how to through a shot whilst moving backwards, his stubborn display of showing Magee couldn’t push him towards the ropes earned him a nasty gash to the forehead after one of the many clashes of heads, for which both were to blame. If Reid had simply stepped back, chances are he would have caught Magee coming in, scoring a KO, he didn’t however.
Apart from the rounds with the point deduction (round one) or with knockdowns (4,5,8) Reid did absolutely nothing, almost reminiscent of his non-display against sugar-boy Malinga in 1997 when Reid lost his WBC title. Magee only did slightly more and it is because of this that my score card read 113-111. If that point hadn’t have been deducted, which it shouldn’t and one of the two controversial knockdowns, (round 4+5 could be argued as slips) had not been counted then Magee may well have emerged as an equally undeserving victor.
Regardless of possible controversy, we now know that Magee simply does not have a chin capable of taking a meaningful shot, and it seems questionable what route he will now take, possibly a British title fight with the winner of Carl Froch v Tony Dodson. The ease with which he was shaken and floored must be something of a concern. As for Reid a genuine title shot may not now be in the offing as he is simply too boring to sell tickets!
On the undercard British and commonwealth light middle champ Jamie Moore lost his commonwealth strap to Ghanaian Ossie Duran. Moore foolishly elected to fight knowing that he had a badly injured hip, and when the hip gave way Duran pounced, clinically finishing the argument in the third with a double-left right combination which sent Moore straight down for the count.
The only bright spot of a disappointing bill was former IBF Flyweight challenger Damaen Kelly who looked somewhere near back to his best after his defeat by Irene Pacheco in Columbia last year. Kelly threw crisp, fast and accurate body, and head shots to take out Delroy Spencer in three rounds.
What is unfortunate is that with Magee’s defeat big time boxing will now not be back in Belfast for some time, possibly until the much hyped Bernard Dunne decides the time is right to make his first Irish appearances or in the unlikely event that Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe or Scott Harrison decide to fight outside their home towns. This is a real shame, because boxing could be huge here once again the atmosphere in the King’s hall was incredible, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand, it’s a shame the fight couldn’t match the fans passion and intensity.
Full Results from the Kings Hall card:
Robin Reid bt Brian Magee – unanimous points decision 12rds
Ossie Duran bt Jamie Moore – TKO 3rd.
Marat Khuzeev bt Josef Matolsci – unanimous points decision 12rds
Damaen Kelly bt Delroy Spencer – TKO 4th
Jason McKay bt Ciaran Healy – points 6rds
Albert Sosnowski bt Wojciech Bartnik – points 6rds
Michael Kelly bt Simon Wilson – points 4rds
Willie Valentine bt Danny Lanigan – points 4rds