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Reid-Mullings Report
Reid and Whitaker on top in stinkers.
by Chris Bushnell

Since it's inception over 3 years ago, HBO's "Boxing After Dark" program has featured exciting pick 'em fights and dramatic toe-to-toe contests in nearly every broadcast.  Tonight was an unfortunate exception.

In the main event, WBC 154 lb. champion David Reid took a unanimous, but rather boring, decision over former champion Keith Mullings.  On paper, Mullings looked to be a perfect test for the mostly untested Reid:  tough
chin, good two handed power, and a relentless will that made him dangerous every minute of the fight.  Once in the ring, however, Mullings' attack was virtually nil...and nearly matched by the infrequent offerings from Reid. 

David Reid's most obvious weapon is his unusual handspeed.  Early in the fight, his blinding combinations befuddled Mullings and kept a healthy distance between the two men.   Mullings' task was clear:  get inside Reid's
range and punish back.  Only occasionally did Mullings do both.

Reid spent much of the night on his toes, circling his challenger and opting to talk instead of punch.  If there is a fine line between good footwork and running from your opponent, Reid crossed over it several times.  At his best, Reid would turn Mullings and the unleash a four punch combination before getting out of harm's way.   Many times, however, Reid simply shuffled away from Mullings and the fight ground to a halt.

Reid's circling was weaving a hypnotic spell on Keith Mullings.  Frustrated by the champion's tactics, yet forced to respect Reid's power when it was uncorked, Mullings' own game was discombobulated.  Should he chase?  Should he stand still and wait?   Should he attack?  Mullings was often confused.  Worse, when he did get Reid on the ropes, in a corner, or on flat feet, he never offered more than a single punch (usually a slow motion attempt that missed by a mile) before clinching. 

The fight threatened the consciousness of even the most caffeinated insomniacs as the second half was even worse than the first.  Reid circled, Mullings followed.   Reid taunted, Mullings snarled.  The two fighters would
come together......and nothing happened.  Mullings would wave a punch and Reid would slip and hold.  It wasn't fun to watch.

At most, the entire fight contained a combined one round of action.  It consisted mostly of Reid's right hand, which he wildly swung in the last rounds, and brief flurries by the champion.  Mullings landed a few digging body shots and several glancing lead rights, but never once came close to testing Reid's chin. 

All three judges gave Reid a unanimous decision by identical scores of 117-111. (I scored it an ugly 120-108 for Reid)  He improves to 14-0/6 but does little to quiet his growing field of critics.  Blessed with rarely seen talent, Reid showed only enough to win.  Perhaps he was pacing himself, having fought another 12 round decision only six weeks ago, perhaps he was overly cautious with Mullings, or perhaps it was just an off-night...but it wasn't exciting. 

As for Mullings, it's difficult to find a single cause for his performance.  Although he looked fit and trim, Mullings might have overtrained.  His punches never had much snap and his reputed focus was dented.  Or perhaps
Reid's power dissuaded him from taking more risks in a fight ripe with opportunities to take control. Keith Mullings drops to 16-6-1/11 and also probably drops out of the top ten in a division that will soon be overcrowded with talent.

"Warming up" the crowd was another less than scintillating bout between heavyweight prospects Monte Barrett and Mount Whitaker.  Barrett tried to make it interesting by showing a high energy attack for four rounds before
tiring out.  Moving his head, going upstairs and down, and doubling up on his left hook, Barrett controlled the limited Whitaker early in the bout.

But Whitaker's size became a huge factor in the middle rounds, as Barrett tired under Whitaker's gigantic body attack.  Throwing mostly arm punches, Whitaker didn't find Barrett often, but when he did Barrett felt it.  As both men went from tired to exhausted, the fight went from slow to stopped. 

Clinching?  Yup.  Huffing and puffing?  You bet.  Clean punches?   Not in this fight.

Neither man could sustain control.  Whitaker would win a round with his big punches only to follow it with a comatose round in which he would let Barrett back in the fight.   As this battle of mediocrity neared the final rounds, the biggest intrigue was how the judges might see things.

Having given up his early lead to Whitaker in the middle rounds, Barrett found a second wind in the final two stanzas.  Coming alive, he tried his best to turn things around.  He won the 11th round and was on his way to also taking the 12th (and perhaps the fight on my card) until, with 5 seconds to go before the final bell, Whitaker launched a GIGANTIC right hand that opened a deep 5 inch gash that began at the bridge of Barrett's nose and curved up his forehead.  Blood poured freely from Monte's head and painted his entire face with a thick layer of crimson.  Had the fight gone on another 10 seconds, Whitaker may have scored a knockout.  As it was, this final punch stole the final round, giving Whitaker a 114-114 draw on my scorecard.

One judge had it 115-113 for Barrett, while the other two somehow came up with tallies of 117-111 and 116-112 for Whitaker.  Although Whitaker did enough to get the win in a bout that could have gone either way by a point, the wide margins with which he was credited are laughable.  While Whitaker improved to 19-1/16 while Barrett dropped to 20-1/12, it's difficult to see how either man gained anything.  Whitaker was winded and breathing very hard after 2 rounds.  His arm punches worked against his size advantage and he often moved backward as if gun-shy.  Barrett looked good in spurts, but also showed suspect conditioning in a fight that was otherwise his for the taking.

In an evening of two long and unexciting fights that stretched well beyond the witching hour, you could almost hear the collective sigh of boxing fans everywhere:  3 more weeks until DelaHoya-Trinidad.

.....Chris Bushnell

Reid decisions Mullings for title defense

Tonight was not a pretty night for boxing. First, we had a travesty of justice (Whitaker/Barrett) and then an ugly 12-round dragout (Reid/Mullings).

Though I have been a viewer of every one of Reid's professional outings, he has failed to impress me since his title-winning unanimous decision over Laurent Boudouani. It looks right now that Reid would be easy pickings for his possible Dream Fight opponent, Fernando Vargas.

Reid was at first very slick and avoided Mullings alot in the early going and was able to pick alot of shots. But, in the fifth where the challenger bull-rushed him in the ropes and landed bodyshots inside, it wasn't Reid's fight much from then on.

Mullings grew more and more angry as the Champion grew more and more reluctant to fight it out. When Reid did come up with punches, it was a swift flurry that didn't allow Mullings to get any shots off.

The exchange was alot closer in the later stages of the fight. The end result was not in doubt, however. It was a unanimous decision with all 3 judges scoring the battle 117-111. I agreed with them in tabbing the same score.

During the fight, Larry Merchant made a good point. Reid, as of late, has been doing anything as of late to win a match, even if it has to turn ugly. But, he needs to begin to look good to be a marketable champion.

Roy Jones also made a good point. Reid has been in with much better opposition than Vargas and that is what has made him look bad. He also stated that Reid would be able to handle Pound-for-Pound entrants Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, & Ike Quartey who will soon be moving up in weight. I don't find that to be as true as the first thing he said that caught my mind.

Nevertheless, Reid has improved to 14-0/7 KO's and posted his second defense of the title belt he obtained five monthes ago. Mullings dropped to 16-6-1 and lost his second consecutive match.

In an undercard Heavyweight scrap: Mount Whitaker earned a split decision over Monte Barrett in what can be called a travesty. Surely, this match was very close. But, any judge who thought that Whitaker won the fight by a 117-111 margin or close to should be banned from the sport.

Barrett showed uncanny skills by picking away at the 6'8" monster in the first 3 rounds. But, somehow, he wore himself out. From then on, Whitaker carried the fight until the ninth round. But, it wasn't because Whitaker was outboxing Barrett or even overpowering him. It was the exhausted Monte being punched around by Whitaker who was tossing blows at awkward positions.

The previously-unbeaten Barrett stole the last 3 rounds and seemed to pull off the fight to a possible draw. But, in the back of my mind, I knew that Mount Whitaker had won the decision. And he had.

Two of the three judges had it a very close fight, respectively for each fighter. What pulled it out for Whitaker was the whacko 117-111 score in his favor.

Whitaker made his record 19-1 (16 KO's) as Barrett dropped his first loss and fell to 21-1. Neither of these fighters are quality Heavyweights yet and have a long way to go before getting to that plateau. At least Whitaker has something called the WBC Continental title now which is virtually worthless in the worldof boxing.

Over 2 hours of unentertaining boxing comes to an end. That's all from me for now. Thanks for taking the time to check out my report.


Reid Decisions Mullings, Vargas Next?
Francis Walker

Less than six weeks after a sloppy title defense against mandatory challenger Kevin Kelley, WBA junior middleweight champion and the only American to win a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics, David Reid (14-0, 7KOs) rebounded last Saturday with an unanimous 12-round decision against former champ, Keith Mullings (16-6, 11KOs). Reid, who improves to 3-0 in world title fights, now has his sights set on a highly lucrative showdown with Fernando Vargas; his IBF 154-pound counterpart.

The bout, which took place at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday, August 28, was televised exclusively on HBO's "Boxing After Dark."

On July 16, Reid, who won the WBA crown from Frenchman Laurent Boudouani in March (W 12) in Atlantic City, returned to record his first defense against Kelley.

Although Reid won the bout unanimously, he looked sluggish and was tagged with a single shot that dropped in the early rounds. As for Reid's odd-looking left eyelid, it was swollen shut by the time the bout reached the ladder rounds.

Against Mullings, Reid kept his hands high across his face. Hoping to prevent Mullings, who vowed to shut Reid's right eye before attacking the left, and finishing off by testing his chin, Reid once again displayed all the natural talents that led him to a world title. Lead left-jabs, straight-rights, and circular movements around the ring made it difficult of Mullings to land a hard crisp shot.

Reid, who has a trademark of throwing his punches in bunches, kept Mullings at bay with three, four-punch flurries from odd angles.

In the later rounds, Mullings managed to win a couple rounds as he tried to muscle Reid around the ring; driving hard shots through the champion's guard. However, it was Mullings who tasted leather as Reid coasted-home a decisive winner.

At the end of 12, all three judges scored the bout 117-111 for the champion.

Vargas, who was on hand to watch Reid, denied all the allegations of his attempted burglary and assault charges brought against him. Vargas also expressed his readiness to meet Reid in an HBO proposed meeting of the two by Spring 2000.

Francis Walker

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