|Jesse Reid: A Fighter’s Kind of Trainer
Interview By Ken Hissner (March 5, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
It was September of 1979 when I first talked to Jesse Reid who had his light heavyweight Jesse Burnett in Philly to fight Jerry “The Bull” Martin. I found him to be such an approachable person. I met him one other time in Atlantic City when a group of us sat at a table and tried picking his brain for knowledge. He is the perfect example of “a man’s man” in a business of phonies and deadbeats.
Before I started writing last year, I had wanted so much to do a story on him. I had referred Lisa Scott of
Fightnews.com to him and she did an excellent piece. Back in 1995 I had written Mike Tyson in prison that when he gets released, Reid is his man. I recommended three fighters and he did fight Buster Mathis, Jr. in Philly. Tyson’s former trainer Cus D’Amato had trained Mathis, Sr. It seems Reid got the second shot at training Tyson. Tyson’s love of women and drugs were a real turn-off to Reid who knew at that stage of Tyson’s career he had to be more dedicated than ever to staying clean. In spite of Tyson’s insistence Reid had to say no to the “just go along for the ride like the others” offer of Tyson’s.
In contacting Reid about working the corner of former champion Reggie Johnson recently I thought “what else can I write about him that Lisa hadn’t already covered.” Well, the following is what some of our conversation was about.
Ken Hissner: You recently worked Reggie Johnson’s corner in his win over Julio Gonzalez.
Jesse Reid: I have yet to work Reggie’s corner that he didn’t win. I hope to get him into camp for his next fight instead of just coming in and working the corner. He still has it.
KH: I know you have worked with world champions, several managers, and promoters. I would like to know some of the easier fighters and better promoters you have worked with along with your favorite trainers that you looked up to.
JR: I would say Jesse Burnett was certainly one of my loyalist boxers. That is something that today is a rare thing. When I fought, Jackie McCoy was my manager/trainer. He didn’t have much time for me because he had two world champions in Mando Ramos and Raul Rojas. He and Eddie Futch were certainly to of the best trainers I came in contact with. As far as managers, Billy Baxter and I have worked together with three world champions and hope for a fourth in Tye Fields. Sam Simon and I spent eight years with Lamon Brewster. I had Brewster and Montell Griffin throughout their amateur careers. We parted our ways when they started their pro careers. When I see the connection between Kelly Pavlik and his trainer Jack Loew working together it reminds me of the Petronelli’s and Hagler. When I took Burnett to Japan in 1976 and 1977 I found several of the promoters there like Mazoko and Harry Yamaguchi great to work with.
KH: What fighters are you primarily working with now?
JR: If Paul Spadafora ever gets it together we have a date with Floyd Mayweather. He worked Mayweather over pretty good in the gym one day and they had a million excuses for it. My main fighter is heavyweight Tye Fields (40-1, 36 KOs). He had no amateur experience. He has learned along the way in the pro ranks.
KH: What fighters would you like for Fields to fight?
JR: Our first objective is Josue Blocus March 13th over VERSUS. I would like for Tye to fight Hasim Rahman and Nikolai Valuev. He worked Rahman over pretty good in the gym. Tye is very deceiving.
KH: What I like about him, not only is he a 6:09 southpaw, but he throws more punches per round than any heavyweight out there. On top of that he seems like a likeable guy.
JR: Klitchko is probably the best out there. Put enough pressure on him and he will fold. I have Tye throwing a lot of punches because I don’t want him fighting inside with someone holding onto him.
KH: Who makes the decision on Tye’s opponent?
JR: Billy Baxter, Bruce Trampler (Top Rank) and myself.
KH: You once told me about how you decided to be a trainer instead of a boxer. You were 5-1-2 including a knockout win over David Love up to that sparring session.
JR: I was sparring with this fighter who was using my head for a speed bag. That is when I decided to be a trainer instead of a fighter. His name was Hedgemon Lewis.
KH: I told Hedgemon about that when I did a story on him recently. We both roared. As always, I wish you only the best in the future with Tye, Reggie and Paul if he fights again. Tell us again when Tye fights.
JR: Thank you. Tye will be on VERSUS network next week. (March 13th).
e-mail Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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