Don’t leave me hanging on, hanging on. As the song goes.
On Saturday night Runcorn veteran Robin Reid returns to competitive action against Jesse Brinkley, the former Contender contestant, on the Newcastle bill that pits British fighters against Contender series fighters later this month. It hurts me to describe the former WBC World Champion as a veteran, mainly because it reminds me that the first generation of fighters to whom I gravitated as a younger fan are all but retired – Lewis, Benn, Prince Naseem, Watson, my beloved Herol, ‘Sweet C’ McMillan they’re all gone.
This fight now represents the last hurrah for the 36-year-old as he seeks to squeeze either paydays or meaning from the last embers of his career.
A career that despite world-championships still doesn’t glow in the way it perhaps could have done. Surprise defeats at WBC champion and too long a period spent in the minor body wilderness complaining about the injustice of his loss to Calzaghe and the Welshman unwillingness to grant him a rematch eroded much of Reid’s plentiful prime.
Under the tutelage of Brian Hughes, Reid has had a long and at times distinguished career but looked to be hitting the buffers on his long journey when dispatched with ease by up and coming American Jeff Lacy 18 monthsago. The granite chin failed him as poor preparation and, it seemed, age finally came home to roost. A public call out by British champion Carl Froch went unanswered and most outside the closer confines of boxing’s power-brokers assumed the ‘old dog’ had essentially retired.
Now, he has an opportunity to relaunch in a high profile bill against an opponent to whom he is a chasm above in terms of pedigree and experience but not, perhaps crucially, form.
It will be interesting to see what Reid has left, and whether there remains hunger to accompany the assumption he is only trading on the name his previous achievements provide.