Q&A With Mike Reed

Junior welterweight prospect Mike Reed just had his first fight away from the East Coast last weekend in Nebraska, appearing on the undercard of a fighter he said he admires, Terence Crawford, and won a close decision. Here he is in a lightly condensed and edited Q&A on what went right in the fight, what went wrong, what he learned and more.

One report said the fight was closer than expected. How do you think the fight went?

You know, I didn’t think it was that close. If I’m honestly speaking, I could’ve given him two rounds. I definitely could’ve been a lot better than what I showed. But he’s an undefeated fighter. He didn’t get his record for no reason. He’d fought some pretty good opposition. I kind of beat myself up on it, I could’ve done a lot better.

What did you learn?

As the night went on, I learned that he couldn’t handle my hand speed. He was giving up a lot of body shots, too. I don’t care who you are, eventually that takes steam out of you. This was my first eight rounder. You want to break him down and get him where you wanted.

He caught you pretty clean early on — did you feel those shots?

I didn’t real feel ‘em. I guess I should say, I did feel it, but he threw everything at one pace. He was heavy handed. His jab felt the same as his right hand. I guess that’s a good and a bad thing for him; you have to be able to shock your opponents, change it up. He threw everything at one pace. The first thing that I learned, at the weigh-in, is what to put in your system as far as food is concerned. I had two omelets that I ate the day of fight. They were sitting at the bottom of my stomach. Other than that, I think that I need to throw more combination punches. Those are two big things.

 You did better after the early rounds. Do you think you start slow and that’s a bad thing, or do you think it’s a good thing that you figure your opponent out early and then pick up steam?

I think that’s a bittersweet thing. Even in the amateur boxing, they said I always lose round 1. It was true. It was true. It takes me a little time to warm up. You don’t want use all your energy early. You want to be stronger in later rounds, but you don’t want to give the fight away in the early rounds. I think I can start a little faster.  You need more energy in the later rounds that in the earlier rounds. There’s a feeling out opponent process.

How was it fighting away from the East Coast?

It felt the same. Honestly speaking, once I’m in the ring, I have tunnel vision. For the walkout, I looked around and noticed these thousands of people. It was a cool feeling. It kind of shows the evolution of me and my career. I made my pro debut in front of 300 people. We’ve gone from 300-400 people to fighting in front of thousands of people. That’s what our team is doing, working for us.

How do you think of how Top Rank is moving you?

I’m 100 percent happy with where I am with my career and Top Rank. I signed with them because they have that — they show you how they worked with Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, even Floyd Mayweather They know how to build fighters. They put me on a bigger card in my first eight-rounder. Everybody now feels like family. It’s all love.

Did you consider this opponent a step-up?

I did feel the difference in the quality, just a little bit. When I wasn’t signed. fought [Ramesis] Gil. He’d fought some pretty good prospects, so this was just a slight step up. In record, it was a major step up.

You fought some pretty good opposition on those Keystone shows.

If I was fighting C- fighters with Keystone, he was C+. You can tell the difference.

What did you think of Crawford’s performance?

I will have to say what impressed me the most in that fight would be his adjustments. He showed in the [Yuriorkis] Gamboa and [Raymundo] Beltran fights — the adjustments he made was amazing. The first couple rounds, he kind of struggled with Beltran. It was closer. As the fight went on he showed his adjustment.

Did you get to meet him?

I talked to him before the fight. He sized me up a little bit. He was like, “You fight at 140?” We had a cool interaction. Sitting down when I first met him, we shared a laugh, took a picture. We chopped it up a little bit. You never know what can happen. Same way he sized me up, I sized him up. Anybody from 135-147 — you never know. Floyd said he didn’t know who Robert Guerrero was until he fought him, and he fought on undercards of his fights.

What are your future plans?

We don’t know. If history repeats itself I’ll fight in late January, early February, continuing the pace I’ve been going my whole career. I don’t have any injuries. I was back training Monday. When we get our call we’ll fight whatever they put in front of us.

How’s the rest of your life going? School, etc.?

School is good. End of semester is coming up. I have finals coming up Tuesday. I’m studying for that. I’m on course to pass class with at least a B average. Me and my girlfriend, we’re good. Me and my dad. Me and my mom. It helps with the boxing. Fighters going through trouble in their marriage or personal lives affects them. I keep everybody happy in my life so I can be happy inside and outside the ring.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.