Top trainer Jesse Reid has worked with over twenty-nine world champions and many contenders. He should have been considered for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame years ago but hasn’t.
Reid was a football player when entering the military and picked up boxing. He had 93 amateur’s bouts and was in the 1968 Olympic Trials. He had a short 5-1-2 (2), professional record and decided to become a trainer and what a great one.
This writer met Reid years ago in Philadelphia when he had light heavyweight contender Jesse Burnett get shortchanged against Jerry “The Bull” Martin. He has worked with champions like WBA and WBC Light Middleweight champion Oscar “Shotgun” Albarado, 57-14-1 (43).
Others Reid work with include his first champion WBC Lightweight champ Rodolfo “El Gato” Gonzalez, 80-8-1 (66). WBO Heavyweight champion Lamon “Relentless” Brewster, 35-6 (30). 3-division world champ Johnny “Loca” Tapia, 59-5-2 (30).
The list continues with 3-division world champion Hector “Macho” Camacho, 79-6-3 (38), for fight with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. IBF Bantamweight champion and IBHOF inductee Orlando, 50-5-1 (38) and his brother WBA & WBO Bantamweight champion Gaby Canizales, 48-8-1 (36).
Includes WBC Welterweight champion Bruce Curry, 33-8 (17). IBF Featherweight champion Calvin “Silky” Grove, 49-10 (18). WBA Middleweight and IBF Light Heavyweight champion Reggie “Sweet” Johnson, 44-7-1 (25). WBA Super Featherweight and WBC Light Welterweight champion Roger “Black Mamba” Mayweather, 59-13 (35).
Also, Heavyweight contender Tye “Big Sky” Fields, 49-5 (44). IBF Lightweight champion Paul “The Pittsburgh Kid” Spadafora, 49-1-1 (19). IBF Middleweight champion Frank Tate, 41-5 (24). 3-division world champion Dingaan “The Rose of Soweto” Thobela, 40-14-2 (26). IBF Light Middleweight and Super Middleweight champion Darrin “School Boy” Van Horn, 54-3 (30). This Includes his son Jesse Wayne Reid, Jr., 11-0-1 (6).
What a list of boxers Reid has trained at one time or another during their careers. I found him to be a “man’s man!” No nonsense and to the point. Now how could he not be in the IBHOF?
Reid agreed to answer some questions:
KEN HISSNER: It must be very frustrating not even being considered for induction into the IBHOF, is it?
JESSE REID: Yes, I think it’s so political and I feel I’ve had so many world champions I should be inducted. It may be an East coast vs West coast political issue.
KEN HISSNER: You have worked with some tough to deal with boxers like Tapia and Spadafora. How did you do it?
JESSE REID: I was always honest with the fighter, told them the truth about their abilities and what I thought they could do to improve their skills. I also never put up with any nonsense. I expected them to focus and dedicate themselves to training, and they knew I meant business or I wouldn’t train them. I was a father figure to most of my fighters. Also I do not hover and give the fighters I work with the sense that they are responsible for their actions. This way, they have an opportunity to step up to the plate and learn they can count on themselves and succeed. I don’t get involved with their personal lives either, or any negative feedback. I try to stay positive with my athletes and focus on their abilities, and not their weaknesses.
Calvin Grove, former IBF Featherweight champion: He did a couple of fights with me in Houston. He did what he was supposed to do get you the win. He looked out for us.
KEN HISSNER: Was there any boxing events or situations that stand out with some of the boxers you worked with?
JESSE REID: (1) Orlando Canizales – when he knocked Seabrooks out when he won the title from Seabrooks, and when he defended the World Title. Those fights showed Orlando’s great capability and it bonded the two of us – Orlando was a very loyal fighter, with me for 16 years without a contract, so there’s a lot of positive attributes about him that stand out to me. (2) Johnny Tapia, Danny Romero fight. This fight was memorable because Tapia was a 3-1 underdog, and everyone thought he was going to get beat. He beat Danny like he owned him. In the corner, I felt Johnny and I were in a zone as fighter/trainer, and it showed out strength together. (3) Paul Spadafora, Mayweather sparring – Mayweather’s team, including his father, openly challenged Paul in the gym, talked bad about Paul, and Paul asked what he thought, I told him he could handle Mayweather so we jointly made the decision to let Paul spar with Mayweather. Paul rose to the occasion and man-handled Mayweather. We have it on tape (You Tube) and to this day we’re still talking about it. We would love to get an exhibition fight with Mayweather now to prove that Paul is still a contender for Mayweather and still capable of proving himself. Also the Spadafora/Sosa fight comes to mind. Paul was seriously hurt in the third round and came back to win the next seven rounds hands down. It showed me his heart, and I felt my motivation in the corner and his trust in me really helped Paul win that fight, it brought us closer together. (4) Reggie Johnson/Guthrie fight. Guthrie was undefeated and we knocked him out in the fifth round – I told Reggie to throw the overhand right and left hook, and he knocked Guthrie cold with it.
IBHOF Referee STEVE “DOUBLE S” SMOGER: Jesse Reid is a first class guy and an excellent Boxing coach. He ran a professional corner and never presented a problem.
BOB SPAGNOLA worked with Abercrombie’s Houston Boxing Club: I met Jesse in 83 or 84 to work the stable I had in Houston and he had Roger Mayweather with him. We brought up Frank Tate and Orlando Canizales and others. I saw Jesse turn a loss into a win. He’s a hell of a guy in a corner. Jesse traveled like my guys did. If you stay in Vegas or wherever, it’s a whole new business going overseas. One thing I know about Jesse, Jackie McCoy was his manager and convinced Jesse to be a trainer. Jesse had Philly’s Malik Scott (trained Wilder’s last fight) who in a brawl fought to a draw with Vyacheslav Glazkov, 14-0, from Ukraine, get robbed. It was a thrill to stand next to Canizales when Jesse worked with him.
FRANK TATE: IBF Middleweight champ and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist: He was my head trainer when I won the title and when I turned professional. He is a well-respected person in boxing.
KEN HISSNER: I know Orlando Canizales has to stand out in your training him. Was it?
JESSE REID: Orlando was one of the most clever individuals in the ring that I have ever trained. He was quiet, very confident, and extremely loyal. He was skilled with speed, power, and intelligence. He was coachable because he listened to everything I told him and was very respectful. Orlando had great management in Bob Spagnola. I felt the three of us were a great team who could really count on the trust one another. As I said above, I trained Orlando for 16 years, for two championships, and he remained loyal to me and Bob throughout his career – very hard to find in a fighter.
KEN HISSNER: What do you think of the boxing business today?
JESSE REID: Very complex. Very hard to get anything done. It takes a lot of money and a lot of patience and a devoted fighter to accomplish anything. The promoters today are not the same as the old days, and the fighters seem to want to be protected too much. It’s a tough business. But I still love the game and I love to help the underdog
KEN HISSNER: Did you have any favorite boxers before becoming a trainer?
JESSE REID: Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Willie Pep.
KEN HISSNER: Was it easy going from a football player to a boxer?
JESSE REID: No. Because you don’t have the protection you get as a football player, you feel the impact of the blows more than in football. There are no time outs, and you have to be in better shape than a football player. It is the hardest conditioning there is. Also the one-on-one combat, you against one other person, is a lot different. You don’t have a team of players to fall back on, it’s all up to you.
KEN HISSNER: I guess those bad decision losses with some of your fighters was always hard to take.
JESSE REID: Definitely. There were so many split decisions that were won, that we didn’t get the decision. Especially with Jesse Burnett, that really stands out because he had 12 split decision losses. Also Tapia’s second fight with Paulie Ayala was a very bad decision loss. Another one was Bruce Curry against Benitez, he had Benitez down four times in the fight and lost a split decision. It’s sad to see fighters train as hard as they train, and then not to get treated in a fair way. It’s hard to build them up after that. But the ones I’ve mentioned are true champions and they always came back and performed like a champion. It’s called self-respect.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
JESSE REID: Thank you Ken, I enjoyed talking with you.