Originally created 03/02/00

Fighter takes advantage of a judge's decision



LAS VEGAS -- David Reid is grateful to a judge. Not one who voted for him in a fight, but one who gave him a chance in life.

In 1993, Reid, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist and the WBA super welterweight champion, was arrested in Philadelphia and charged with dealing crack cocaine.

"I was looking at three years (in prison)," Reid said Wednesday at a news conference leading to his 154-pound title defense against Felix Trinidad.

"I would have come out not wanting to box," added Reid, a blossoming amateur at the time of the arrest. "I would have gone back to the thing I knew, which was selling drugs."

Arnold Mitchell, the brother of Reid's trainer-manager Al Mitchell, told the judge Reid was a good man.

The judge let Reid go, telling him, "I don't want to ever see you in this court again. If I do, you're going to jail."

Reid heeded the message.

He became a Pan American Games and Olympic champion and won the WBA title in his 12th pro fight. His record is 14-0, with seven knockouts. He will become a major star by beating Trinidad, a Puerto Rican who holds the WBC-IBF welterweight (147 pounds) title.

Trinidad (36-0, 30 knockouts) was almost a 3-1 favorite to beat Reid on Friday night outdoors at Caesars Palace. This is his first fight since he defended the IBF welterweight title and won the WBC championship on a majority decision over Oscar De La Hoya on Sept. 18 at Las Vegas.

"Fighting Trinidad was something I wanted to experience in my lifetime because being an Olympic champion you want to face the best," Reid said. "It either is going to make you a man or a boy. This is the turning point of my career. This will make me a man."

"I'm going to take this title with me to Puerto Rico no matter what I have to do to win," Trinidad said through an interpreter. "If it's by a knockout, that's better."

Should Trinidad win, he must decide if he wants to keep the 154-pound title or 147-pound title. A fighter cannot simultaneously hold championships in different weight classes.

If Trinidad wins and decides to remain the super welterweight champion, De La Hoya would become WBC welterweight champ because he stopped Derrell Coley in the seventh round of an elimination bout on Saturday night in New York.

One issue to be resolved in a possible Trinidad-De La Hoya rematch is the weight at which the fight would be held.

The Reid-Trinidad bout will be shown on pay-per-view by SET.

Also on the card, with the telecast to begin at 9 p.m. EST, is a fight for the vacant IBF junior bantamweight title between Julio Gamboa of Nicaragua and Felix Machado of Venezuela, a 10-round non-title bout between WBA middleweight champion William Joppy of Silver Spring, Md., and Fernando Zuniga of Downey, Calif., and a 10-round women's bout between Christy Martin of Orlando, Fla., and Belinda Laracuente of Puerto Rico.