BOXING Whitaker loses decision to Reid as replacement
He took the fight on short notice, then fell behind early.
MARKSVILLE, La. -- With an arrival in Baton Rouge, La., before noon Saturday, E.T. Whitaker was on time for the weigh-in for that night's main event at the Paragon Casino-Resort.
Evidently, he didn't have his legs for several rounds, as his opponent, Thomas Reid, used an early lead to win a unanimous 10-round decision.
Whitaker (31-13-2), in training for an October bout at Madison Square Garden, took this bout on short notice late last week when Reid's original opponent bowed out with an injury.
Reid scores early
A 37-year-old veteran from Jackson, Tenn., Reid came out early with crisp combinations and a stiff left jab that had Whitaker off-balance.
But in the third round, the Warren boxer finally responded with several good combinations and seemed to find his way in the bout with evasive tactics and good boxing through the next two rounds.
There were back-and-forth exchanges into the sixth round when Reid got busy again with stinging combinations to the head and body of Whitaker. The Tennessee fighter showed good power punching as he seemed to take command of the fight.
"In the late rounds I began to feel refreshed, with my body kicking in, when I heard the bell," said Whitaker, who rallied in the eighth round.
Whitaker also admitted, "I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be."
Came back strong
He was more aggressive in the ninth round, and near the end of the round caught Reid with a solid left uppercut off of a straight right that staggered him.
"I thought I had him then," said Whitaker.
But Reid survived the round and hung on in the final round to gain a unanimous decision on all three judges cards.
Reid came in at a light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds and Whitaker was at 170 in what turned out to be the best fight on a six-bout card.
"I am not going to make excuses because, even with a slow start, I had an opportunity to take him out and didn't do it," Whitaker said.
Youngstown's Pat Nelson, who manages Whitaker, confirmed the boxer took the fight on short notice because he was in training.
Needed the money
But there was another reason. Whitaker became the father of daughter Lena, who was born on Aug. 13.
"When you have babies you need more money," Whitaker said.
"I do know that I didn't have enough sparring so I didn't have my timing down and I sure wasn't executing properly," he added. "This was a lesson learned to not take fights on this short notice again."
In about five weeks, Whitaker will join Nelson's heavyweight from Austintown, Chris Koval, on the undercard of the Felix Trinidad-Ricardo Mayorga bout on Oct. 2 at Madison Square Garden.