Oct 02, 2011 Sports
Ever since Andrew ‘Sixhead’ Lewis won the WBA welterweight belt several other local pugilists managed to successfully emulate that feat. However, since then, the local pugilists have surrendered those titles and it seems as though the sport has retracted to the rut before Lewis achievement.
Despite the dismal state of affairs, former world rater, Reginald Ford is adamant that local pugilists possess the ability to once again retain their lost glory in the ‘square jungle.’
During the late seventies, the late Errol Butcher aka ‘Taps’ had owned a Ford Escort motor car in which he prided so much, he would apply a constant coat of wax that kept it in immaculate condition.
In those days, the Republican Boxing Gym was among the top institutions where such pugilists as Winston Richards, Allan and Derek Housner and a plethora of classy boxers plied their trade. During that era, one of the most vociferous supporters of the Republican Boxing gym, a fellow known as ‘Star’ could not appreciate the skills demonstrated by Darius and regardless of who he fought, always chose the opposite corner. ‘Star would parade the Sports Hall, waving a white flag while advocating that ‘the only good Ford was Taps’ automobile. He had similar regards for Patrick and Reginald.
Notwithstanding this, all of the Fords comprised a very important part of the local boxing frontier and one could hardly entertain a discussion of the sport locally without mentioning the names Patrick, Reginald and Darius. Should there be a debate of the most prolific Ford, one would obviously be tempted to select Patrick whose near miss at attaining the first world title for this country would still leave a bitter sweet taste even among his detractors. Darius’ memorable amateur outings against Winston Richards and Cuban Jose Guerra along with his many slugfests at the professional level would net him a close second while Reginald would be forced to settle for the cellar position. However, when one closely scrutinizes their individual accomplishments, doubts would pervade the mind and even the uninitiated would be forced to revisit the decision to render Reginald to such an obscure position.
Reggie, as he is more fondly addressed, entered the fistic arena as an amateur in 1966 under the tutelage of George Suesankar at the Dorcas Boxing Gym, Durban Street, Werk-en-Rust during which time he fought 54 times and lost 9 of them. He holds the distinction of being the only amateur boxer to participate in all five major world games. Ford represented Guyana at the 9th British Commonwealth Games in Edinborough in 1970, and one year later he once again donned national colours at the 6th Pam American Games in Cali Columbia where he won a bronze medal. In 1972 he travelled to Munich Germany to participate in the Olympics games and lost out to former World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight champion Alan Mintor.
Ford was once again called to national duties in 1974 this time for the Central American and Caribbean Games and clinched a bronze before traveling to Cuba in 1974 for the 1st World Amateur Boxing Championships in Havana. Once again, he had to be content with the label of ‘also fought’ after losing to Cuban, Emmile Correa, the 1972 Olympic welterweight gold medalist.
Shortly afterwards Reggie successfully applied for his professional license. Whereas most pugilists strategically plan their itinerary, accepting ‘soft’ fights before venturing among the seasoned boxers, Ford took a herculean leap and challenged #5 middleweight world contender Bobby Bogolo Watts, in Philadelphia on debut. Unsurprisingly, he dropped a ten round decision. As a matter of fact, in a professional career of 35 fights, Reggie surrendered 17 losses 16 wins and 2 draws. While his record appears unflattering it may be instructive to note that the former world rater holds the distinction of fighting several eventual renowned world champions. At the time Watts was rated at number 5 middleweight by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Council (WBC). Ford went on to fight several eventual world champions albeit unsuccessfully. He faced off with ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler in his 2nd professional fight and was stopped in round 3. Five fights later, he squared off against Ayub Kalule for the British Commonwealth title and was stopped in the 5th round. Ford also battled Jamaica’s first world champion Mike ‘Body Snatcher’ McCallum and suffered a 7th round stoppage.
Another former world middleweight champion, Mark Mewdell also won a 10 rounder on points against Ford.
Back in Guyana Ford dropped a 15 rounder to his countryman, Kenny Bristol but went on to beat Trinidadian Eddie Marcelle in a memorable fight in 1975 where a power shortage in round 7 lasted for all of 37 minutes and almost cost him the bout as by the time of resumption Reggie had lost his rhythm and was forced to restart his mode of attack. Shortly after losing to Mark Harris Reggie called it a day and before long became a qualified trainer.
Darius is my contemporary and apart from us attending Multi, during my professional career, I have acted as his sparring partner when he operated out of the Dowden’s International gym. Shortly afterwards, when I became a professional boxer, I had a short tenure with Reginald and he was in my corner when I fought for the Commonwealth title in Cardiff Wales. Reggie was a stickler for details and held the view that the jab was the most potent weapon in a boxer’s repertoire. On several occasions we had engaged in sparring sessions and I had an opportunity of ‘tasting’ his left jab. It was not an enjoyable experience.
Reggie went on to become a top notch coach operating out of the Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn NY where he honed the skills of numerous pugilists including Leon ‘The Cat’ Taylor a light/heavyweight pugilist who was at one time rated by the WBA, WBC and the IBF. Ford was also responsible for French boxers, Bidi and Bobo Lorcey whom he trained in France. He piloted the latter fighter to the WBC featherweight championship and the former to European lightweight title. Reggie has since switched operations to Orlando Florida and has a small stable of young fighters.
The veteran coach joined several of his contemporaries at ringside of the September edition of the ProAm boxing cards and lamented the paucity of talent in comparison to his heydays. Nevertheless, he is confident that with the right type of grooming and application, local fighters would rise from the rut. Ford is due to return to the USA soon but has issued an invitation to extend his services to the development of the current crop of pugilists. “This country could rise to the top of the fistic ladder once more,” he opined. The veteran coach is, however, adamant that the local fighters need to apply themselves to the task at hand.
Aug 05, 2021By Zaheer Mohamed Kaieteur News – A courageous unbeaten eight-wicket stand of 65 between Deonarine Seegobin and Raydon Austin handed Mahdia/Movements Family a two-wicket victory over Laluni in...
Aug 05, 2021
Aug 05, 2021
Aug 05, 2021
Aug 05, 2021
Aug 05, 2021
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]