David Reid was taunting and talking to Australian challenger Kevin Kelly when suddenly he found himself on his back, put there by a looping left hook to the jaw.
Reid got up from that fifth-round knockdown and went on to retain the WBA super welterweight championship on a unanimous decision Friday night in a ballroom at the Boardwalk Convention Center.
While Reid remained unbeaten in 13 pro fights, he was less than impressive and at times looks amateurish. When the decision was announced, it was booed by many of the 1,967 fans.
"He was very game in the ring," Reid said of Kelly. "He was very tricky in the ring."
"He took a lot of good shots. I thought it was close but I thought I won."
Judges Marcial Vargas of Venezuela and John Stewart of New Jersey each favored Reid 116-111 while Henk Meijers of the Netherlands scored it for the champion 115-112.
The ap favored Reid 115-112.
|David Reid has trouble sizing up Kevin Kelly before escaping with the victory.(AP)|
"It was close but I thought I won," the disappointed Kelly said.
Reid was mocking Kelly in the fifth round and at one point stuck out his tongue. Then, just a few seconds later and with only 16 seconds remaining in the round, the awkward Kelly launched a left hook at the jaw that put Reid down.
"I just let my left hand down," Reid said. "He didn't hurt me."
Reid, making his first defense of the 154-pound title, remained cocky even after the knockdown, much to the frustration of his corner.
"David has to learn to listen," trainer Al Mitchell said.
Reid denied he was being cocky and said he is looking forward to a potential match against IBF 154-pound champion Fernando Vargas.
Reid had the faster hands but often was wild. He was unable to knock down Kelly but did cut him over the left eye in the eighth round.
Working in Reid's favor were his left jab and the fact that Kelly often chose to back away.
The 25-year-old Reid, the Olympic 156-pound champion in 1996, weighed 153 pounds. Kelly, 29, who also weighed 153, now has a record of 24-6-3.
Little was known about Kelly, who was fighting for only the fourth time outside Australia and for the first time in the United States. But he impressed a lot of people Friday night, including Reid.
In 10-round bouts on the card, John John Molina, 136, a former IBF junior lightweight champion from Puerto Rico, knocked down James Crayton, 137, of Las Vegas, and scored unanimous decision. Hector Camacho Jr., 150, of Puerto Rico knocked down and stopped Mike Cooley, 149, of Omaha, Neb., in the second round.
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