By Jay Mwamba
Chris Reid, a popular 1980s middleweight from Brooklyn who campaigned under the moniker the "Shamrock Express," has died.
Reid lost a battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in Hackensack University Hospital last Saturday, his former trainer, Teddy Atlas, announced.
"He was 38 — much too young," the grief-stricken Atlas said.
The godfather to one of Reid’s three children, Atlas described his former charge as a selfless and caring person to whom loyalty was everything.
"He was sick and his weight had come down to about 135 pounds from 200, but he still kept working," Atlas said. "That’s the caring and selfless person he was."
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The veteran trainer and boxing analyst guided the hard-hitting Reid, who was a big fan favorite at the old Felt Forum in Madison Square Garden, where he used to be led into the ring by bagpipers, for his entire professional career.
Said Atlas: "He was 18-0 with 18 KOs at one point. His last fight was with Graciano Rocchiagiani for the [world] super middleweight title in Germany. He used to cut a lot and I stopped it in the 11th round."
Atlas advised Reid to quit after that. "And he never fought again, because he gave me his word that he wouldn’t fight again. Loyalty was everything to him," Atlas said.
Other than his susceptibility to cuts, Reid, who fought several times in Belfast and Dublin on the undercard of Barry McGuigan bouts, was a strong and ferocious fighter.
"He used to clean out Gleason’s Gym [in sparring]," Atlas said. "He could punch with either hand and had a solid chin."
Retired Brooklyn welterweight Jimmy McMahon, another former Atlas charge, said as an amateur he looked up to Reid, whom he used to watch at Gleason’s.
"He was a real tough guy, an animal of a fighter," recalled McMahon. "I really admired him. He was an inspiration."