A father’s influence is life-altering for a child, no matter if he’s active, non-active, responsive or non-responsive in their life. Light welterweight Mike Reed was blessed to have a father, Michael Pinson, who was involved, active and responsive.
In return, Reed responded to his father’s guidance in becoming a respectable man, and a champion in the ring. Mr. Pinson, who is widely known as “Buck” did his job as a parent who raised his son the way he should go – even though, Reed, originally, did not want to duke-it out in the ring.
“He (Buck) has love for boxing. He understands that boxing is hereditary in our family,” said Reed. “So once he realized me and my brothers (Tyrell Newton, Victor Brown and Tommy Reed) wanted to do it (fight), he felt someone would be good at this because it’s hereditary. So, he definitely played a huge role.”
Among his brothers, Reed has excelled in boxing. Newton experienced some success on an amateur level for six-years and appeared in the Finals of the Washington D.C. Golden Gloves. Brown trained as a boxer, but did not compete in the ring as his competitive juices flowed on the football field of H.D. Woodson High School in D.C. Tommy, on the other hand, did not train in the ring, just on the football field and he played for Friendship Edison Collegiate Academy High School. Reed’s grandfather and uncles love boxing and trained, but never competed.
Reed has a younger brother, Miquel, and he is learning how to walk at the age of two. But there’s no doubt that he is throwing jabs. The 5-6, 140-pound Reed nearly followed suit in becoming a football player like his brothers and almost decided not to box altogether. Nevertheless, the potential of becoming a great boxing was in Reed, and his father (a great boxer) recognized the untapped growth.
“He kept me in the gym,” said Reed. “At nine-years old, boxing was a lot of hard work, discipline and I wanted no parts of it. I’m competitive, so I first wanted to do it (fight) because my brothers did it. But I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to do (laughter).
“Man, I was a little kid and a little lazy, but my dad saw potential in me that I did not see in myself,” he continued. “So, he kept me in the gym and started training me and the rest is history.”
When Reed finally decided to hang up his football pads and basketball shorts to take boxing seriously, after losing his first four amateur bouts, it did not take him long to master his craft as he went on to win his last sixteen matchups.
Although boxing was important to Reed, his father wanted his young boxer to concentrate on his academics. Reed went on to graduate from Westlake High School in Waldorf, Maryland, but continued to train with his father at the Dream Team Boxing Gym (his father owns) located in Clinton, MD, where world heavyweight championship contender Seth ‘Mayhem” Mitchell trains.
As an amateur, Reed has won many championships, but fell short of qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics. When asked about shooting for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Reed and his camp felt it was time to turn pro now to chase belts, instead of a medal.
“I was going through the motions around the time of the Olympic try-outs came around, and that wasn’t normal,” said Reed. “The Olympic try-outs were supposed to be an exciting event, which it was and it was a great learning experience for me. But in the gym during training camp, I found myself going through the motions.
“We needed something different for me after boxing as an amateur for nine years,” he continued. “Also, I knew that some of the rules in boxing were going to be changed, whereas they were going to use headgear. They (the Olympic committee) will still use 12 oz. gloves, but wearing headgear on that level and competing for five nights in a row in a tournament, I didn’t think that was one of the moves I wanted to make.”
Reed turned pro in 2013 and made his debut on March 2nd, where he defeated Kareem McFarland by TKO in the opening round. Reed was successful in his next bout as he won by an unanimous decision (60-54, 60-53, 60-53) over Randy Fuentes, from McAllen, Texas,at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD on Oct. 18.
Quickly, Reed recognized the difference in competing on the professional level.
“The quality and level of the fighters is different. I didn’t get cut as an amateur and the gloves are smaller and again (pause) the level and quality of the fighters are different,” said Reed.
Due to Reed’s early rise through the amateur circuit, he earned the nickname of “Yes, Indeed,” which was introduced to him by a substitute teacher (Robert Carroll) in middle school. Reed finished his amateur career with an impressive 90-13 record, half-heartedly.
For a great portion of his amateur career, Reed, the well-round boxer with a combination of quick hands, ring generalship and solid defensive skills, was competing based off the confidence his father had in him. Reed admitted he was going off the strength of his father as he competed – but how?
Was “Yes, Indeed” afraid of his father or feared to let Buck down? Whatever observation is made on whether Reed’s heart was in the right place, the champion fighter, for a solid period of his journey, he wasn’t totally in a zone – and he still won.
During the midst of his amateur career, Reed realized he can actually box for himself and it finally clicked.
“In 2007, I won the Ringside World Championship and I won my first national tournament in 2005, and that was the Silver Grove, which is the biggest tournament you can win at the age,” said Reed. “But I didn’t realize that I was good at this (boxing). I was going off the strength of my father and doing everything he taught me, but I never gasped onto it.
“By 2007, I was 14-years old and I found myself winning tournament after tournament and I was doing things my peeps didn’t do…The boxing community in the D.C. area is so tight and we are so competitive and I was like, I won this and I won that and my peeps couldn’t say that,” he continued. “So, at 14, that’s when I realized there was a reason why I was winning these tournaments. So, at 14, it was the time when I realized I could do this (box).”
For every great story behind a solid professional athlete, there is a great story about how their confidence was built or where and when they fell in love with a particular sport – which is normally funny. Reed’s journey is no different.
“I remember it like it was yesterday (laughter),” said Reed. “It was an outside show and everybody from my neighborhood, where we were living at the time, came out for support. Now, we have been to many shows and I never would get mess up because I was nine years old weighing 106 pounds and it was hard to match me up. So, at this particular show (laughter) I got messed up, and when people said I got messed up, my heart sunk, my heart dropped and I got nervous.
“I would see my brothers fight and it was never my time, but this particular day, my number was called,” he continued. “I got nervous and I was a little scared because I wasn’t used to getting in a fight. Once I got my hands wrapped up, got my boxing outfit on, I felt like I was home. I got into the ring, no worries at all and all the nervous jitters went out the door.
“The bell rung and the first punch I threw (laughter) was a left over hand. I was nine years old and I thought I could knock the kid out,” he added. “Once it connected, I got excited. He hit me back, I hit him back. It looked like roll’em, sock’em robots. We got that fight in tape (laughter). It was a natural feeling and that’s where (in the ring) I belong.”
Reed uses his past moments and accomplishments as a part of his motivation. Furthermore, the D.C. native is motivated by a fighter who never gave up no matter what his outcome appeared to be – which is something his opponents should be prepared to encounter.
“One of my biggest idols, my favorite fighter to see, and I never got a chance to meet him, was Diego “Chico” Corrales,” said Reed, who loves to bowl. “He died about four years ago from a motorcycle accident (in Las Vegas). He was my favorite fighter.
“I remember his fight with Castillo (Jose Luis),” he continued. “Castillo hurt Diego really bad. He had the heart and he’s heart was so big that his will allowed him to win the fight. He (Corrales) knocked him out in the round Castillo had hurt him. He’s definitely my idol, in who I look up to.”
From the outside looking in, Reed’s journey has just begun at the age of 20, but his foundation has been cemented for a monumental edifice of stardom because of the examples of his brothers and the path his father laid. Many may feel as if Buck forced Reed to fight so he could live his life through his omelet eating son’s eyes.
However, there is no proof that Buck forcing Reed’s hand. Like every mentally-stable parent, Buck introduced Reed to his passion, and his son’s competitive juices eventually took over. Clearly, Buck recognized his son’s ability and led him the way he should go – to become a champion, and a potential legend.
“Five years from now, I don’t want to be just fighting for a championship, but be a champion with a household name and be recognized as one of the best to have ever fought,” said Reed, humbly.