Chattanooga-(WDEF) Chattanooga's Gene Reese has been officiating amateur boxing since the 1960's. And he still loves stepping in the ring at the age of 82.
Before officiating bouts, Gene Reese enjoyed a few bouts of his own. He took up boxing because he thought it was fun. Said Reese,"It's enjoyable when you're beating the other fellow. But when he's beating you, that ain't fun."(chuckles)
Reese had plenty of fun in 1960. In front of a packed house at Memorial Auditorium, Reese beat Richard Bakus in one of the biggest fights in Chattanooga history. When Reese hung up his gloves, he became a referee. And that allowed Reese to see the world. "I have officiated in 26 different countries for amateur boxing. I enjoy going anywhere the first time. But there are a lot of places I don't want to go back to the second time."
Reese has officiated some of the world's best boxers, including two of Mike Tyson's amateur bouts. "He has always been the most deadly, one blow. It doesn't take a one-two for him. He's a one blow knock-out person. He was boxing a guy that was real tall. He threw one of those Floyd Patterson leaping left hooks. He hit him on the chin. The guy went down. I counted to four. Then I hollered doctor because I thought he (Tyson) broke his neck."
Topping Tyson's power is Reese's longevity. He has been a referee for half a century. "They say you don't look 82. But I sure do feel 82. I just like to go and see how talented some of these kids are."