Then came Oezdemir and a three-round scrap that saw Reyes have to dig deep to take a split decision victory. It was the kind of fight that either breaks or makes an up and comer. And Reyes knew it as it was happening.
“I reached that breaking point in my last fight,” Reyes recalled. “I thought, ‘What are you gonna do? This is the time. Are you gonna just fold? What’s up? You’re hurting, you’re tired, you can’t breathe, what are you gonna do? I told myself f**k that, you’re gonna win this fight. You’re gonna do it, let’s go.’ And I pulled it out.”
It should have been glorious. And for Reyes, it was. But in the ‘what have you done for me lately’ world of sports, it wasn’t seen as a young fighter’s coming of age. When you’ve walked through everything in front of you, getting pushed to the limit in a dogfight is downright blasphemy.
“It was actually cool for me to see,” said Reyes of the backlash to his close win over Oezdemir. “I realized it doesn’t matter what anybody says. The fans turn on you so quick. I didn’t even lose and they turned on me. I guess, in a sense, it was like losing the way everybody reacted and the way people turned on me. Things happened to where I got to experience that without actually taking the L and figuring out what’s important. And that’s family and going back to my roots. It was a really good experience for me, I believe. It’s really crazy, though.”