The CyberBoxingZone News
Trinidad Takes Mamadou by Storm
Miami, Florida July 22, 2000
The American Airlines Arena, a cavernous
auditorium where the Heat play, was the site of a riotously happy
debut of Felix "Tito" Trinidad. Miami ring
historians had to go back to the epic battle of Alexis Arguello
vs. Aaron Pryor to remember such an outpouring of Hispanic fans.
And that, dear reader, was twenty years ago. Ouch!
The night was top prime-time quality . HBO
covered it, the country's best boxing writers were present, and
even the mighty ZO Mourning, the Heat's center, was sitting at
ring side. The pre-fight furnished a highlight when
Miguel Sandoval lifted his golden trumpet and shook the rafters
with a resounding Star Spangled Banner with a finishing high note
that only a German Shepherd dog could hear.
To pick up on that high note, Trinidad entered
to a rafters shaking ovation with the background music song "Preciosa"
by the famous Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernandez . True
to his modest self effacing nature Tito entered, under a giant
Puerto Rican flag, clad in workman like black trunks. He
appeared relaxed, like a man who knows the outcome of the night.
Like a great musician before a concert, or a master surgeon before
a difficult operation.
The fight was over two minutes into the first
round. Tito smashed an uppercut through Mamadou's gloves,
then a devastating hook. Mamadou buckled and pawed at his
right eye, which swelled shut. It was startling evidence of
Trinidad's punching power. Mamadou was brave, tried to fight
back in the
second round, and quit in the third. It was the wisest thing
he'd done all
night. He was a one-eyed fighter, thoroughly beaten and in
danger of serious
damage. Tito was greeted with a roar of approval and went to
interviews. Mamadou went to the hospital.
Trinidad looks forward to his December 2, Don
King fight on HBO with Fernando Vargas. This is no easy
fight, but a genuine threat. If Trinidad is to lay claim to
being the best in boxing he must continue to win his defining
fights. Since his third fight I have been a boxing analyst on TV
for almost every Trinidad fight thereafter. I have watched
him grow, and now I feel he is the best fighter fighting today.
And forget that media hype puffery about
pound-for-pound. That does not belong while a fighter is
active. Pound-for-pound for me is the equivalent of the
Congressional Medal of Honor. For a boxer to earn that
praise he has to be evaluated after his career is over. The
term was invented for Sugar Ray Robinson. Few deserve it.
Joe Louis does, Willie Pep does, Carlos Monzon does, Muhammad Ali
does. Those men fought long and meritorious careers, they
lasted a long time and won all the time.
Trinidad has been given a hard road to travel,
with one defining fight after another. He was underpaid,
under publicized, and given no advantage of special treatment.
He was the workhorse of the Don King stable, but he proved to be
the class thoroughbred of that stable. Tito can thank Don
King for that hard road, for he earned his position. He learned to
survive one hard test after another, while he sweated out the
tough nights, his counterpart Oscar de la Hoya enjoyed the luxury
of picked opponents, championship purses, mega publicity, acting,
singing, advertising attention and adulation of the nation.
When Trinidad fought and won he went home to Puerto Rico to live
with his father. When De la Hoya won he went on the late
night TV shows and a shower of dollars.
The result was evident when bone hard Trinidad
met Oscar de la Hoya. The hard road always prevails over the
golden road of the protected fighter. Trinidad, behind on
points, found the way to win, de la Hoya discovered the way to
lose. Somewhere on that Championship Causeway of round 10,
11,12, Oscar's heart left him. Trinidad's didn't.
Is Trinidad as good as Roy Jones Jr.? I
think so because Trinidad has passed every test, Roy Jones, Jr.
won't look for a defining fight. As long as he fights tomato
cans he cannot seriously be considered the best. Oh, he
looks magnificent, but what happens when he comes up against a
similarly qualified fighter? Pretty soon we'll never know,
for old age we'll take him out of the running.
I'll end this on a bizarre note. Tito's
father tells me that they want a step-up career for Felix to
run out his career. First dispose of Vargas, then up to
Middleweight for William Joppy, and to cap his career by taking on
Roy Jones, Jr. at light heavyweight.
The only thing that could save Tito is the fact
that by the time he gets Roy Jones Jr. to sign, Roy will be
running a bait shop in Pensacola. Tito fighting at Light
Heavyweight is the equivalent to Hitler invading Russia.
You do remember World War II, don't you?