|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire -- MAY 9:2001|
Can Joppy End Trinidad's Warpath? The Experts Decide|
Compiled by JD Vena
Well Part I of Don King's middleweight tournament is completed. Only two more fights to go until boxing has its first unified middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler held the designation with grace and dignity over 14 years ago. Though that might seem like a blink of an eye for our esteemed editor, Ol' Spit Bucket (sorry Buck), it's been an eternity for boxing's die-hards, who have bellowed for such a distinguished titlist of what was once boxing's glamour division.
Predicting the winner of the Hopkins-Holmes unification fight a month ago was a fairly easy task. Though you could have imagined that Keith Holmes would provide Hopkins with some problems, even Holmes knew that he had little chance of beating one of boxing's more determined fighters. But calling the victor in Part II of King's tournament, Saturday's clash between WBA champ William Joppy and two-time champion Felix Trinidad has been a question that fans will ponder until one is announced. Can a great former welterweight champion enter the middleweight ranks and defeat one of the more qualified, yet underrated champions of the past 5 years? Many welters before "Tito" have tried, but only 6 have succeeded, the last being the legendary Roberto Duran in 1989. Well, we do know that Trinidad fits the bill of being deemed a great welterweight. His stellar record of 39-0, with 32 knockouts (which includes a championship record of 19-0) attests to this. But has the star-studded career of the Puerto Rican national reached its zenith in facing the underrated Joppy (31-1-1, 24 KO's)? I leave you with my good pal, Ted Bodenrader, who is 3-0 entering this, the CBZ's fourth prediction survey.
"Trinidad seems to be really riding a wave of confidence right now, but it may be blind confidence. It's courageous to jump up to 160 and go right at a skilled guy like Joppy, but it's also a bit reckless. Trinidad fights one way. He comes forward all night and wears his opponents down. How is that going to fare against legitimate 160-pounders, albeit skilled, experienced ones like Joppy and Hopkins? Trinidad's not getting a puppy here. Joppy has been waiting years for a fight of this caliber and he's hungry. He also has the style that will give Trinidad fits. Fast, fast hands and a lot of movement. Plus, he has a legitimate middleweight punch. Trinidad will be in for a surprise when Joppy brings him down to size with a 12-round reality check."
The Ring Magazine
"Trinidad by decision over Joppy after a long, hard fight."
"Fight Doctor" Ferdie Pacheco,
Former Showtime Boxing Analyst
"I like Joppy by decision. Trinidad has a tough time with movers. Just ask Oscar de la Hoya for 9 1/2 rounds. Joppy moves around very well and Trinidad is going to find out that when he hits a real middleweight, it's not going to have the same effect as the guys he's been knocking out."
Bert Randolph Sugar,
Author/ Boxing Historian
"Getting back to what I was mentioning in my preamble, Trinidad is certainly an all-time great welterweight and jr. middleweight, but he will find that though he may in fact be a genuine middleweight, he will not find the same success with skilled boxers the size of Joppy. Could Trinidad eventually become a middleweight champion? He certainly can. Joppy just happens to be one of the best middleweights of the past five years. Though he hasn't beaten any of the names comparable to Trinidad's long slate of superstars, Joppy has shown me that his boxing ability, footwork and focus will overcome Tito and his vulnerabilities to earn the status of being a good middlweight champion. I like Joppy to win a decision or stop Tito late in an entertaining fight.
P.S. Though the neither of the Klitshcko brothers could stop Chris Byrd, that doesn't mean that Harris won't. Harris will knock Byrd out within 6 rounds."
"I hate to pick against Tito, because he always makes me look stupid, but I just have a gut feeling that Joppy is going to pull it off. Joppy TKO 8 Trinidad."
Thomas Gerbasi, Jr.
"Trinidad by knockout."
"Sucra" Ray Oliveira,
NABF Jr. Welterweight Champion
"I want to go with Joppy because everyone wants to see Tito fight Hopkins. I'm still going with Joppy by decision."
Jack "I'm going to Hawaii" Obermayer,
Boxing Flash, Boxing Digest
"Stylistically, a lot points towards an upset, even more so since Joppy seems to be underrated by many because he never fought against anybody of note - but that doesn't mean he couldn't with success. However, I believe that Tito will find a way to win somehow. He's used to the pressure of a big fight and has a tunnel vision to achieve the ultimate. But it could be that Tito looks unimpressive and wins a boring decision."
Manager of middleweight contender Raymond Joval
& Matchmaker for Allan Vester
"Lately I've been so horrible at picking fights that I've been considering taking a sabbatical from prognosticating for about a decade or so ... But, I'll throw my 2 cents worth in here more as an evaluation than a prediction: On paper this is a tough fight to pick. Joppy has shown excellent skills & good power in his run as WBA middleweight champion. He has all the tools to give Tito hell. But Tito is well on his way to being an all-time great hall of famer.
Stylistically, if Joppy sticks & moves he could give Trinidad the same kind of trouble that De La Hoya gave him for the first 8 rounds of their encounter. If I were a betting man I'd see this fight as a 6-5 pick 'em. At worst it's 7-5 Trinidad. I keep thinking Tito has engaged in many big fights & this is Joppy's first time in the limelight. How will it affect him? While I'm loath to pick a winner on this one, I will go with Trinidad. He's a genuine super star & a certain Hall Of Fame candidate in his prime. Logic tells me that's a hard combination to beat. I'm not predicting a KO or a decision, just that Tito will find a way to win."
Stephen Gordon (a.k.a GorDoom and The Ol' Spit Bucket),
Managing Editor of the CBZ
"Trinidad in a walk -- say, KO 9. Unlike some HBO champions we could name, we have it on good authority that Tito has been training for this one."
"Trinidad by unanimous decision."
"Trinidad KO8. It's the year of the Puerto Rican fighters! Tito proves to be too strong for a game Joppy. Fighting in NYC is like almost like being in San Juan. Next up, Hopkins."
Publicist for John Ruiz and Micky Ward
"I'm picking Joppy to upset Trinidad via 12-round decision. With Barrera-Hamed and Rahman-Lewis in the bank, 2001 is going to be known as the Year of the Upset. Joppy is the biggest of the four middleweights in the tournament, and he's quick enough to trouble the flat-footed Trinidad with speed and movement. He'll be ahead at the halfway mark. Whether he can maintain the lead over the last six rounds will be the key. I say he does it. Joppy W 12 Trinidad."
CNN/SI and "Boxing Monthly"
"Trinidad is a strong kid at any weight... I think he will end the fight within 7 rounds. So.... Trinidad by TKO in 7."
Founder of Ring99.com (The New England Boxing Website)
"Trinidad KO 9 Joppy. If Tito can handle the speed and power of David Reid and Fernando Vargas, he can handle Joppy. Though he's moving up in weight, he's still the bigger man with the bigger punch."
"On any given night an upset can occur; paging Mr. Hamed & Mr. Lewis. I don't think that Joppy will beat Trinidad, but he has speed and pretty good power. The big factor will be if Trinidad brings the same power that he had at 154, to 160, which I believe he will, Trinidad is one of those fighters who'll punch hard regardless of weight. One thing Joppy has going for him is that Trinidad can be hit, but it would probably be wise not to knock down the "Latin Assassin" because he always gets up with vengeance in mind. Trinidad by KO 9 after touching down a couple of times in the early rounds."
The Cyber Boxing Zone; History & Research
"I expect a good fight, much better than the 4-1 odds favoring Trinidad would indicate. However, I believe that, in the end, Trinidad will prevail, by unanimous decision."
FOX Sports Net Boxing Analyst
"It will be a tough grueling fight but I guarantee Tito stops Joppy late."
Rich Jones (a.k.a Sin City Richey),
"Trinidad W12 Joppy. Joppy starts fast and gives Tito some problems. By the middle rounds, Trinidad makes some adjustments and the two box to a closer than expected decision."
Staff Writer, CyberBoxingZone.com
"I like Tito by close decision. Joppy has been underestimated for a long time and I see him as a serious threat to Trinidad, but right now Tito is such a perfect machine, brings so much power and pressure, that I feel he will force Joppy into a boxing and moving - and perhaps slightly too defensive - type of fight. I can see Joppy having some very good moments but not being able to control the fight the way he will need to do... If Hacine Cherifi was able to keep walking in and winging punches at Joppy despite getting hit by a lot of incoming stuff, then surely Trinidad will be able to take Joppy's shots? Altho. Joppy is the natural middleweight (or is supposed to be), I make Tito the puncher in this fight."
"Tito KO 6 over Joppy."
"Trinidad TKO 11 Joppy."
"Trinidad by TKO in 11 rounds. Trinidad's scores the fight's only knockdown."
IBRO & The CBZ
"Trinidad is comfortable at the weight, and if anything will bring his punch, and especially his speed with him. I think that Joppy is a great fighter, but he has never seen the speed and skill of Trinidad. As they say, speed kills, so I pick Trinidad to stop Joppy in the middle rounds."
Attorney for John Ruiz
"Since I've been wrong about every fight I've predicted for the CBZ (Trinidad-Vargas, Rahmann-Lewis), I might as well go for the trifecta. I thin k William Joppy is vastly underrated, and has had to suffer the disadvantage of laboring in the shadows, knocking around obscure opponents in obscure fights at revamped horse barns in P.G. County. It's been a long long time since the Sugar Ray days for DC middles. Hell, when you have to bop out a geriatric Roberto Duran for attention, you know you aren't exactly on the public's radar. I think Joppy has excellent side-to-side movement, good power and an unconventional punching style. We saw how hard it was for Tito to catch up with ODLH when he was on his bike. Trinidad has a good chin, so I don't know if Joppy can hurt him, but it will be interesting to see how Tito, who is basically a stand-up stylist, will deal with some of the angles Joppy shows him. No disrespect to Trinidad, who seems to get better and better with every outing, but just to keep things interesting and to stand up for the good ol' Dee-ta-tha-Cee, I'm going to predict that Joppy goes out fast, puts some rounds in the bank early (since Felix is a notoriously slow starter) and then uses movement and defense to fight a draw from rounds 5 to 12. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but I say Joppy shocks the world and pulls the upset of the tourney in a close split or majority decision."
"My initial inclination was to pick Trinidad to win easily. But a little voice in my head kept saying Joppy was a real threat. As good as Trinidad is, he is moving up two weight classes from where he was for the majority of his career. Joppy has toiled in anonymity for so long he takes nothing for granted. He has always had immense faith in his abilities, but was held back by Don King and a lack of worthy opposition. I'll never forget Joppy being profiled on Showtime. They followed him on his rounds as a commercial window cleaner. He took great pride in his work and even talked about the value of a particular $35 a week job. This was after he was champion. Besides having great character as a human being, he is a realist when it comes to his boxing abilities. Although virtually no one is giving him a chance to beat Trinidad, he truly believes he is going to win. As tough as it is to go against Trinidad, I say Joppy stops him between the seventh and tenth rounds."
"Trinidad by KO inside 10 rounds. Joppy's not a bad fighter, but Trinidad IS NOT the fighter to face in your first big test. While a somewhat live underdog, the difference between Joppy and the other big upset winners recently, Barrera & Rahman, is that Joppy hasn't faced nearly the same quality of opposition that the Rock & Barrera had prior to their title fight wins. Joppy may get to Tito early - as even I would have a chance to do if we were to fight - but all that will do is make Trinidad focus harder & pick up his pace. This fight reminds me of James Shuler vs. Tommy Hearns with Felix playing the part of The Hit Man. IF, and in my humble opinion ( and MUCH more humble since Barrera shut me up last month ) it's a BIG IF, Joppy is to win he must do so by KO. If Tito's still standing at the final bell I can't see Don King letting Joppy diminish the gate & PPV that a Trinidad - Hopkins fight would generate. If this does go to a draw it will screw up the timing of the unification match with Hopkins so I wouldn't bet on that either."
Wail Editor for the CBZ
"I'll take Trinidad by late round TKO. Movement causes Tito trouble, and Joppy can move, so it won't be a mismatch. But, class will tell in the end."
"Unknown Joppy is strong, he could pull it off if he boxes and doesn't make the same mistake Vargas did. Trinidad has yet to prove himself at this weight level, if he wins, the sky is the limit and his legend should be bigger than beautiful PR.. A good fight.... Joppy by 12-round decision."
World Boxing Hall of Fame
"Like most people I haven't seen a lot of Joppy, but was impressed when I did. This isn't the walkover Trinidad fans expect. I still look for a Trinidad W-12, but Joppy moves well, boxes well, and could test Tito's whiskers. Definitely a step up for Joppy though, so the safe bet is still Trinidad."
Jay N. Miller
Quincy Patriot Ledger
"Logic says that Trinidad, being so chinny, has to fall sometime, particularly as he's rising up another weight again. But he's taken a nice break from the heavy fighting schedule that should see him fresh enough to take a points decision away from this Joppy fight. It'll be close though and I don't think anyone will be surprised in Trinidad hits the deck a couple of times in the process. Just that extra difference in class and Trinidad's unyielding self-belief will see him through. But as I said, it'll be close. The Hopkins fight will be another matter though. TRINIDAD WPTS 12 over JOPPY"
Derek A Bardowell
Freelancer for CBZ
"William Joppy is a good champion but he's likes to fights with his hands down too much. This will only make it easier for Trinidad to land his bombs. Joppy does not hit very hard either. He can knock you out but not with a single punch the way Tito can. Trinidad will slowly take him apart and stop him in the late rounds. The real fight is with Bernard Hopkins."
"Trinidad by decision"
James Jones, Biloxi Sun Herald
"Trinidad by decision: I think it'll be hard for Joppy to win a decision in New York, if he got homered by Latins against Julio Cesar Green, what are the chances of him getting the nod vs. Tito? Joppy has a style that is difficult for Tito, and he will win his share of rounds (especially early on), but I see Trinidad shifting gears as he always does and coming on. Until Tito loses, its tough to go against him."
"Trinidad by controversial decision."
" Trinidad will do what he always does, get stronger as the fight progresses. I predict a ninth round KO by "Tito."
"Joppy is a good boxer but no punch, therefore Tito will just walk him down as usual and stop him late. Trinidad TKO 11 Joppy."
Matchmaker - Main Events
"The second leg of the Middleweight tournament takes place this Saturday. Tito Trinidad challenges William Joppy for the WBA crown. The first fight between Bernard Hopkins and Keith Holmes was a real sleeper, and this one has the potential to go along the same lines.
This is Trinidad's first fight since his epic battle with Fernando Vargas last December. He is going to be a bit tentative at first, something that is nothing new to him since he traditionally is a slow starter. Look for Trinidad to take over the fight in the middle to late rounds. I would not be surprised if Joppy, like many other fighters underestimates Tito's power. Speaking of Joppy, I don't see any fire in his eyes. What does it take to motivate this guy? Every press conference he has the flair of a wet mop. He is a lamb being set up for the slaughter and has no objections. Joppy is more concerned with not getting knocked out, than with knocking Trinidad out. Look for a slow fight. Trinidad will win on points or by late knockout. Unless Tito is threatened, I don't see him going for the kill. I am afraid we are going to have to wait till September (Hopkins vs. Trinidad) to see a good fight."
"As a former middleweight myself, I think Joppy is a workman-like, skilled fighter with decent power. On the other hand, Felix is a great puncher and throws a perfect left hook, but Joppy is stronger physically. Trinidad's chin is suspect and he's had to pick himself off the floor a few times, but not after being hit by a middleweight. Make no mistake, if Joppy gets careless, he could be sawing logs for the evening. Trinidad is fast and speed kills. If Joppy doesn't get hurt and works the body early on and stays there, the fight is his. Kill the body, the head will fall. If Joppy is coming out of a heated flurry, Trinidad could catch him with a left hook going while he's moving backwards. It's a tough call. I think Joppy is stronger, but not more skilled. If it goes the distance, I'm going with Joppy. Otherwise, I'd go with Felix in the 8th. This is an exciting tournament in what I have always felt is the best division in boxing over the last century."
"Joppy to beat Trinidad on points."
Eurosport Boxing Commentator
"Trinidad by KO inside of 8 rounds."
Jorge M. Alonso,
Referee (State of Florida)
"Trinidad by knockout."
"I don't know if Trinidad can keep steaming through the division like he has been doing, but whatever he achieves for the rest of his career the colorful Puerto Rican can rightly be called a great. I envisage 'Tito' paying at least one visit to the canvas against Joppy, but doing enough to take a narrow and perhaps controversial points verdict. At least the fight will to be better for fans to watch than Hopkins-Holmes."
Daily Sport (England)
"Joppy by TKO tenth round."
"Joppy is an amazing champion, and a really bold move for Trinidad's first fight at 160. Joppy has speed, skill and heart, however, he lacks the power to kayo Felix, and that's the only thing keeping "Tito" from getting a decision on the 12th. Bottom line Trinidad W12 Joppy."
The Rigler Report
"I believe Trinidad will dominate and win by a decision."
"I think this is a very interesting fight. Joppy hasthe style to give Trinidad a lot of trouble and I think he will. But I also think that Felix Trinidad, Sr. is a very smart man. He has always said that he wanted Joppy as an opponent for his son and he must have his reasons. I think that Joppy will have early success but that Trinidad will come on late and grab a close decision."
"Trinidad in 8"
"Though I believe that Joppy is the sleeper of this tournament, he hasn't been battle tested the way Trinidad has. I have to side with Trinidad for this reason. Experience matters.
While de la Hoya has shown that you can out box Trinidad, I think that those were extreme circumstances and not likely to be repeated in this fight. Joppy has the skills to out box people but when Trinidad was out boxed by de la Hoya, Tito was physically drained from making 147 and too respectful of Oscar's power. I don't believe that Joppy's power concerns Trinidad, I believe that the jump in weight will further benefit Trinidad. You won't see Tito fighting that cautious of a fight here. Joppy goes 12 and looks good if he boxes with Trinidad. I respect his skills that much. If Joppy falls into the 'Machismo Trap' that Fernando Vargas did, book this one to be over in the middle rounds. As far as my prediction goes, I am going to take Trinidad on the cards. Not by a very wide margin, I am saying around 116-112."
"I think Trinidad will win by decision. Joppy is no creampuff and it will (hopefully) be another Barrera-Morales type toe-to-toe fight."
The ARTograph Gallery
Specializing in Boxing Autographs and memorabilia
"The fight itself will be very good and exciting. The tournament is a great idea and the ultimate winner will be a true world champion. Hopefully, that individual remains in the division to keep the title unified. Joppy has an advantage in weight being the true middleweight and has been in tough fights. Trinidad has the biggest heart, the experience and great power. It should be a very intelligent fight that will go the distance."
NABF Vice President and WBC Public Relations
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