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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire: JULY 27, 2001

Trinidad vs. Hopkins: The Experts Predict the Winner

Compiled by JD Vena

Going into the multimillion-dollar unification fight that was to have taken place September 15, there were many factors to consider when choosing a winner between Trinidad and Hopkins. Will either Hopkins or Trinidad foul themselves out in a dirty fight? Will Hopkins box on the outside? Will Hopkins at 36 be able to withstand the youth and vigor of Trinidad? Will Trinidad's extramarital affair distract his focus? Will Tito's strong fan support effect Hopkins confidence? Will Hopkins be capable of winning a decision in a relatively close fight?

Now more than ever, after the horrible attacks that took place September 11 in one the cities that will host this year's most anticipated boxing match, there are more aspects to consider. Which fighter will be more effected by the terrorist attacks? Both possess the strongest of wills but one of them must be more effected than the other. Will Trinidad be more effected by the fact that he couldn't leave New York? Did seeing his family benefit Hopkins? So far, most of the predictions that I have compiled over the past few weeks have not been retracted. Let's hope that the outcome Saturday night will be the same outcome had it taken place on the 15th. Let's hope that it will be a night to remember why we appreciate a free living society, a time to remember why we're fight fanatics and how lucky we are to watch an event like this one. With that I leave you with the boxing world's daring predictions...

PS: I like Hopkins by TKO in round 7. He's not going to be standing in front of Trinidad with his hands down and he's certainly no young pup like a Reid or Vargas. I believe Reid, Vargas and Joppy all lost to Trinidad because of their amateurish mistakes, ones that I don't expect Hopkins to present. Hopkins will fight intelligently on the outside, mixing in a few brawling segments that will frustrate Trinidad. In the 7th, a vicious right uppercut by Hopkins will floor a careless Tito, who won't be let off the hook for the umpteenth time.

PPS: God bless America!

JD Vena, CBZ Associate Editor

Picking Trinidad:

"I am picking Trinidad, perhaps by TKO in the late rounds. Too young, too insistent, just too unstoppable for the veteran Hopkins. The precise, quick punches of Tito could be the key in the exchanges. Hopkins has a great record but he hasn't fought at this level since he met Roy Jones, and he lost that fight. The Garden site must be taken into account, too -- we all know that the crowd will be noisy and passionate in favour of Trinidad, and he will, I think, draw strength from the support."

—Graham Houston, Boxing Monthly

"Trinidad is at the height of height of his powers as a pro. Hopkins is...not. This bout will deteriorate into a foul-marred brawl until Trinidad KOs Hopkins in the ninth round."

—Mike Woods, Newsday, Boxing Digest,

"Hopkins should be a tough opponent for Trinidad. On the plus side, The Executioner has a lot of experience, a good chin, respectable power and a rough and dirty style of fighting. On the negative end, Hopkins is at the end of his career and his reflexes are not as sharp as they were when he fought the over hyped Roy Jones. Trinidad, on the other hand is young, hits hard and is a first rate boxer. Trinidad gets knocked down, but also gets back up and the Puerto Rican can box and bang. I see Trinidad winning over the distance or scoring a KO in the late rounds of the fight."

—Enrique Encinosa, The CBZ

"It's really difficult to pick against Trinidad. Generally speaking, it's a mistake to put too much emphasis on a fighter's last effort, but how can we help but do that given how Trinidad looked against Joppy? Hopkins is tough as leather, but his only chance is to turn it into an ugly brawl. Trinidad by eighth-round disqualification."

—Steve Farhood, Showtime Boxing Analyst

"Trinidad has everything, including the intangibles, in his favor. Most point to Hopkins's articulate monologues as evidence of supreme confidence, yet for me there is a bit of "whistling in the graveyard" in his harangues. Trinidad's accuracy will be the difference. Trinidad by KO in the 8th."

—Mike Delisa, Publisher,The CBZ

"I'm picking Felix Trinidad either by 11th round TKO or 11th round disqualification in a rough fight. Hopkins is going to turn this into an ugly war of attrition. I think Felix will bust him up and stop him by the 11th round. I wouldn't be surprised to see a desperate Hopkins disqualified for low blows, elbows, etc."

—Dan Cuoco, Director, International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO)

"We're looking at Trinidad coming off the canvas to stop Hopkins in the eighth round. The Puerto Rican legend rides on."

—Gareth Welch, freelance boxing writer

"I see this as a genuine 50-50 fight. Both fighters have explosive fists and although Hopkins has the better chin, Trinidad has age on his side. I believe Trinidad will win, probably on points (possibly a late stoppage). But it is not a confident prediction and I would not be at all surprised if Tito hit the deck at some point during the evening. Can't wait. Let's get it on! If only every weight division could have a unification tournament!"

—Chris Summers, BBC Sport Online

"I've been trying to shock the world with lots of cool upset specials, but I've been wrong with every pick I've made this year, so this time I'm going to play it safe: Tito Trinidad makes a big-ass contribution to the Bernard Hopkins Retirement Fund and puts the Philly strongman to sleep in four."

—DscribeDC, The CBZ

"I'm picking Trinidad by TKO in the 11th round. He'll start slow and might be trailing on the cards, but he'll catch Hopkins eventually."

—Stephen Tobey, Boxing Digest

I'm probably in the minority here, but I believe Hopkins - because of his dominance of the middleweight division - is overrated. He's solid, no doubt, durable with guts and balls to kill. But I just don't see him on the same level as Tito. Tito will bring speed, power, youth and technique to the table. But more than anything, Tito has proven to be one of the ballsiest fighters around. It's probably his best asset, particularly since he's previously fought guys with more ability, speed and strength. And he seems to be getting better with age and size.

The key here for me though is the quality of opposition. Tito has faced de la Hoya, a still crafty Whitaker, Reid, Campas and Vargas. And won. The best fighter Hopkins has fought was Jones, and we remember the outcome of that. This fight reminds me a little of Barrera-Hamed. Despite all Hamed's skills and advantage in power, the bottom line was Barrera had faced better opposition, so when faced by Hamed's skills, it wasn't daunting. He wasn't a lonely boy stuck in the middle of the ring not knowing what to do. Of course you can't see that happening to Hopkins, but for me the same rules apply. Hopkins will not know how to handle Tito's skills.

The only question is Tito's chin, but Hopkins is not a concussive puncher. So his best chance would probably be to out-hustle Tito which I don't think he can do. It'll be close though. Tito's had some hard fights in recent years, and you still have to assume that Hopkins will have the edge in strength. And as we know, Tito can completely dominate an opponent, then get caught. Don't be surprised if that happens here. But, Tito has that extra bit of class, although Hopkins has a good chin so I assume that it will go the distance. The safe bet. I'm already hearing cats Stateside that are saying that once Tito's done with Hopkins, he'll defeat Jones. As great as Trinidad is, he's not and will probably never will be in that miracle class. Felix Trinidad Wpts12 Bernard Hopkins."

—Derek Bardowell, The CBZ

"It should be the fight of the year! Hopkins is a natural middleweight and a seasoned guy but I wonder if he can trade with Tito. Joppy seamed like a bum of the month or Trinidad made him look like that only allowing him to throw no more than three power shots in five rounds... Trinidad should prove himself as he continues his quest to fight "A" class opponents. Trinidad wins by TKO in eight."

—Alex Camponovo, General Manager, World Boxing Hall of Fame

"Great fight. Hopkins will try to make it a street fight, and Trinidad may well oblige for a couple of rounds. I think it will be a great fight, with Trinidad winning a decision. The NY fan support, his youth and speed and perhaps most importantly, his momentum (he's a hot fighter) will secure him the victory."

—Joe DeGuardia, Promoter for Star Boxing

"Trinidad by Unanimous decision in a very ugly fight!"

—Carl Moretti, Main Events

"Tito by KO in 9."

—Mark Beiro, Ring Announcer Extraordinaire

"Felix Trinidad TKO11 Bernard Hopkins. Cautious opening by both men, but don't be surprised to see Hopkins take charge throughout the middle rounds and force Trinidad to up the pace. Tito behind on points, will turn it around by the 9th or 10th, possibly dropping Hopkins a couple of times before ending the fight late in the 11th."

—Swanny, editor, Heavyweight News

"If, as many say, Oscar De La Hoya showed us the perfect strategy for beating Felix Trinidad, then I predict that Trinidad will win this fight. Hopkins will not jump in and out and use movement to his advantage the way that Oscar did. Hopkins will, as is his style, turn it into a street fight and keep the action on the inside. That tells me that Trinidad, who appears to be much stronger at 160 than he was at 147, will land and land often. If his punching power is as devastating as Joppy described it to be, then I believe that will be the difference in the fight. Both men will have their moments in what should prove to be a tough and exciting battle, but I think Trinidad's power will prove to be the difference in the end. Tito via TKO in round 9."

—Dave Desrocher,

"As with the fight against what's his name last May, Tito is much too fast for Hopkins, and speed kills again. His speed is the key to his power and when coupled with perfect technique (thanks to Papa Trinidad) we are witnessing perhaps one of the greatest fighters who ever lived. Hopkins will be knocked out within 4 rounds. If he survives after that my prediction is that Hopkins, a la Tyson, will foul his way out of the knockout he knows is coming. His bully personality and all around tough guy bad attitude will be his fall if Tito does not knock him out early.

—Tony Cardinale, attorney, John "The Quiet Man" Ruiz

"Trinidad KO11 Hopkins"

—Charles Rigler, The Rigler Report

"I think, many times, there are comes a time in an athlete's career when you just shouldn't bet against him. Tito is at the point now where he is on such a high and on such a roll that it is hard to find a reason to bet against him. He has proven to have everything you could want or need except maybe the ability to slip a good jab. Bernard can box when he needs to, like he did when he hurt his arm against Echols, but I think he will be getting into it more with Tito and will give Tito the chance to land those razor sharp counters. I wouldn't actually bet on this fight, but I think it's Tito's time right now. I couldn't say I would be shocked if Bernard won, but my feeling is that Tito advances to a fight with Roy."

—"Ice" John Scully, Two-Time World Title Challenger

"It surely must come down to an age thing: 28 versus 36. Hopkins can probably win the first half of the fight but Trinidad can take the second, and maybe even make it a shorter half. Trinidad, possibly on a stoppage, somewhere from the 10th on."

—Gerry Callan, Irish Boxing Yearbook

I hope that this is a classic battle of legendary champions... but we're more likely to see an ugly, low-blow-infested, awkward fight. Eventually, Trinidad's power will catch the aging Hopkins off guard, and we'll have a new undisputed middleweight champion. "Felix Trinidad KO10 Bernard Hopkins. "

—Chris Bushnell, Editor,

"Trinidad will prevail via an ugly, but clear cut 15, er, I mean 12-round decision. Hopkins will definitely provide the ugliness. It is his true specialty. As Tito becomes more effective Hopkins will negate that effectiveness with wrestling, holding and other south-side, Philly tactics. But in the end, Tito will become the first undisputed World Middleweight Champion since Sugar Ray Leonard. I don't care what any of the alphabet boys say, when Leonard out-pointed Hagler, he became the one and only World Middleweight Champion."

—Sin City Richey,

"Trinidad W12 Hopkins"

—Eric T. Jorgensen, The CBZ

"Trinidad boxes on the outside, uses his speed, concentrates all the way and wins a lop-sided decision. Hopkins might have his moments, and it might be another one where Felix gets tagged and rocked, maybe floored, in the first couple of rounds. Once he gets his rhythm he boxes to plan and goes clear.

—Bob Mee, Daily Telegraph, London

"Trinidad seems to be very comfortable at 160. His speed and strength may prove too much as Hopkins is getting older and older and has not had a first class opponent since 1993 when he fought Roy Jones. Given Trinidad's schedule of the past two years, Hopkins' experience should not prove a great advantage or may not even be an advantage. Also, while Hopkins could put Trinidad in danger 'Tito's response will be a dirty one, like a shot below the belt as he did to Fernando Vargas. Hopkins has never got the money or the fame he deserves, and so I hope he can find a way to win, but as much as I like Hopkins and will cheer for him, Trinidad is too young, too fast and maybe even too strong, and Trinidad not unlike Duran is more than prepared to bend the rules to tip the balance of a fight. As it is, Trinidad continues his hot streak and Hopkins has to be rescued by the referee by the 9th round."

—Alex Hall, The CBZ

"I believe Felix Trinidad will win inside 6 rounds of a foul infested brawl."

—James Russell, press officer at Panix Promotions UK

"Trinidad by decision."

—Eric Bottjer, Cedric Kushner Promotions

"Viva Tito! Tito by KO in 8. Bring on Roy Jones."

—Bob Trieger, Full Court Press, publicist, John Ruiz

"Hopkins is too slow. He may rough Trinidad up for a while, but eventually Trinidad will catch him with something serious, and stop him in the late middle rounds, maybe round 8."

—Lucius Shepard, The CBZ

"No disrespect to Bernard Hopkins but the day I pick a 36-year-old 'Philly Brawler' to defeat a 28-year-old, in-his-prime, non-weight-drained Felix Trinidad is probably a good omen for you to go out and buy a lottery ticket. The best weapon combination used against Trinidad thus far seemed to be exceptional power and speed. In 99' de la Hoya had enough power to keep a weight drained Trinidad honest while giving him trouble with his speed. Hopkins merely has good power and speed. It won't frustrate Trinidad who has the upper hand here. There is no doubt in my mind that Trinidad is going to win this contest. I personally think Tito will stop 'The Executioner' in the later rounds. If I am wrong and it goes to the cards, I suspect that Trinidad will also clearly win with the first half of the fight being somewhat more competitive than the second half. I won't speculate on scores because I believe that points will be lost during this contest."

—Jack Dunne,

"Trinidad can't keeping moving up the weights, but I think he'll come good against Hopkins. Tito may well kiss the canvas again, but I think Tito take a decision that may well be controversial and hotly disputed by the Hopkins camp."

—Steve Lillis, Daily Sport

Picking Hopkins:

"Before the postponement, I was picking Trinidad. Now I think that the postponement will hurt Trinidad and I'm picking Hopkins. Trinidad was stuck in New York, while Hopkins was able to see his family. Home cooking wins. I think the crowd will be a lot more subdued."

—Bert Randolph Sugar, CNN Commentator

"Hopkins W12 Trinidad"

Pusboil, The CBZ

"Hopkins on points."

—Mark Stokes, The Irish Emigrant

"Right now Felix is the man in that weight class and in boxing. He comes and comes and hits and hits and wins. But styles make fights and Bernard Hopkins has the style and the rough tactics to offset brilliant punching. He also is a seasoned fighter used to the distance. Remember the trouble Gene Fullmer gave Sugar Ray Robinson. You crowd a man and take away punching room. You punch from awkward angles and you create situations. The problem for Hopkins is his age. Can he pull out a supreme effort as this advanced age? I say he can. Hopkins by decision. I have a soft spot for rehabilitated ex convicts.

—Rocky Alkazoff, The CBZ

"I'm picking Hopkins by decision. I think he is the most complete fighter Tito has been in there with and I think his strength and experience will carry him to a close but clear-cut decision."

Kurt Emhoff,

"Here is why Hopkins will win:

AGE: Despite the supreme condition that Bernard keeps himself in, 36 is old for any fighter. As of late, some heavyweights have had some success after age 36 (you know who they are), but it is extremely rare. Only Sugar Ray Robinson won multiple middleweight championship bouts after age 36. There are no warning lights that will flash indicating that Bernard might be an empty package in his next fight.

SIZE: Trinidad has not fought anyone who is taller or longer than he is. This has enabled him to get inside on the 40 fighters he has defeated. By dominating the distance with his reach, he is able to punch from a distance which (a) forces his opponent to back away to keep from getting hit and (b) makes them either reach or step to him to land first. Both (a) and (b) are exactly what he wants. He cannot dictate the range and punching distance with the likes of Bernard Hopkins. How effective is Trinidad if he has to fight from the outside because his opponent's incoming jab is preventing him from getting set to punch.

STYLE: (a) Hopkins' long, fast left jab will keep Trinidad at bay, Trinidad cannot get set to punch hard from long range. (b) Hopkins has shown he is a very good boxer when using the entire ring with lateral movement. This will keep Trinidad's feet moving nullifying his effectiveness as a puncher. (c) Hopkins straight right will be a tremendous weapon. Having established his jab, Trinidad will be forced to follow him. This will set up Trinidad to walk into the right hand. (d) Trinidad will be vulnerable to Hopkins' counter right uppercut when trying to force Hopkins back to the ropes.

SUMMARY: Trinidad will face in Hopkins a fighter who is longer and stronger and just as experienced. A fighter who is dangerous inside and outside, a fighter who will give him lateral movement while punching at the same time.

Hopkins has longed for this type of fight. Defeating Trinidad will bring Hopkins the respect and adulation he has been wrongfully denied. Trinidad is made for Hopkins as a fighter and who he is provides everything Hopkins could ever want to bring out his best.

—Frank Lotierzo, ESPN Radio 1490, "Toe to Toe"

"Hopkins by decision."

—George Kimball, Boston Herald

"This is one of the toughest fights to call. While most superficial aspects point towards a Felix Trinidad win—he is younger, powerful, etc.—I hesitate to make that call. In my gut, I feel that Trinidad may be too young, fast and powerful for Hopkins. However, I think I would be selling Bernard - who is an excellent fighter - short. After taking a more serious look at the fight itself, I find myself leaning towards Hopkins. Why you ask? There are many reasons. First off, people keep talking about Trinidad's destruction of Joppy and Hopkins' lackluster fight against Holmes. Who ever looks good against Keith Holmes? And, in the Joppy fight Trinidad scored a tremendous knockout. However, I truly feel that the knockout came more because of mistakes by William Joppy than because of anything Trinidad did. Before he wrongly opted to brawl with Felix, Joppy was boxing Felix' ears off. The bottom line is, I do not think that Felix has proven himself 100% at middleweight. He has shown a weak chin in the past, however all of the previous fighters did not have the confidence in themselves to follow up on the hurt Trinidad. They all let him back into the fight because of this myth that Felix is more dangerous when hurt. Bernard will not fall prey to that and if he hurts Felix than he will follow up. Some may think I am crazy, however I think Bernard is going to shock everyone and pull off the win, possibly via TKO prior to the 10th round."

—Ted "Dr. TKO" Panagiotis, Director of Boxing Operations, Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.

"I have heard from an inside source that Hopkins looks absolutely terrific. Sure that is what they always say, but with Hopkins, I think his pride is now taking over. They are trying to downplay the crowd by saying that it is not the US vs. Puerto Rico, but try to tell either one of these guys that! I love Trinidad, and he has become stronger and stronger as he has moved up in weight. However, with the flag incident, and the fact that Hopkins will may likely suffer the same misfortune of being booed, as was William Joppy, in his own country, may be enough to inspire the "Executioner" to victory. I am going to go out on a limb and predict Hopkins via decision."

—"Irish" Patrick Kelley,

"I like Hopkins by late KO. I think he'll shuffle the deck on Trinidad, he'll box better than most think he can and do his share of work on the inside and slowly wear Tito down."

—Steve Kim,

"The scenario of this fight is eerily reminiscent to what I believe will be a Tyson-Holyfield replay. You have one guy (Trinidad) who the public is overstating as an invincible God. Trinidad, as Tyson did, had no problem ripping through a stationary, unthreatening target in Joppy. In Tyson's case, it was Seldon, Mathis, and Bruno. Then Tyson ran into a brick wall. He ran into a guy who, against public perception, turned out to be bigger, stronger, tougher, meaner, and above all, hungrier. Trinidad's opponent here has been savoring this opportunity for years and years and years - just as Evander did - and will not submit to anything to fulfill it. The gut feeling here is that Trinidad is about to run into a brick wall. Bernard Hopkins will be his Evander Holyfield. Hopkins by TKO in 11."

—Ted Bodenrader, The Ring

"I'm picking Bernard Hopkins to win the fight. I know I'm in the minority but let me explain. First, Hopkins in this fight will be the bigger, stronger man. Tito is a bigger puncher, but he is not physically as big or strong. This takes away one of Tito's usual strengths. Tito will not be walking down anyone in this fight. Hopkins is the better inside and outside fighter. Hopkins is a very smart and crafty fighter. He knows ways to tie up Tito and frustrate him all night long. Hopkins is also no William Joppy, who fights with his hands down by his side leaving his chin wide open. Hopkins keeps his hands up high and his chin tucked in tight.

Trinidad will have a more difficult time connecting on Bernard's chin. If he happens to connect, Hopkins also has a good chin. Whether or not he will be able to take Tito's punches is a question mark. I think he'll take the punches well. The KO of Joppy was over rated in my opinion because Joppy did not have a great chin to begin with. He also didn't know how to keep his hands up. The result was a devastating KO. Forget that fight. This will be the true test of Trinidad's power. I' ll be very surprised if Trinidad can hurt Hopkins and walk right trough him. Also, a lot has been made of Trinidad's power, but he will be in the ring with probably the biggest puncher he has ever faced in Bernard Hopkins. How will Trinidad's chin hold up? That's another question mark.

I see Trinidad going down sometime in the fight, but his will may be too strong for him to be KO'd. There will also be no late rally's for Tito because Hopkins is an experienced veteran who is always in great condition, unlike Vargas and Reid. These were two young puppies who Trinidad took out to deep water and drowned. Hopkins is no young puppy. Is Hopkins too old?? Maybe, but he hasn't shown it so far. The biggest thing is that Bernard has been waiting for this fight for a long time. This fight means more to Hopkins than it does Tito. If Tito loses, so what! He's still a great fighter.

If Hopkins loses, he will be remembered as just another good fighter who was the middleweight champ. Hopkins wants to be the "Undisputed Middleweight Champion". He has been saying for many years. This is his dream. Tito is in the way. If Trinidad beats Bernard Hopkins, he is no doubt the best fighter in the world. And will go down in the history books as one of the greatest of all time. A legend! He then gets a shot to be immortal if he beats Roy Jones. But I don't think he will. This may sound crazy but, I think Hopkins will win the fight by decision. Can Hopkins get a decision in New York in front of the many Puerto Rican fans? Maybe, maybe not...but much like Barrera vs Morales everyone will know who really won when the fight is over...Bernard Hopkins."

—Brian Hernandez,

"I think Trinidad outboxes Hopkins for 10 or 11 rounds, but then gets careless and gets stopped. TKO-11 Hopkins, based on bigger man, and Hopkins having spent a lifetime feeling neglected and unappreciated. Trinidad probably wins rematch but this time I think the true middleweight has too much."

—Jay Miller, Quincy Patriot Ledger

"Hopkins wins on a fifth round stoppage. Reason: he's a relentless boxer, adept at closing the longer range which Trinidad likes to fight at. He's bigger and stronger than Trinidad and has a good chin. He also has the punch to take Felix out and is a dirty fighter who will be able to rough up the smaller man.

—Gavin Evans, Fist, Boxing World

"Hopkins by split decision

—Dave Iamele, The CBZ

Undecided/Unclear Predictions:

"My head says Trinidad, but my gut says Hopkins. The more I hear 'The Executioner,' the more I think that he knows something about Trinidad that we don't. It would not surprise me to see Hopkins more prepared mentally (Tito's extramarital affair coming out can't help him this close to the fight), and just outwill him on the 29th. Either way, it should be a great battle."

—Tom Gerbasi,

"Hopkins by decision ... unless he gets DQ'd or loses too many points by fouls.

—Chris Cozzone,,, and

"I think Felix Trinidad is a great champion who has made name for himself, and so has Bernard Hopkins. This is the opportunity Hopkins has been searching for long, my prediction is that Hopkins will stop Trinidad at late rounds or Trinidad could win by decision."

—Ike Enwereuzor,

"My prediction in this fight is that things are going to get nasty. Tito by DQ or if there is no DQ, Hopkins by UD. One month ago I would have taken Tito hands down but with all the Hopkins press regarding his conditioning, mental state, etc., he has convinced me he will win."

—Jerry Colton, Managing Editor,

"Bernard Hopkins by knockout in 8th round over Felix Trinidad. If the fight goes beyond 8 rounds Hopkins could be in big trouble. Even though Bernard is from the tough streets of Philly he cannot afford to get in a all out street brawl with Felix. Macho Man and Ego must be set aside. Bernard must fight a much smarter fight than William Joppy, if not the results will be the same."

—Harold Bell, Inside Sports, Washington, D.C.

"I reckon Trinidad will win a tight fight on points. Hopkins being the bigger man can withstand Trinidad's punch and if he can he could even be busy enough to win on points."

—Steve Holdsworth, Freelance Boxing Writer

Final Tally:

Trinidad: 33
Hopkins: 15
Undecided/Unclear Predictions: 6

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