Its on ESPN now so it must be true
Its on ESPN now so it must be true
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Felix Trinidad doesn't speak English so well, yet made his position very clear.Originally Posted by diggity
Only one fighter could lure him from retirement: Roy Jones Jr.
"Roy Jones is one of the biggest and greatest champions ever in boxing," Trinidad said Monday. "But he's never faced a puncher like me."
He will in January, when the two stars meet at an undetermined site in what promoter Don King is already calling "the people's championship." Both have agreed to fight at 170 pounds — 10 pounds more than Trinidad has ever carried into the ring, and five less than what Jones weighed when he beat previously undefeated Anthony Hanshaw last month.
"It's a unique, special event that this sport needs," Jones said. "If you can't put it on the line for this, then you can't put it on the line for anything. This is the type of thing you put it on the line for. The sport needs another megafight and that's what this is."
Trinidad hasn't fought since losing to Winky Wright in May 2005 and has only prevailed in two bouts in the last six years. But when King flew to Puerto Rico about two months ago to gauge his interest in a comeback, Trinidad quickly said he'd be open to a matchup with Jones.
"This is going to be one of the most thrilling events we've seen in boxing in many, many decades," King said. "This is about pleasing the people."
Trinidad signed his part of the contract Monday, and King said he'd move quickly to get a deal struck with Jones — who flew down from Pensacola, Fla. only hours after Trinidad formally agreed to the deal.
"I don't understand how Tito thinks he's going to win," said Jones' adviser, McGee Wright. "But he's a fighter and that's what we like. If he didn't think he could win, he wouldn't be there."
Trinidad is a former welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight champion and a national hero in his homeland of Puerto Rico. He took 2 1/2 years off before beating Ricardo Mayorga in 2004, but was dominated when he met Wright seven months later.
He retired again after that fight, but whispers of a Trinidad-Jones possible matchup have been circling for months.
"Most fighters of Tito Trinidad's stature would want a warmup fight after being off for this long," King said. "Not Tito Trinidad."
There was a sense last year that Trinidad was considering coming back to fight Oscar De La Hoya — which would have likely been a huge draw, given how close many thought their bout was in 1999 when Trinidad won a controversial decision for the WBC and IBF welterweight titles.
Over the weekend, De La Hoya reiterated that he doesn't expect that rematch — which has been talked about for years — to ever happen, since Trinidad likely isn't interested in dropping to his weight class.
"Sure, I'd fight Tito if he comes down to 154," De La Hoya said. "I think there's probably more realistic opportunities for me with other fights, though."
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Felix Trinidad Sr., the fighter's father, manager and trainer, said he probably wouldn't have agreed to another comeback try unless the potential fight had the marquee appeal he believes a Trinidad-Jones matchup will carry.
And he's not worried about the layoff, either.
"I can be proud to bring my son into battle with a giant such as Roy Jones," the elder Trinidad said. "My son's a legend, but so is Roy Jones. And Roy Jones has been there forever. He's made an indelible mark on people around the world."
Trinidad is 42-2; Jones Jr. is 51-4. Neither plans to fight before January matchup, and King hopes to have an exact date and site set soon.
"It's going to be a very big fight. A huge fight," Trinidad said. "I hear from Roy that somebody has to go down in this fight. I have to tell you Roy, it's going to be you. I always come to win."
Trinidad set to return for fight against Jones
Former boxing champion Felix Trinidad will end his two-year retirement with a January fight against Roy Jones Jr. at an undetermined site.
Both have agreed to fight at 170 pounds -- 10 pounds more than Trinidad has carried into the ring, and five less than what Jones weighed when he beat previously undefeated Anthony Hanshaw last month.
Trinidad, 42-2, hasn't fought since losing to Winky Wright in May 2005. Jones is 51-4
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I really enjoyed reading your piece, Tom. Thanks!
THE SENIOR CIRCUIT AND CHAD DAWSON
By Michael Swann
Now we have Roy Jones Jr. and Felix Trinidad to add to the list of matches made that are built simply around the reputations of aging fighters. Jones, 38, and Trinidad, 34, are scheduled to duke it out in early 2008, possibly January, at a catch weight of 170. Trinidad has been out of the ring for 27 months now and it will be 32 or 33 by the time he faces Jones, and at the highest weight of his career no less. There are no titles at stake, and further, little purpose except to enrich those involved as I see it.
It appears that we have Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright to thank for some of the details. Those guys just invented their own weight class of 170 and just made it work. While the paid attendance of some 8700 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas wasn’t overwhelming, they and HBO had to be pleased to bring in over 300,000 pay per view buys.
Jones and Trinidad are both much more bankable at the box office than Hopkins and Wright, so it’s reasonable to assume that their fight will be a PPV blockbuster of several hundred thousand buyers.
Now, Antonio Tarver is another matter. The 38 year old former titlist turned down $2 million to fight WBC light heavyweight belt holder Chad Dawson, supposedly because he didn’t want to fight in Dawson’s home state of Connecticut at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino.
“Who is going to pay this guy $2 million?” Mike Criscio, Dawson’s manager, asked this week. Criscio continued, saying, “I told his promoter [Joe De Guardia] that he might as well tell his fighter to retire. No one is going to pay $2 million. He didn’t want to fight in Connecticut, but Foxwoods was the only one to offer any money for him to fight. He’s lucky if he gets $300,000 to fight now. No network is going to pay him that kind of money to fight [lesser competition].
“Florida [Tarver’s home state] didn’t want the fight. We would have fought him in Florida, but they didn’t want the fight. We tried to get a casino in his home state and they didn’t want him.
“It’s a shame. It could have been a good fight for the fans. I was all excited. I heard that Tarver was in the ring getting ready for Chad, then he didn’t sign the contract. He knows better - he didn’t want to be humiliated.”
So now the 25 year old Dawson will be fighting Adrian Diaconu, who won a title eliminator over Rico Hoye in May to be the mandatory challenger for Dawson. Diaconu is 24-0 (15), born in Romania and is now residing in Montreal, Canada. Most of his fights have been in Canada, so he is not a household name in America. Dawson would have had to fight him at some point anyway, but there is still disappointment over the missed opportunity of the aborted Tarver fight which would have given Dawson greater visibility while earning a handsome purse for himself.
Aside from perhaps Dawson, the Showtime network is probably the most disappointed at Tarver’s change of heart. It’s bad enough that they have to go up against the Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik match head to head that night, but now they’re stuck with Diaconu on their Free Preview Weekend. The additional millions of potential subscribers who might have viewed, or at least recorded a Tarver-Dawson matchup will likely take a pass on that special edition of Showtime World Championship Boxing.
Criscio, while frustrated, does not begrudge Roy and Tito their opportunity to further secure their financial futures.
“I don’t blame them for trying to make money,” he explained. “It’s a big payday, so why not? But Roy Jones says, ‘I can beat Chad Dawson, I’ll fight him. But I want $7 million’ or something like that. If you’re such a badass, fight the kid who wants to fight you. Unfortunately, Chad Dawson is the most feared boxer today.”
Another Dawson/Criscio target is the venerable 42 year old Bernard Hopkins.
“Hopkins is another one,” Criscio said. “He thinks he’s going to sell out Yankee Stadium [against Joe Calzaghe]. He’s delusional.”
Yes, but not delusional enough to take on Chad Dawson. It’s a simple mathematical equation. 42 does not go into 25.
Criscio even said that Dawson was considering a return to 168 in order to get some bigger fights.
“We’re going to get better fights at 168 than 175, that’s obvious,” he said. “We can fight the winner of the Calzaghe -[Mikkel] Kessler fight or the winner of the Taylor-Pavlik fight.”
Another light heavyweight senior, Glen Johnson, has been campaigning for a shot against virtually every major light heavyweight - Tarver, Jones Jr., Hopkins, and IBF titlist Clinton Woods.
Johnson’s promoter, Seminole Warriors Boxing, issued a press release this week on behalf of Johnson, entitled, “Glen Johnson: Are there any real fighters left?” In the release, Johnson too is referred to as “the most feared man in boxing.”
Johnson commented in the press release that, “ They all have amnesia when it comes to my name and it’s a disgrace. Each of them could have accepted a fight with me but either refused or ignored me. They give their titles a bad name.”
Johnson has also called out Chad Dawson, the only name fighter to do that. The problem is that the Dawson camp hasn’t returned the interest, thinking about a lucrative fight with Tarver or others.
Criscio was asked why Dawson wouldn’t just go ahead and fight Johnson if he is unable to get fights anyway.
“It might come down to that because he’s the only one who’s willing to fight Chad,” he replied. “The problem is that the networks don’t want to pay anything for it. They only want to give Chad $250,000 to fight him.
“Johnson is in the same situation as Chad, so maybe after this fight we will fight him. We’ll talk to HBO and Showtime to pay some money. We may have no choice if we stay at 175. He’s the only one with the balls to step up to the plate, but does it make sense money-wise?”
NOTES: This has been a full week for Freddie Roach. He trained Team Philippines to a 5-1 victory over Team Mexico in the Golden Boy promoted World Cup last Saturday as we discussed on Tuesday.
Yet that loss is the one that proved that even the best can be spread too thin. After Gerry Penalosa’s surprise victory over Jhonny Gonzalez, Roach still had 21 year old Rey Bautista in the dressing room awaiting his fight in the main event against Daniel Ponce De Leon.
As I wrote previously, Bautista seemed to freeze up when the bell rang. You have to wonder if it would have made a difference if Roach’s calming voice had soothed the young contender in his first title shot and first time on HBO. Bautista probably needed extra attention for the biggest fight to date in his career, but in the aftermath of Penalosa’s victory, he probably received less from the person most qualified to get him warmed up both mentally and physically.
Secondly, his bread and butter boxer, Manny Pacquiao, is busy these days denying the rumors of an adulterous romance with Filipino actress Ara Mina, as the actress is doing as well. No matter really - a soap opera is a soap opera. Pacquiao, scheduled to be the captain for Team Philippines, abruptly flew back to Manila last week without notifying anyone, including Roach.
Pacquiao’s business manager, Rex “Wakee” Salud was quoted in the Philippine Daily Enquirer that, “I cannot confirm it but I heard that there is a minor family problem that Manny needs to attend to.”
The Inquirer reported a source as saying that Salud was referring to Manny and his wife Jinkee and went on to say that, “Due to unknown reasons Manny and Jinkee were at loggerheads when the boxing champion flew to California. Manny wanted to settle their differences and that’s why he decided to immediately fly home.”
The source said that the decision to fly home succeeded in settling the spat.
Maybe this explains why it was reported that Pacquiao held up a PAL flight to L.A. by an hour last week while he decided whether he should leave or not, after postponing his departure five times.
So now poor Freddie Roach is off to the Philippines for Manny’s training at Salud‘s new gym in Cebu, the original plan as I understand it. Plan “B” was to train in L.A. to limit time spent on travel. So for now they’re back to plan “A*” and will train for the next month in the Philippines before returning to America for the last two weeks.
Except… Salud was quoted as saying that Manny would be training in the Philippines for two weeks and then complete his training at the Wild Card Gym in L.A.
How can anybody prepare for a fight this way, even a supremely talented specimen such as Pacquiao? Athlete, politician, movie star, husband, and all around gadabout, he poses a huge challenge to the brilliant Freddie Roach. I think that Marco Antonio Barrera has one more moment of greatness in him and it could well come at Manny’s expense. Stay tuned.
Michael Swann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Press Releases:
Jones-Trinidad in 2008: Punchline or Prizefight?
By Cliff Rold
If they had fought in 2001 when both were still peak, I would have picked former 4-division titlist Roy Jones (51-4, 38 KO) to destroy former 3-division titlist and World welterweight champion Felix Trinidad (45-2, 35 KO) inside of three rounds.
The passage of time has not made this then rumored, and now almost signed, bout any more competitive.
It’s rare that a fight between two living legends, in this case two of my favorite fighters ever to watch, would inspire less than excitement in me. This one got a belly laugh when I heard about it on Monday.
Maybe even a bit of a belly ache.
If 2007 has been building slowly, through one solid fight after another, towards a fall schedule that is everything right about the sport, we know for sure now that 2008 will be off to a lesser start.
This is not a condemnation of either Jones or Trinidad. Both were, on their best days, great fighters. An easy case can be made that each was among the top ten to twenty, all-time, in their most dominant weight classes (Trinidad at welterweight; Jones at light-heavyweight). Definitive cases can be made for them in slightly less established weight classes (Tito at 154 and Roy at 168) as among the very best.
Read those numbers again. Even in their best days, Trinidad and Jones were always two or three weight classes apart and Jones was the faster, harder hitting man regardless of weight. This was never really a competitive fight and it probably won’t be now at the proposed catch weight of 170 lbs.
And this is no longer the time of their best days.
Read the Rest at: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=9951
Jones-Trinidad: Living in the Past
By Brett Conway
Lately the big fights have left me thinking less about boxing and more about show-biz. They have forced me to replace in my mind’s eye the participants in De La Hoya-Mayweather and Hopkins-Wright with characters from “Rocky V” and “Rocky VI.” The latest big fight is no exception. It has me thinking less about Kid Dynamite and more about “Napoleon Dynamite.”
Recently I got a hold of Napoleon’s Uncle Rico and over a couple of steaks discussed our latest You Tube videos – in his, he tosses a football around in a field, and in mine, I shadow box in my kitchen and call out the Motor City Cobra. He talked about the wonders of time travel and sold me a device that he promised would send me to the past.
Taking it home, I strapped it to my head and nether regions and overruling the veto coming from my wife, turned it on. What do you know? It worked. I’m now back in 2001, walking gingerly, applying ointments, and reading about how 38 year old Roy Jones will be taking on 34 year old Felix Trinidad early in the New Year.
My take on this bout is almost the same as my take on the De La Hoya-Mayweather and Hopkins-Wright fights earlier this year. They’re like Seinfeld: they’re about nothing. But the Jones-Trinidad fight is worse than the others. At least the first two had championships at stake: Mayweather is undefeated and a pound-per-pound king and De La Hoya, although owning losses, had never really been dominated by anyone; Hopkins and Wright were both pound per pound top-ten fighters who hadn’t been clearly beaten in years, and Hopkins was the light heavyweight champion of the world. There was stuff on the line in those fights but not enough to hold my attention.
This time it’s different. With Roy Jones, we have a former middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight champion. But he’s also a fighter who has lost 3 of his last five fights: two of them by knockout and the other by running the last half of the fight. With Trinidad, we have a former welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight champion. But he’s also a fighter who was dominated for twelve rounds by the above mentioned Wright and who before that was dominated by the above mentioned Hopkins. The Jones-Trinidad match up isn’t the Stanley Cup finals but two guys playing street hockey with a net full of holes. So, I’m not too excited about it.
But some are. AP stories are being picked up in local papers; the signing of the contracts is being hyped on the internet; Don King will have the two contestants do color commentating on fights leading up to the match; and the venue being considered is none other than Madison Square Garden.
Recently, one newspaper picking up an AP story about boxing was a Korean daily, the Joongang Daily, a sister publication of the International Herald Tribune. It was maybe their first boxing story since they started a sports section earlier in the year. I thought it would have been about In Jin Chi, the Korean featherweight giving up his title for a K-1 shot, or Gerry Penalosa, the Filipino who won the bantamweight title and who had some great rivalries with Korean fighters. But it wasn’t about either. It was about Trinidad and Jones.
I talked to Jee Ho Yoo, a prolific sports writer for the paper, and asked why this of all boxing stories was the one picked up when these two fighters are well past their primes.
“Jones and Trinidad are familiar names to general readers, faded or not.”
But what about Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez who put on a fight of the year just the week before and who with youth and talent should be the face of the sport?
“I don’t think too many readers lost sleep over the fact that they couldn’t find the Marquez-Vazquez story in our paper. I certainly didn’t receive any calls or e-mails over that. And there’s a reason none of the sports cable stations here picked up that fight.”
What’s that reason?
“I think it has a lot to do with Koreans’ presence in sports. In boxing, Chi was the last remaining champion. And he was quoted in some Korean papers as saying he was getting something like $9 000 a year. And before that he announced he was going into K-1. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know he had been a boxing champion.
“When I was a kid, I remember at one point, Korea had 5, 6 international boxing champs at once. On TV (this was before cable), big boxing bouts were arguably more popular than playoff baseball.”
So, I’m in 2001. Jee Ho Yoo thinks about boxing in the 1980s. And many sports fans watching boxing today are stuck in either the heavyweight era of the 1970s, the Hagler-Hearns-Leonard-Duran round robin of the 1980s, or the heavyweights of the 1990s. Boxing has become a sentimental journey for many where the real fights that are being aired are being ignored for remembrances of things past or for fighters past their primes. The rise of other sports is partly to blame for this. But boxing holds a large portion of it, too. And it will hold more and more of the blame if it keeps staging fights that are sentimental rather than meaningful, fights like Trinidad versus Jones.
And Don King is great at playing on sentiment as he showed at a recent conference call announcing the fight. What better way to make us all misty eyed than to allude to the man who called himself “the Greatest”?
“This [Jones-Trinidad fight] is the first time,” Don King says, “since the Rumble in the Jungle where you make the fight, and we don’t even have television.”
Since it’s Trinidad, a fighter coming out of retirement, facing Jones, a fighter who was knocked down and out and off of HBO, we can see how they became free agents. But, hey, compare this fight to Ali-Foreman to sell it by all means.
How about the fighters themselves? What physical attributes will they bring to the ring?
Fighting at a catch weight of 170 pounds, Trinidad will be 23 pounds over his best weight and Jones will be 30 pounds less than he was on his biggest night, when he broke John Ruiz’s nose for a heavyweight title in 2003.
Trinidad will be fighting at the highest weight of his career, but he insists “I will feel great at that weight and it will be a great fight.”
Jones, who hasn’t been at 170 since 1996, admits it will be a challenge. “I don’t like it, but for a big fight you have to do those things. It is a wonderful fight and I’m not going to let a few pounds ruin it. Of course it is going to be very difficult. Of course I’m not going to like it.”
Who will win? The obese or the weight drained? It’s a tricky question, the kind that should be answered not in a boxing ring but on the reality show “The Biggest Loser.”
What they are fighting for – besides money – is not clear to me.
“Tito is a great champion,” says Jones. “And I know that he has left behind a great legacy. If someone like that comes to challenge you, how can you turn that down?”
Trinidad, too, speaks as if it is still 2001. “I always want to fight great fighters and I am coming back to fight Roy Jones Jr. because he is one of the greatest in the sport.”
So, nothing is at stake except the abstract idea of legacy and the illusion that these are two current pound-per-pound fighters fighting. It’s the first time these one-time great fighters are swindling the public. Their other comebacks weren’t like this one.
When Trinidad made his comeback at 160 pounds to face hard-punching Ricardo Mayorga in 2004 and then Wright in 2005, I thought it could be a jumping off point for a fight with Hopkins or Jermain Taylor. When he lost, it seemed he had nowhere else to go but retirement.
When Jones was knocked out by Antonio Tarver and then by Glenn Johnson in 2004, and then lost to Tarver again a year later, I thought he should retire. But when he came back with victories over Prince Badi Ajamu last year and then stepped up against undefeated Anthony Hanshaw this summer, I thought, okay, he’s rebuilding and could still be a force in the light heavyweight division. He’s coming back. I thought if he keeps fighting and beating the young guys, he not only adds to his legacy but also takes himself to a legitimate shot against the light heavyweight champion, Hopkins. If he loses to a young fighter – Chad Dawson, Adrian Diaconu, or Elvir Muriqui – he adds to the lifeblood of boxing, giving those guys name recognition, a valuable commodity if they want to land the big money fight on HBO and Showtime. Jones had done that already for Antonio Tarver and Glenn Johnson.
A fight against Trinidad, however, is a sidetrack, a one-off that benefits neither the light heavyweight division nor boxing but only the coffers of the two participants. Oh, yeah. And the bank account of that guy with high hair, the guy shouting “Only in America!”
As much as I would have loved this match in 2001, I think it only damages boxing now since it takes media attention away from fighters who are actually competing in divisions, between each other, and against real world champions.
There is nothing wrong with fighters putting some cash in their pockets since most in the past have not had nearly enough put in them. Just ask In Jin Chi. But I like the sport of boxing as a whole too much not to speak out against the damage this kind of show-biz production does to it.
But then again maybe if I can’t beat them, I can join them. I should get in to the big money thing. I will recharge my time travel machine, strap it on (my wife fumes as I write this), strengthen its dose, and head back to 1989 on my own sentimental journey. After all, if Trinidad-Jones sells, maybe I can arrange Leonard-Duran IV. Because I’m afraid Trinidad-Jones won’t look much better and mean even less to boxing than Leonard-Duran III did.
ROY& TITO: LOOKING FOR REDEMPTION
By Robert Morales
There was Don King, on the dais inside a ballroom at the New Yorker hotel in New York City. He was dressed as Santa Claus, and, after saying “Ho, ho, ho,” he told us why.
“I’ve got something to give you,” King said.
What, the shaft?
At first glance, it might appear that way when handicapping what fans might think of the upcoming 170-pound fight between future Hall of Famers Roy Jones Jr. and Felix Trinidad Jr. on Jan. 19 at Madison Square Garden.
After all, Trinidad has not fought in 2 ½ years, or since getting schooled by Winky Wright in the most lopsided of 12-round decisions – losing by 11, 11 and 13 points. And Jones hasn’t had a significant victory since winning a majority decision over Antonio Tarver in the first of their three fights four years ago this month. Whereas Trinidad will still be just 35 when he has a birthday nine days before the fight, Jones will have turned 39 three days prior to their bout.
King, Jones and Trinidad were on hand at the New Yorker on Saturday, playing host to a news conference formally announcing this fight. It started about 4 p.m., roughly three hours before the card featuring the welterweight championship between Miguel Cotto and “Sugar” Shane Mosley began across the street at MSG.
On this frigid Big Apple night in November, King’s Santa suit was a good fit –literally and figuratively. He worked the room before the proceedings began, exchanging pleasantries.
The night before, I had dinner with a big-shot from HBO and some other reporters at an Italian restaurant in Times Square. Their names are not relevant. But we did have much discussion about Jones-Trinidad, a fight that obviously would have been much more appealing if it came a few years ago, before both fighters began having serious career troubles.
Jones (51-4, 38 KOs) had for years been considered by many – though not by this reporter – as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world before he moved from light heavyweight to heavyweight in March 2003 and took John Ruiz’s heavyweight championship via lopsided decision. Even though Ruiz will not go down as a solid champion, it was nevertheless quite an accomplishment. Eight months later, Jones moved back down to light heavyweight and won the narrow, if not controversial, decision over Tarver.
Then things went bad. Jones was knocked out in the second round by Tarver in a rematch in May 2004, and in the ninth round by Glen Johnson four months later. Remember Jones on his back on the canvas, his legs shaking? That was not good.
Jones has since fought once in each of the past three years. In 2005, he lost the rubber match with Tarver via unanimous decision; he won a decision over Prince Badi Ajamu in 2006; and he won a decision over Anthony Hanshaw in July.
In other words, Jones is a mere shadow of his former self.
Trinidad (42-2, 35 KOs) was sailing along in fine fashion, having won titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight divisions. He had a 20-0 record in world title fights and appeared almost invincible. That is until he was stopped in the 12th round by Bernard Hopkins in a middleweight title unification fight in September 2001. Trinidad then had one more fight – a victory over Hacine Cherifi in 2002 – before retiring for nearly 2 ½ years. He came back and knocked out Ricardo Mayorga in 2004 on his way to being humiliated by Wright in a May 2005 fight in which Trinidad was credited with landing less than 60 punches in 12 rounds, according to CompuBox numbers.
I’ve never been completely sold on the accuracy of these statistics, if for no other reason than it’s got to be close to impossible for a guy working these buttons to be right on the money. But in this case, it gives one a general idea of just how soundly defeated Trinidad was that night against Wright. Again, Trinidad retired.
We’re glad he’s back because he is perhaps still young enough to do some damage in this sport. But still, how much credence should we put in this fight? Does anybody care?
Maybe we should. Here are two fighters who had for many years been at or near the top of many respected pound-for-pound polls, fighting for another taste of what used to fill their respective hearts with pride and joy. There is nothing wrong with that.
Think about it for a second: Jones suffered two vicious knockouts. Trinidad was 40-0 with 32 knockouts, had the weight of his beloved Puerto Rico on his shoulders and then lost to Hopkins and eventually to Wright.
Psychologically, both of these fighters must have been hurt and could have folded their tents and called it a career for good. But here they are, looking for some redemption. We all like that story line.
The question is, how much redemption can they get from fighting each other? If Trinidad were to come back and beat Hopkins, or if Jones were to lace them up against one of the current light heavyweight champions and win, that would be some serious redemption.
It will be interesting to see how fans respond during this promotion, and they will have to respond if they want to see this fight because it will be on HBO pay-per-view. That was a bone of contention at the aforementioned dinner, but we’ll save that for another time.
One thing is certain, there figure to be no shortage of fans on hand at MSG. Trinidad, Saturday’s victory by countryman Cotto over Mosley notwithstanding, is still probably the most favorite fighter in Puerto Rico. And, of course, that popularity filters into New York City because of its large Puerto Rican population.
“Very seldom do you see a man, an icon, with the support this man has,” said HBO
pay-per-view honcho Mark Taffet, during his time on the dais.As for the respective combatants, they were at their promotional best Saturday.
“When you get an opportunity to fight a Tito Trinidad in New York City … most of the fans are going to be Latino,” Jones said, “but that’s OK, because they are going to have to watch the Roy Jones Jr. show. So, it’s all good. I look forward to him coming out there and trying to get me out of there as fast as he can. That’s the smartest thing he can do, because once I get going …”
Trinidad started by talking straight out into a large group of assembled reporters.
“I have a lot of enthusiasm to be here and not even Roy Jones Jr. will stop me,” he said.
Then a standing Trinidad turned to Jones, seated to his left.
“I have 42 wins and two losses, 35 wins by knockout, and you are going to be No 36,” Trinidad said to Jones, who just smiled.
Let’s just hope that all those who pay to be there and who pay for the HBO feed, are still smiling after this fight is over. It has every opportunity to be a stinker. But it wouldn’t exactly be a sin if we gave it a bear hug and hoped for the best.
Not an easy call.
Robert Morales can be reached at email@example.com
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My take on Trinidad vs. Jones...
By Michael Swann
A couple of months ago I compared the Fernando Vargas-Ricardo Mayorga fight to the boxing equivalent of the TV show, “Seinfeld.” It was a show about nothing, just as was the classic 90’s comedy. Well don’t look now but a double barrel of has beens are poised to deliver another episode this Saturday. Roy Jones Jr., 51-4 (35) and Felix “Tito” Trinidad, 42-2 (35), both future Hall of Famers but five years removed from relevance, square off then in Madison Square Garden for God knows what reason aside from a big purse.
The event, to put it charitably, has been dubbed “Bring on the Titans,” and will be broadcast live on HBO PPV starting at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT, for $49.95.
Since the sport ended 2007 in such an upbeat manner and good fights are already quickly being penciled in for the current year, it actually pains me to be so negative about this one, but I see no choice. It’s a giant step backward after the memorable bouts that distinguished the second half of last year.
Let’s start with the positives. Well, Tito seems to have lost a considerable amount of weight. When he first appeared on TV after the fight was announced his fleshy facial features made him look 15 years older than his actual age of 35. Now cosmetically at least, he is again recognizable.
As for Jones Jr., I don’t think that I’ve ever seen him be more charming than on his recent appearances to sell the fight. He’s stepped in as a guest commentator on a PPV show and ESPN 2 and did a better job than when HBO was paying him for it. He even consented to an interview on an HBO card.
As for promotion, as always Don King is second to none. From the giant billboard showing the contestants on the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway for the New Year’s crowd to the Advan, a mobile truck designed to allow the public to video record their thoughts on the fight, send New Year’s greetings or anything else they desired, King showed that this wasn’t his first rodeo. The Advan chariot was strategically placed in front of Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve and then at various other locations throughout New York City in the days leading up to the fight. The videos were then streamed on donkingnetwork.tv running all the way up to fight night.
Brilliant. Say what you will, King and his team think out of the box. And while I’m throwing flowers at King, also consider that the guy promotes all over the country, all over the world. He doesn’t just find the closest casino and let them do all the work.
King also posted an eBay auction on behalf of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The winner receives two ringside tickets, has their name announced to great fanfare at the weigh-in, is given autographed gloves from the winner of the fight, and is treated to a meet and greet with King and both fighters.
Unfortunately, the fine print states that airfare, hotel accommodations and ground transportation are not included, probably just so you get the feeling of being one of Don’s fighters. But on the plus side, King, Trinidad and Jones Jr. themselves have already pledged a minimum donation of $100,000 for the fight against breast cancer, so just chalk up those expenses as being part of your contribution. When you go home, sell those gloves on eBay.
But the fact that Don King knows how to promote a fight does not outweigh the negatives.
First of all, with no title on the line and nothing to sell but their names from better days, it’s like the senior circuit tour of boxing. Jones hasn’t been the same since he bulked up to take an alphabet belt from heavyweight John Ruiz in 2003.
He was knocked out, and I mean out, twice in two fights in 2004 against Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. Jones fought once in 2005, losing a unanimous decision to Tarver in an effort in which he appeared to be so pathetically afraid of chalking up a third straight knockout that he didn’t throw any punches, landing a putrid 85 shots over 12 rounds. In 2006 he outpointed Prince Badi Ajamu, and in 2007 he won a decision over Anthony Hanshaw in a fight that was closer than the cards would indicate.
Jones is now 39 and appears to have no title efforts on his agenda. He seems to be fighting more for his bank account than his legacy at this point.
Trinidad’s recent history is even worse. In the first place, he’s lost the first round already by agreeing to a catchweight of 170. Though he obviously had quite a few pounds to shed, that’s 10 pounds over his previous high and 16 to 23 pounds over his prime years as a welterweight and junior middleweight.
Since losing to Bernard Hopkins in September 2001, Trinidad has fought three times, scoring TKO’s over Hacine Cherifi in May 2002, and Ricardo Mayorga in October 2004 before getting shut out for 12 rounds by Winky Wright in 2005. That’s it. He’s now been out of the ring for 32 months, he’s winless since 2004 and he’s fighting a light heavyweight.
Best of luck, Tito.
If Jones had any power, or at least an eagerness to engage, Trinidad’s spindly legs would be flying all over the canvas. But even as it is, after the long layoff, and the fact that the naturally bigger man’s punches should have more impact, he will still probably be stopped by round 10 or so.
Jones has been promising to dispatch Trinidad in four. Trinidad says he’s bringing his punch up with him. I can’t see either scenario. Jones is too careful about his well being to go all out. After three fights in six and a half years, Trinidad might have to get his power out of mothballs first.
The bottom line is that Jones has found himself a big name sucker with multiple layers of ring rust who’s willing to fight at a weight disadvantage for no other apparent reason than a fat purse.
At this stage of his career, Jones is the champion negotiator.
A friend of mine says that he has sources that say that the fight is going to be a disappointment at the gate. His logic is that folks are tapped out after buying Christmas presents and now the bills are coming in the midst of a struggling economy, and they need to save their money to heat their homes instead of purchasing a second rate pay per view.
I’m not sure if I agree completely. Even hardcore fans can be notoriously naïve about the marquee names in boxing. I would think we would have learned our lesson from Mike Tyson.
On the other hand, Bob Raisman, the New York Daily News TV sports critic who has excellent sources wrote in a column: “King is a master salesman. He’s going to have to be a magician to sell tickets for this fight. As of late last week boxing spies said ticket sales are in the toilet.”
Lastly, as we have unfortunately become accustomed to receiving in recent times, there’s a dreadful supporting card for your PPV dollar.
The telecast opens with 20 year old phenom Devon Alexander, 13-0 (9), and Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, 31-7-1 (17) and loser of three straight in a 12 round junior welterweight fight. Then Roman Karmazin, 36-2-1 (23), possibly the best at 154, faces pushover Alex Bunema, 26-9-2 (14). Finally in the co-feature, they’re trotting out good old Andrew Golota, 40-6-1 (33), back again to face prospect Mike Mollo, 19-1 (12).
God give me strength and keep the black coffee coming.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Edison Miranda’s early entry for knockout of the year on last week’s Friday Night Fights on ESPN 2. “Pantera” landed a crushing right hand in round three that had David Banks planted horizontally on the bottom two ring strands, looking much like a man taking a nap on a hammock.
I have to hand it to her: the World Boxing Council's Jill Diamond has been sending me some cool photos on this Roy Jones, Jr. vs. Felix "Tito" Trinidad fight on Saturday.
Here are some samples:
I believe I met Jill online a while back through her work with female boxing. She's been very helpful and friendly.
Check out some of her work on the CBZ Newswire page:
CBZ Newswire Link
What's cool is she'll be covering the Jones-Trinidad bout for us here at the CBZ this Saturday.
She's a very nice lady.
I sat with Jill at the Cotto vs. Judah fight at Madison Square Garden.
She's very attractive as well.
Thanks for the feedback. From all my email contact with her, Jill seems like a very nice and helpful lady.