Archive for December, 2009

Felix Trinidad

A phrase I read more often when boxing pundits discuss the career of Oscar de la Hoya is that’he has never defeated a great champ in his prime.’ it is a controversial statement to direct at a 6 division champ who is also the most financially successful non-heavyweight of modern times, having been concerned many of the finest fights of the last 20 years. I always find such statements at least a little dubious, not the least as it is often the job of a journalist to stir the pot by making a controversial statement. Also, it usually appears that the higher a man rises, the more some folk will attempt to reject what he has accomplished. Nobody denigrates’Tito’ by exclaiming he never faced and defeated a great fighter in his prime, so we’ll take some instruction from his career.

The beginning

Felix Trinidad captured his first welterweight world title in 1993, by knocking out Maurice Blocker in 2 rounds. However , Blocker himself could hardly be called a’great champion;’ he fought only twice more after Trinidad against non-descript opposition and then retired.
Campas would not win a world title till he moved up to 154lbs, at that point a feeble division. Trinidad even toyed with moving up to 154 himself in those days, fighting an eliminator for the WBC belt held by Terry Norris in 1997. In Feb 1999, Trinidad fought Pernell Whittaker, winning a lopsided decision victory against the slick defensive master. by that time, Whittaker was extremely far past his game. His close loss to de le Hoya had been almost two years before, and it had been more than a year since his tune-up fight with Andrei Pastraev. He fought only once more, losing by knockout to an unknown in 2001.
The Mega-Fight : Oscar de la Hoya

The huge Sep 1999 clash with Oscar de la Hoya remains questionable to this day, with many commentators who are definitely not de la Hoya partisans claiming that’the Golden Boy’ was robbedAs for de la Hoya’running,’ it was’Tito’ who came out of the fight with a busted up face and blood-stained trunks. At best, he got away with a very close, disputed win over a great fighter in his prime.

triumphant as a Junior Middleweight

Trinidad rode high after the de la Hoya fight. He moved up to 154lbs, and took away the WBA title from previous Olympian David Reid. He then met Fernando Vargas, knocking out’El Feroz’ in the 12 th and last round in an explosive bout. Prior to Trinidad, his 2 opponents of note were fringe contenders Laurent Bouduani and Keith Mullings.

Middleweight Waterloo

Don King then set up the unification series for the middleweight title, including Felix Trinidad. In May 2001, he challenged two-time WBA middleweight champion William Joppy in his first fight at 160lbs, knocking out Joppy at Madison Square Garden in 5 rounds. That set the stage for the clash with long-reigning IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins. Out boxed and roughed up,’Tito’ lost by twelve th round knockout.
When Felix Trinidad left the 154lbs division, the pieces were picked up by Ronald’Winky’ Wright, who went on to become the undisputed world champion at that weight. Wright moved up to 160lbs, and fought Trinidad in May 2005 for a right to challenge for the WBC middleweight title.
Felix Trinidad has enjoyed a celebrated career, and merits his name and legion of Puerto Rican fans. Nobody argues that when the day comes,’Tito’ will merit his place in the Hall-Of-Fame. However , it is beyond question that the sole great fighter in his prime that Trinidad ever scored a win over was Oscar de la Hoya, and that win remains controversial and contested to this very day.

So what does this mean for Oscar de la Hoya, and all of the critics who say Oscar’never beat a great fighter in his prime?’ Simply this : the more you achieve, the more the critics try to tear you down.

For more information on the greates living boxer Felix Trinidad check out felixtrinidad.com


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