Boxing


Trinidad Representatives Confirm Comeback Rumors

18.12.03 - By Frank Lotierzo: This past Saturday at the Back-to-Back-to-Back Don King card, I wrote of my conversation with Felix Trinidad 41-1 (34). During that conversation it was conveyed to me that the former three division champ was going to come out of retirement and fight again. Trinidad has not fought since he stopped Hassine Cherifi on May 11, 2002. Since that article was posted, I've been contacted by many Spanish and American writers. I've been told that the rumors are TRUE and have been confirmed by many of the Spanish newspapers.

Within the last few days, I was contacted by a Spanish Sports Writer. He told me that there were two articles in a National Spanish newspaper in response to my article, written by Luis Arce. Arce writes for El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico, www.endi.com. It was passed on to me that representatives of Trinidad were contacted and they confirmed the story. However, it has not been made official yet. It was said that Tito's mother did not want her son to return to the ring, but if he did chose to fight again she would support him 100%.

The return of Felix Trinidad is good news for boxing and boxing fans. I always felt that when he retired, it was too soon, and that he really didn't have boxing out of him. I don't know why he retired for sure, but I'm sure we'll find out in the near future.

Tito is a fighter who has taken on all comers throughout his career. The return of Trinidad makes for some potentially very intriguing fights? Since it will be just about two years by the time he finally fights again, it is possible that he may be able to get back to where he was when he left? The only thing that goes against him somewhat, is his style. Straight ahead fighters usually don't endure the long career that other fighters do, but since he hasn't taken much punishment in many of his fights, except for Hopkins, he may be able to pull it off.

The possible opponents who await Trinidad's return are numerous. Think of the potential fights that can be made besides Trinidad-Hopkins II, which I'll touch on last. How about Trinidad-Mosley? This can be the battle between the only two fighters who can claim victory over Oscar De La Hoya on their record. Although I thought that De La Hoya beat Trinidad, and Mosley in their second fight. The bottom line is, both Trinidad and Mosley had their hand raised. Trinidad-Mosley is a potential great fight, featuring two styles that will clash. And it would most likely be fought at middleweight, which probably favors Trinidad.

How about Trinidad-De La Hoya II at middleweight? As I mentioned, I had De La Hoya beating Trinidad 7-5 or 115-113. However, I always felt that because they fought at 147, it favored De La Hoya. I think it took a lot out of Tito to make 147, and that his strength advantage was negated. At middleweight, I think Trinidad would be too strong for De La Hoya, and just don't see Oscar having the strength or power to keep him off so he can box? Trinidad-De La Hoya II at middleweight is a super fight, I'm just not totally convinced Oscar would go for it?

Winky Wright and Ricardo Mayorga have also been mentioned as potential Trinidad foes. These are both good fights for him. Wright is a fighter that Trinidad could dictate the pace and tempo against. Winky is a good boxer, but he doesn't have the punch or strength to keep Trinidad off of him. I see Trinidad beating Wright rather convincingly. Mayorga-Trinidad would be great. Both Tito and Ricardo bring the fight to their opponents. They would clash at ring center and trade. Trinidad beats Mayorga. He is the better puncher with both hands, along with being the more complete fighter. As long as Trinidad has shaken the rust and is in top shape, I don't see him having any problem with either Wright or Mayorga at 160.

The fight most seem to be captivated with, is a rematch between Trinidad and undisputed middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins. This is a very difficult fight for Tito. I know Trinidad fans don't want to hear this, but Hopkins is all wrong for Tito. Especially if Tito never recaptures the brilliance he had going into his previous fight with Hopkins in September of 2001.

I've read where many fans and writers have said Trinidad wasn't the same fighter when he fought Hopkins, as the one who beat Reid, Vargas, and Joppy? They said Trinidad relied too much on trying to knock Hopkins out. Yep, that's about right. He tried to knockout Hopkins just like he did all the other fighters he fought during his career. That's his style, and it's the only way he can fight. If he were to fight Hopkins again, he'd fight him the exact same way, regardless of what was said or written. It's the only way Trinidad can fight and be effective. It's not like he can sit back and try to out box Hopkins, because he can't!

The cliche styles make fights may be over-used a bit, but in this case it applies. The fact is, Hopkins is all wrong for Trinidad. Hopkins has a great chin, as you saw he was never hurt or shook when they fought back in 2001. Bernard is also as strong as Tito, and maybe even stronger? The difference is Hopkins has much better legs and feet. He is much more versatile than Trinidad. Hopkins can fight going to his opponent, or moving away drawing the opponent to him. Bernard is also a tremendous counter-puncher. Couple that with his experience, terrific conditioning, and no layoff, Hopkins is a nightmare for Trinidad.

Not to mention that Hopkins holds a huge psychological edge over Trinidad. Hopkins was totally confident and had no fear of Tito before they fought the first time. Imagine how high his confidence would be if they fought again, after having already stopped him? I see Hopkins holding the same psychological edge over Trinidad that Evander Holyfield holds over Mike Tyson. Even though Hopkins is older than Trinidad, like Holyfield is older than Tyson, it doesn't matter. Physically, Tyson and Trinidad are as gifted as Holyfield and Hopkins. The difference is Holyfield and Hopkins can change their style, and are much more versatile. Tyson and Trinidad can only fight one way, and that bring it style doesn't work with Holyfield or Hopkins.

Another big difference is, Holyfield and Hopkins know they will win and harbor no self doubt. Opposed to Tyson and Trinidad who think they can win. Once Holyfield and Hopkins stand up to the power of Tyson and Trinidad, and fight back even harder, Mike and Tito start saying to themselves, now what? Fighters like Holyfield and Hopkins are the wrong guys to second guess yourself with during the fight. Once they sense doubt in their opponent, they become killers and it's over.

Trinidad was an all-time great fighter before he retired. That being said, even if he can get back to the level he was before he left, I still don't think he can beat Hopkins? A Trinidad return to the ring would be great. I could see him beating anyone from 154-160 except for Hopkins. I hate to rain on the parade of those who hold out hope that in a rematch Tito could win against Hopkins. It's just that I see it as a re-run more than a rematch. It's just one of those style match-ups where one fighter has the others fighters number. I picked Hopkins to beat Trinidad in their first fight, and I like him as much or more if they meet again.

Now that it looks like Felix Trinidad will return to the ring, I wish him all the best. He is a first class act who never embarrassed himself or boxing. Trinidad has provided boxing fans with many thrilling and exciting fights while he was active. Lets hope he can reach that level of true greatness again?

GlovedFist@Juno.com

Article posted on 18.12.2003



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