Judging by the feedback we get from all corners of TSS Universe, there are just a handful of you who believe that Tito Trinidad, who hasn’t fought in three years, looked dreadful in his last outing, and is moving up 25 pounds from his heyday weight, can beat Roy Jones on Jan. 19 in NYC. And most of that handful, I’m guessing, hail from a certain island commonwealth in the northeast Caribbean.
Yes, boricuas believe, but everybody else, it seems, feels it’s a tall order for Tito, who turns 35 tomorrow (Jan. 10th) to shed multiple layers of rust and handle a fleet footed, ultra-elusive target such as Jones.
Of course, there have been points in recent years when Jones hasn’t been as elusive as he’s needed to be; he was KOd by Tarver and Road Warrior Johnsin in ’04). And he himself is approaching Boxing AARP age; he turns 39 on Jan. 16th.
So, the boricua believers are feeling, and hoping, that the former 147, 154 and 160-pound champion Trinidad can bring enough power up from his welterweight glory days, and affect that compromised Jones chin.
Trinidad (42-2-1, 35 KOs), reserved and composed, took phone calls on Wednesday from the press, as he winds down his camp leading in to his Jan. 19 showdown with Jones at Madison Square Garden.
The fight, promoted by Don King, will be shown on PPV ($50 charge).
So, Tito, you fought once in 2002, not at all in 2003 (Cherifi TKO win), once in 2004 (Mayorga TKO win) and once in 2005 (UD loss to Winky Wright). Why are you back in the game? You’re not broke, are you?
“I want to fight, I came back to boxing to fight,” he said, simply, through interpreter Jose Ramos.
Yes, his finances are in order, he stated, so it wasn’t a dwindling bank account that lured him back. (Though surely the wily ways of promoter Don King, promising PPV plunder, did something to lure him back to the sweet science.)
His life in retirement, Trinidad said, is “very relaxed.” A big reason for gloving up again, he said, is the love his fans show him when he’s out and about. They always ask him when he’s getting back in the mix.
“I feel the passion and I’m back,” he said, sounding chill, bordering on disapssionate.
Trinidad dismissed the KO guarantee from Jones (51-4-2, 38 KOs).
“It is a promise he will not be able to fulfill,” Trinidad said. “He’s just one more fighter to say that.”
You may recall the last time Trinidad stepped in the roped off square, it was against Winky Wright. It didn’t go well in Vegas that evening. Winky jabbed his way to a near shutout, and Tito plodded after him, unable to land a game-changing bomb.
He talked rematch after that, but instead chilled out, happily steering clear of food deprivation, grueling roadwork, and rust-clearing sparring sessions. That loss, he said, did weigh on his mind.
“It did not hurt my pride, but I didn’t feel good from it. The way I lost, no one wants to lose,” he said. “It was something I had on my mind.”
Trinidad had guaranteed that he’d stop Jones in two, but he did say he’s prepared to go 12. If I’m a Tito fan, I’d rather hear him say he’s coming out guns a blazin’, and promising a stoppage, because if this fight goes 12, Tito is almost assuredly taking a decision loss. But, boxing, like politics, is the theater of the unexpected (Idn’t in, Obama, Clinton and McCain fans?) so we’ll see how it plays out….
Trinidad insists rust won’t be a problem on Jan. 19, and dismissed rumors that he’s employed neophytes and semi-retired pugs to spar.
Jones, he said, will feel his power.
“Every weakness he has will be discovered, and I will take advantage,” Trinidad said. “In the past, fighters who have punched him well, he went out, and I punch well. Let’s see if he can deal with my hands.”
Trinidad is not in ‘one and done’ mode, he said, but he is trying to concentrate on Jones, and not ponder his next move. He would, he said, welcome rematches with both men who bettered him, Hopkins and Wright.
I must admit, I am siding with the majority on this one, and believe Jones will elude and potshot his way to a UD12 win on Jan. 19, but hey, the polls said Obama would put the last nail in the Clinton coffin in New Hampshire on Tuesday, so let’s see how it plays out, shall we?
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