LAS VEGAS – By the end of the sixth round the only mathematical chance Felix Trinidad had to win was a puncher's chance.
And he hadn't been a puncher all night.
Ask anyone who watched the fight to name Trinidad's most prodigious shot. It would seem easy on one hand because he only landed a couple. But none of them would qualify as powerful.
Not on this night. Not against Winky Wright.
Handicappers stated Trinidad's most significant edge would be his celebrated strength. He didn't even have that against Wright, who looked bigger from the moment he took off his robe. Then Wright landed his first big jab about 30 seconds into the fight, and it was clear in the way Trinidad jerked backward the prognosticators had it all wrong.
Wright won an amazingly lopsided non-title middleweight bout Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. The slick southpaw entered the fight nearly a 2-to-1 underdog but was so thoroughly dominant one would think he could've gone another 12 rounds and not been marked.
“There's a lot of people who didn't believe in me, but that's cool,” Wright said. “I hope they believe in me now.”
Judge Duane Ford, as did The Sweet Science, called it a total rout. Jerry Roth and Dave Moretti each awarded Trinidad only one round. Roth gave him the fifth round, while Moretti gave him the second round.
Referee Jay Nady made the margin even more decisive when he deducted a point from Trinidad in the ninth round because of a low blow.
That actually might have been Trinidad's only noticeable punch.
What a silly proposition it was for a man who had fought only once in the past three years — against a right-handed, in-your-face brawler, no less — to take on a defensive southpaw with a history of making opponents look foolish.
“I can never remember two fighters at this level — two 'A' fighters, not even one 'A' fighter and one 'A-minus' fighter — pitching a shutout,” Wright's promoter, Gary Shaw, said. “This guy's a Hall of Famer.”
Wright raised his record to 49-3 with 25 KOs. Trinidad slipped to 42-2 with 35 KOs.
The CompuBox numbers seemed overly generous for Trinidad, claiming he connected on 58 punches out of 557 thrown (10 percent), 15 of 327 jabs (five percent) and 43 of 230 power shots (19 percent). CompuBox never calculated Trinidad scoring double-digit punch totals in any given round.
Wright, meanwhile, controlled all 36 minutes with a jab that made Trinidad look like a 5-foot-10 bobblehead doll.
“He had a beautiful jab and it reached me a lot,” Trinidad said.
In his first appearance at 160 pounds after unifying the junior middleweight title and defending it against Shane Mosley last year, Wright pumped 185 of 588 jabs (31 percent) off Trinidad's dome, according to CompuBox.
But it wasn't the mere fact Wright landed his piston right so frequently that made this fight appear so one-sided. It was the way each jab made Trinidad's head snap, the way each jab forced Trinidad to back off, the way each jab made the crowd wonder how many Trinidad could eat in one sitting.
“A good jab can keep anybody off,” Wright said. “I knew Tito was trying to set me up with big power shots, but I was prepared for that.”
Wright also held the CompuBox lead by landing 262 of 756 total punches (35 percent) and 77 of 168 power punches (46 percent).
“He stood there for 12 rounds and took a beating,” Wright said. “He easily could've took a shot and gone, but he didn't. He showed a lot of guts.”
Trinidad has the right to receive a rematch, but who in their right mind would want to see this massacre again?
“He underestimated me this time, but next time maybe he won't,” Wright reasoned. “My first honor is to get Tito a rematch. I'm a man of my word, and he's a great (former) champion who gave me the opportunity.”
Wright said before the fight fans will know how easy he thinks his night will be if he comes back to his corner at the end of the first round with a smile on his face.
He must've needed a little more time to decide because it was the end of the second round that he strutted back to his stool and broke into a wide grin, exulting the 14,176 fans to stand up and cheer.
In the second round Wright demonstrated an impenetrability that would frustrate Trinidad all night. Wright allowed the former welterweight champ to wail away for several seconds, but not a single shot hit its mark. They instead boomed off Wright's gloves, arms or hips. Similar scenes transpired throughout the bout, yet Wright never budged.
Trinidad didn't land his first clean punch until there was about 55 seconds left in the third round, a single shot to the head.
But Trinidad mostly was befuddled. Wright shook him in the sixth round with a double jab followed by a sharp left to stir the crowd.
Wright truly looked bored at the end of the seventh round. He was toying with the mighty Trinidad, the man who once beat Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya, David Reid, Fernando Vargas and William Joppy.
Trinidad didn't resemble that future Hall of Famer, especially not when Wright wobbled him yet again with a left, jab, left that swiveled his noggin in the eighth round.
“I thought there were a couple shots I could catch him with and hurt him, but he's got good legs,” Wright said. “I told reporters before the fight I was going to win every round one by one. I didn't deviate from that plan.”
The only way Trinidad could win was if Wright got too overconfident and, perhaps a tad fatigued in the championship rounds, got clocked by one of Trinidad's trademark hooks.
Trinidad's odds grew even longer in the ninth round when Nady, after warning Trinidad for low blows in the fourth and fifth rounds, had a point taken away for digging below the belt once more.
Wright landed one of the best punches of the night, a right uppercut that came out of Laughlin, with about 30 seconds in the 10th. He easily won the 11th, taking an exaggerated bow for the fans at the bell. He took the last round, too, as Trinidad's desperation haymakers missed wildly.
“The fighter who beats me in the ring has to be one of the best in the world, and Wright is one of the best,” Trinidad said.
Also on the pay-per-view broadcast, undisputed welterweight champ Zab Judah obliterated Cosme Rivera via third-round TKO.
Judah floored Rivera twice in the first round, first with a wondrous straight left and then with a gift call from referee Joe Cortez after Rivera went down more from grappling than punching.
Judah (34-2, 24 KOs) dominated the second round as well, but an onslaught initiated by a jarring left uppercut quickened Rivera's demise. A seemingly routine combo put Rivera (28-8-2, 20 KOs) on the canvas, and he got up on legs too uneasy to continue.
Former IBF junior flyweight champ Will Grigsby regained his title after 5½ years by winning a lopsided decision over Victor Burgos.
Grigsby (18-2-1, 7 KOs) had fought only four times since losing his title to Ricardo Lopez in October 1999 and was a 3-to-1 underdog against Burgos (36-14-3, 21 KOs). There were no knockdowns, but plenty of back-and-forth action. They combined to throw 1,189 punches, with Burgos actually throwing 15 more but landing at a much lower percentage.
The typical Don King card featured some fine action on the off-TV portion of the undercard.
Former two-division champ Danny Romero Jr. (44-5-2, 37 KOs) looked good in ending a two-year layoff, but came away with an eight-round majority draw against Alex Baba (21-7-1, 16 KOs).
“Man, that sucked,” Romero Jr. said before he walked back to his dressing room. “I felt real, real rusty, but I thought I scored the harder shots. I thought I had it easy.”
Judge Bill Graham scored the bout 77-75 for Baba, while Patricia Morse Jarman and Glenn Trowbridge had it even. The Sweet Science had Romero slightly ahead, but the rounds were plenty close to justify the result.
“I think I proved myself,” Romero Jr. said. “Man, I wanted to win. I knew I wouldn't look fabulous after two years being out, but shoot.”
Romero Jr. hadn't fought since winning the IBA super bantamweight title in May 2003 because his father was diagnosed with a liver disorder and needs a transplant. He decided to return to the ring last year so Romero Sr. could enjoy boxing in his final days, but in December it was discovered a live-donor transplant could be performed using 60 percent of youngest son Juan Romero's liver. The operation is scheduled for May 26.
Sirimongkol Singwangcha beat Michael Clark into a submission in a WBC lightweight eliminator.
The scorecards were all over the place at the time Clark, the No. 1 contender, quit at 1:50 of the seventh round, shortly after Singwangcha, the No. 2 contender, dropped him with a counter right. Heading into the seventh, Singwangcha was up by two points on one card and down by two points on another. The third card was even.
Singwangcha (48-2, 28 KOs) dropped Clark (34-3, 15 KOs) in the fifth round, but the knockdown was negated when referee Tony Gibson deducted a point for a low blow.
Mark Suarez handed Viktor Sydorenko his first defeat to claim the vacant NABO welterweight belt. Suarez (24-2, 12 KOs) landed a crunching right to the cheek, dropping Sydorenko (11-1, 9 KOs) flat on his back, and referee Richard Steele ended the bout at 2:06 of the sixth round.
In ten entertaining middleweight rounds, Randy Griffin scored a unanimous decision victory over Ron Weaver in a fight that was closer than the scorecards indicate. Each judge gave Griffin (22-1, 11 KOs) nine rounds, but Weaver (29-15-2, 22 KOs) dished out some punishment throughout the tussle.
Although Marcus Johnson (4-0, 4 KOs) never dropped his overmatched foe, he pummeled James Green (4-7-1, 0 KOs) until referee Robert Byrd stopped the action at 1:31 of the third round.
Super middleweight Josiah Judah (2-0, 1 KO) scored a questionable knockdown in the first round to edge the human alphabet, Dan Stanisavljevic (3-3-2, 1 KO) and take a four-round spilt decision. The announcement drew boos from the handful of fans that showed up for the show's opening bout.