Jones-Trinidad wrap-up

By Kirk Lang


Jones-Trinidad wrap-up

Did injury to Jones save Tito from KO?

In a match-up of former superstars that took place over the weekend, Roy Jones Jr. dropped Felix "Tito" Trinidad twice en route a unanimous decision victory at the World’s Most Famous Arena, otherwise known as Madison Square Garden. It was a good win for the former pound-for-pound king, who improves to 3-0 since going 0-3 against Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson between 2004 and 2005.

Jones had boasted prior to Saturday night’s fight that Trinidad wouldn't answer the bell for round five ("Tito must go in fo’"). However, Trinidad stuck around until the final bell.

"He took a lot of shots. I can’t believe he stayed in there with me for 12 rounds," said Jones. The victor revealed he might have been prevented from keeping his pre-fight promise had he not suffered an injury in training three weeks before the fight. He tore a tendon in his left biceps during a sparring session and removed his shirt at the post-fight press conference to show the media he wasn’t just offering up an excuse for not getting Trinidad out of there early.  "I couldn’t hook really and that’s one of my best punches," said Jones, "So I couldn’t hook him like I wanted to."The two knockdowns Jones scored - in the seventh and tenth rounds - came courtesy of a right hand, and a one-two combination, respectively.

Jones got off to a slow start - which allowed Trinidad to take the first two rounds on all three scorecards, with one judge giving Trinidad the first three stanzas - but loosened up as the rounds wore on. Trinidad won over the judges in the opening rounds with his focused body attack. However, none of Trinidad’s shots, whether downstairs or upstairs, seemed to faze Jones. The Jones-Trinidad affair was fought at a catch-weight of 170 pounds. Jones has spent most of the last decade at the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds, and Trinidad’s last world title was won at middleweight. 

The big questions going into Jones-Trinidad were: would having to make 170 would weaken Jones for Trinidad? could Trinidad, a powerful puncher in his prime, carry his power 10 pounds up from 160 (and previously 147 and 154) to 170? could Jones, who suffered devastating knockouts to Tarver and Johnson, and got rocked in a third fight with Tarver, find himself on the canvas again if Trinidad landed the so-called perfect punch?

Trinidad was able to hit Jones more than he was able to hit Winky Wright in a losing effort to Wright back in May 2005 but it didn’t matter. But Jones was used to fighting naturally bigger men and was able to take whatever Tito could connect with. The general opinion before the fight was the only way Trinidad, (42-3 with 35 KOs), was going to win the fight was by knockout. The knockout never came.

Jones  (52-4 with 38 KOs), even gave him opportunities. Standing in a neutral corner in the third round, Jones hit his stomach as if to say "C’mon and hit me." Shortly after, he stomped his feet and stayed in the corner. There would be more showboating from Jones, but only in spurts, unlike Jones’ third fight with Tarver, where Jones almost seemed more concerned with showboating than trying to land punches.

Against Trinidad, the quick fists of Jones dominated the action inside the ring, especially in the latter half of the fight. There were stinging lead right hands. There were lighting quick combinations at times. There were flashes of the brilliance that made Jones, now 39, an absolute thrill to watch during his pound-for-pound prime. In fact, Jones’ career highlight film will have to be edited to include the seventh-round knockdown of Trinidad. Tito suffered a delayed reaction knockdown near Jones’ corner after taking a right to the top of the head.

Jones never sought out Trinidad, who hadn’t fought since losing to Wright. It was the other way around. Trinidad and his father, Felix Sr., put out a challenge to Jones. Jones accepted the challenge and took training camp very seriously, given Trinidad’s credentials. Trinidad was among the best fighters of the 1990s. He was welterweight champion for most of the decade and then tore through the junior middleweight division in 2000, administering beatings to David Reid and Fernando Vargas to pick up two world title belts. In 2001, Trinidad disposed of highly respected William Joppy in five rounds to pick up the WBA middleweight crown. Later in the year, Trinidad, who seemed unstoppable, lost by twelfth round TKO to future Hall-of-Famer Bernard Hopkins in a match-up for the undisputed middleweight championship.

Jones thanked Trinidad’s father for calling him out. "I know why he was calling my name," said Jones. "He wanted somebody that would inspire his son to get right." On the flip side, Jones said the prospect of facing Trinidad made him take training very seriously.
"They made me get up and get off my backside and do what I had to do," said Jones. "When somebody’s coming for you, they’re coming for you ready."

Promoter Don King said, "This man [Jones] has rejuvenated himself, re-dedicated himself, re-doubled his efforts and he is focused and disciplined, you saw the moves of the Roy of old."
Kind added that Jones was so far superior to his opponents for so long, he became a bit cavalier and abandoned from the norm, "and when he did that, he lost a couple of fights and so they said he was finished."

But when he got Tito Trinidad, said King, "That was a man that could make him go back to the hard work and the hard work pays off when you’re dedicated and committed."

Jones talked of wanting to face super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe, who hails from Wales, in the near future, or Bernard Hopkins, who, although he holds none of the major belts, is generally recognized as the light heavyweight king, by virtue of his dominant victory over Antonio Tarver back in June 2006.
"I’ll take whoever. I don’t care," said Jones. "If the fans want to see a certain fight I’ll go wherever I’ve got to go to make it happen."

Jones said he was planning to catch a flight with King to Wales to try to make Calzaghe-Jones come to fruition but that fight seems an impossibilty for the time being as Hopkins beat Trinidad to the punch once again.



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