By Mike Indri
Retired Boxers Foundation
NEW YORK Madison Square Garden was not nearly as filled as had been expected; quite possibly even the most ardent supporter of legendary five-time World Champion Felix “Tito” Trinidad knew the obvious. Their Puerto Rican boxing hero, who had not fought since getting thoroughly dominated nearly three years ago in his embarrassing 12 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Ronald “Winky” Wright, was bought out of retirement (for the not so embarrassing price of 9 million dollars) to face a bigger, stronger and faster fighter in Roy Jones, Jr.
While Trinidad tried as best he could, fighting at his heaviest weight ever only slowed him down. From the early rounds it was clear that Jones was able to handle Trinidad’s biggest punches, while Tito was not able to take Roy’s.
Jones methodically began controlling the action, besting Tito jab for jab, body shot for body shot - essentially beating Trinidad “mentally” before he began his physical beating of the former boxing superstar who defeated Oscar De La Hoya, and destroyed Fernando Vargas.
While the crowd was rooting for Tito, by round three or four the “Roy-Roy-Roy” chants were growing louder. By the time Jones dropped Trinidad with his first knockdown of the fight in round seven the “Tito - Tito” chants were silent and the bongo drums had stopped. It was all over.
Being the one-dimensional fighter as he is, Trinidad still came forward and was getting beaten like the smaller kid at the schoolyard.
Trinidad was getting hurt more often, and Jones was now enjoying his “coming back party.” Tito reverted to backing up and throwing meaningless punches, which simply delayed the inevitable. A quick, snapping left jab, following by a grazing right dropped the wounded Puerto Rican fighter as Jones shuffled, danced and pranced like the untouchable former great champion we were all so used to seeing, especially as HBO’s premier boxer.
Trinidad summoned all his heart and managed to survive the one-sided affair on his feet. The 12,162 fans that were crazily cheering for their hero did not even wait for the three judges’ scorecards to be read. It was solely academic as Michael Buffer announced the 117-109 and two 116-110’s for Roy Jones; there would be no rumble tonight.
Jones can now be included with Bernard Hopkins, and the aforementioned Wright as the fighters to have beaten Trinidad, who also has 42 wins to his credit; 35 by knockout. With the career enhancing victory, Jones improves to 52-4 (38 KO’s) and now is looking to fight “anyone - anytime.” Let’s just hope the next one is a fair fight!
In the night’s co-feature bout heavyweight contender Andrew Golota made like Arturo Gatti and fought twelve rounds of no holds barred, old school, back in the alley-type fighting.
With his left eye bruised and grotesquely closed shut since the sixth round, Andrew Golota sucked it up and took control of a fight against a confident, up and coming Mike Mollo; twelve years his junior. Practically an even fight after eight rounds, Golota withstood a heavy-handed pounding from the twenty-eight year fighter nicknamed “Merciless” and hurt his fellow Chicago neighbor with several big right hands in round nine, which had Mollo holding on to survive. Continuing the assault in the tenth, Golota landed a left hook, and how Mollo was able to wobble back to his corner amazed the exhilarated crowd.
How Mollo ever finished the bout on his feet is truly a testament to the heart and fortitude of this young hopeful, who definitely gained more than he lost in defeat this night. With the spectacular win Golota improved to 41-6-1 (33 KO’s).