The Legend of Felix Trinidad Continues TKOs Mayorga in Return

By Francis Walker
Updated: October 7, 2004

Felix Trinidad

Felix Trinidad

NEW YORK, NY—Mike Tyson was best known as the Baddest Man on the Planet. Evander Holyfield was highly regarded as a Warrior. Roy Jones, Jr. was the best fighter in the world, Pound-for-Pound. James Toney developed a reputation for putting his opponent’s “lights out.” Oscar De La Hoya is “The Golden Boy.”

Felix Trinidad never needed a nickname because his name spoke for itself.

Trinidad, like Tyson, is the best finisher in boxing with an 82% career-knockout percentage. Similar to Holyfield, was a warrior. Trinidad was able to put his opponent’s lights out the way Toney did. While Trinidad was never considered the best fighter in the world, he was always boxing’s grand champion. Trinidad never won an Olympic gold medal like De La Hoya, nor did Trinidad command De La Hoya-dollars.

Trinidad dominated weight classes from through middleweight divisions (147-160)before retiring after losing for the first time in his career on Sept. 29, 2001 to world middleweight champion, Bernard Hopkins.

Trinidad, after only a two-year retirement, returned to boxing on Oct. 2 with an emphatic eighth round TKO of former world welterweight champion Ricardo Mayorga (27-5, 23 KOs). There was no better setting for Trinidad (42-1, 35 KOs) to make his comeback than Madison Square Garden – the site of Trinidad’s many great fights.

Trinidad could not have returned at a better time. Just two weeks after Jones and De La Hoya suffered consecutive knockout losses, the 31-year-old native of Cupey Alto, Puerto Rico was next to step inside the ring. Trinidad challenged Mayorga, a wild two-fisted knockout artist who KO’d Vernon Forrest and Andrew Lewis to unify two pieces of the world welterweight title last year before losing a controversial decision to world welterweight title to Cory Spinks.

Mayorga came into the bout with a good chance to win. After all, Trinidad was KO’d in the last major fight of his career and some fighters never recover from a knockout loss (Meldrick Taylor, Roy Jones).

Trinidad returned with a vengeance as he engaged Mayorga in a slugfest. Mayorga landed some bombs and was credited with a knockdown in round three after Trinidad’s glove touched the mat. Mayorga appeared to running out of gas in round four.

At one point Mayorga taunted Trinidad, but that soon ended, as Mayorga’s eyes were nearly swollen shut. Trinidad scored three knockdowns in the eighth en route to an impressive TKO stoppage at the 2:39 mark.

Trinidad still has drawing power: Trinidad-Mayorga drew 17,046 fans and became the third-largest gate in history of the Garden gathering $4.6 million.

Trinidad, who earned $10 million for his non-title comeback fight, has put himself in a comfortable position. Trinidad could meet Hopkins in a rematch for the undisputed middleweight title. Trinidad could also challenge the winner of a rematch between undisputed junior middleweight champion Winky Wright and Shane Mosley in November.

There is also a rematch with De La Hoya, who these days only take big money fights.

Trinidad won a majority, split-decision over “The Golden Boy” in Sept. 1999. What was suppose to be the biggest world welterweight title fight since Leonard-Hearns I ended disappointingly when De La Hoya spoiled a thin lead on the judges scorecards by cruising away from Trinidad during the final four rounds of a fight De La Hoya was easily winning. Both men’s careers and possibly their places in history have changed since.

Trinidad a great fighter: Trinidad won his first world title in June 1993 when he knocked out Maurice Blocker to capture the IBF welterweight title. Trinidad defended the welterweight championship 15 times before 1999 ended.

At the turn of the new millennium (2000), Trinidad unified two-thirds of the junior middleweight title defeating IBF champion and 1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medal winner David Reid, along with Fernando Vargas in a dramatic slugfest which ended in a three-knockdown victory in the final round for Trinidad.

Trinidad did win 2000 Fighter of the year award.

Trinidad won a piece of the middleweight title by dethroning WBA champion, William Joppy in the fifth round in May 2001. The plan for Trinidad was to unify the world middleweight title before challenging Jones, Jr. in a dream fight. But Hopkins stopped Trinidad in the twelfth round to the surprise of many.

Trinidad is the only fighter to have defeated three Olympic gold medal winners, Reid, De La Hoya, and Pernell Whitaker.