‘Titans’ Set To Clash At The Garden

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 18, 2007

NEW YORK — The hype machine has already started and it’s only a matter of time before Roy Jones, Jr. (51-4, 38 KOs) and Felix Trinidad (42-2, 35 KOs) meet in what could be a dream match.

“Trinidad vs. Jones: Titans,” promoted by Don King Productions,” is scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 19, 2008 and will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 PM/ET.

This is a bout between two future Hall of Fame fighters considered to be amongst the top 5 best fighters in the world — Pound-for-Pound.

Trinidad has competed in more than 20 world title fights from welterweight to middleweight. “I’m coming to fight,” Trinidad said through an interpreter.

“This is the sport I love. I’m going to fight Roy Jones to show the world that I’m the best. I want to be recognized as a fighter who always fought the best.”

Jones, a former middleweight, super middleweight, light-heavyweight champion, became the first former middleweight champion in more than 100 years since Bob Fitzsimmons to win a world heavyweight title. Jones earned that distinction after having out-boxed John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title in March 2003.

Trinidad and Jones were supposed to have fought more than six years ago. There is still interest in having these two “Titans” meet, although Jones is now 38 and Trinidad will turn 35 in January.

Better late than never, I guess.

“Another big fight that should have happened a long time ago,” said Jones, who has defeated former undisputed world middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, but suffered two consecutive shock KO losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in 2004.

Jones, in the early 2000s, was the undisputed world light heavyweight champion. At one point he defeated every man that he has ever faced in the ring. Jones was set to meet Trinidad, the only fighter to have defeated three U.S. Olympic gold medalists — Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya, & David Reid.

Trinidad was an unbeaten three-division world champion. In 2001, “Tito” needed to surpass Hopkins in the World Middleweight Championship Series tournament finale to become the first undisputed world 160-pound champion since Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Instead, it was Hopkins who knocked out Trinidad in the twelfth round at Madison Square Garden to cement his legacy as the premiere middleweight of his time.

Trinidad would suffer a miserable 12-round decision loss to Winky Wright in May 2005 that ultimately led to his retirement. Trinidad has not fought since, but appears determined to prove that he can turn back the clock to prove that he is still one of the best fighters around today.

“I’m going back to the way I use to be,” Trinidad. “I’ll be 100% prepared for him and I will beat him.”

Madison Square Garden is Trinidad’s House

Madison Square Garden has been the site of Felix Trinidad’s most memorable and decisive performances. Trinidad, a national symbol of his native Puerto Rico, has always garnered an emotional lift from his Puerto Rican followers in New York.

“To hear everyone yell ‘Tito, Tito’ means a lot,” Trinidad said. “Everyone one would fill the place to watch me fight.”

Since his Garden debut, a demolition of Troy Waters (KO 1) in August 1997, Trinidad has been in the main event when he fought here. Trinidad’s February 1999 performance against Pernell Whitaker (W 12) was perhaps the most solid boxing performance of his career.

Trinidad’s fifth round knockout of William Joppy (May 2001) to win the WBA middleweight championship was one of Trinidad’s most destructive outings and Joppy hasn’t been the same fighter since.

His KO of Mayorga in October 2004 was a very resilient display of inner strength and determination. The Garden was also the site of Trinidad’s shocking knockout loss to Hopkins, two weeks after the 9-11-01 World Trade Center attacks.

Trinidad is 4-1, with 3 KOs in professional fights at The Garden.