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Recap of Roy Jones, Jr. vs. Felix Trinidad

HBO Boxing After Dark Recap

 

January19, 2008

Madison Square Garden New York City, New York

 

There was a last minute dispute between the boxer's camps over what gloves would be used for this match. Roy Jones, Jr. at the weigh-in said he wanted to use Grant gloves for this match, while Felix Trinidad said it was in the contract that the Puerto Rican boxer could insist on Everlast gloves. After a meeting Jones, Trinidad's father and a lawyer the morning of the match, it was decided that Everlast gloves will be used for this match.

 

Catch weight (170 pounds) 12-Round Match:

Roy Jones, Jr. (51-4, 38 KO's, 169.5 pounds) vs. Felix Trinidad (42-2, 35 KO's, 170 pounds)

Jones was an outstanding amateur boxer. Representing the United States in boxing at 156.5 pounds at 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Jones won the silver medal. Jones lost in the finals to a South Korean boxer, Si-Hun Park,in a hometown decision.The decision was sounpopular that the Olympic boxing scoring system was changed for the next Olympics. Park apologized to Jones for winning the decision, after being outlanded 86 total punches to 32 total punches and winning. The judges in the match that awarded the decision to the South Korean were suspended following the match. An International Olympic Committee (IOC) investigation 9 years later, in 1997, found out that the judges for the match had received favors that did not quite constitute bribesfrom South Korean officials prior to the match to render favorable decisions for South Korean boxers.

The Pensacola, Florida native'scareer began a run of domination in which he became ranked as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world startingon May 6, 1989. On December 12, 1992, Jones won his first championship at 160 pounds. After moving up in weight and capturing titles at 168 and 175 pounds, Jones lost his first pro match on March 12, 1997. The disqualification loss to Montell Griffin at the Ice Palace in Tampa, Florida in a defense of Jones' WBC Championship at 175 pounds, came when Jones struck Griffin twice on the ground following a knockdown in round 9. Griffin was losing badly on the scorecards at the time and had Jones not made the mental mistake of hitting Griffin on the ground a knockout was likely coming. Jones exercised his immediate rematch clause and on August 7, 1997 knocked out Griffin. In that match at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantuckett, Connecticut, Jones scored a knockdown in the first 20 seconds of the match. With 2:31 to go in round 1, Griffin was unable to answer referee Arthur Mercante's 10 count. Jones had decisively avenged his loss and regained his world championship.

Jones' most amazing victory came on March 1, 2003 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. That night via 12-round unanimous decision Jones won the WBA Heavyweight belt from champion John Ruiz. Jones officially weighed in for that match at 193 pounds, well below the cruiserweight limit (200 pounds). Ruiz tipped the scales officially at 225 pounds for that match. The victory made Jones the first person to begin their professional boxing career at 154 pounds and win the heavyweight championship, since 1897. That champion, Bob Fitzsimmons, was only the second heavyweight boxing champion in history to wear boxing gloves.

The Olympic silver medalist's next match would be back at 175 pounds, where he would win a controversialmajority decision over Antonio Tarver on November 8, 2003. In the immediate rematch on May 15, 2004, Tarver uttered the famed, "any excuses" line that has appeared in so many highlight reels during the prematch stare down. Tarver would give Jones his first truedefeat as a pro that nightat the Mandalay BayResort & Casino in Las, Vegas via round 2 technical knockout, 48 seconds into the round.

Jones would then take a rebuilding match against Glen Johnson on September 25, 2004 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. While leading on the scorecards 48 seconds into round 9, Jones was knocked out. He remained unconscious on the canvas (that in a poor piece of marketing was advertising Jones' new rap album)for a few minutes following the referee's count.

Following those losses and a 1 year layoff Jones was given another shot at Tarver on October 1, 2005 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. In that match, Tarver won an easy unanimous decision. In the post match interview an appearing past his prime Jones talked about still being one of the best in the world and building for bigger matches in the future.

After 2 rap albums, a stint as HBO commentator and 3 losses, Jones' focus has been drawn into question. Jones has quickly lost his status among the elite in boxing Jones has had to take his recent matches to small towns against meager opponents. His lone match in 2006 was a 12-round unanimous decision win over Prince Badi Ajamu on July 29, 2006 in Boise, Idaho at the Qwest Arena.

Jones' last match (and only one in 2007) wasa 12-round unanimous decision victory over Anthony Hanshaw on July 14, 2007 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi. In that match Jones won the vacant IBC Light HeavyweightChampionship. It is unclear if Jones has vacated that championship. However, that title is not at stake in this match.

Jones is unranked by The Ring magazine, but the number 6 ranked boxer at 175 pounds by boxrec.com.

Trinidadhad an outstanding amateur boxing career. He won Puerto Rican National Amateur Championships at 100, 112, 119, 126, and 132 pounds. However, rather then wait for the Olympics, Trinidad turned pro on March 10, 1990 with a round 2 knockout of Angel Romero in Miramar, Puerto Rico.

The resident of San Juan, Puerto Ricowould go on to become arguably the most loved boxer in the history of Puerto Rico. His win over Oscar de la Hoya on September 18, 1999 was the biggest selling non-heavyweight match on pay-per-view, prior to this year's de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. match. It did 1.4 million buy's.

Trinidadwould win his first 39 matches, picking up titles at 147 and 154 pounds, before moving up to 160 pounds. There Trinidad won a title in his first match, defeating Willliam Joppy on May 12, 2001 via technical knockout in Madison Square Garden. However, in Trinidad's next match he faced Bernard Hopkins and suffered his first loss. Trinidad lost via round 12 technical knockout to Hopkins on September 29, 2001 in the Garden. The resident of San Juan, Puerto Rico would return to San Juan for 1 more match, a round 4 technical knockout victory over Hacine Cherifi on May 11, 2002, then announce his retirement.

The beloved boxer thentook a nearly 29 month break from official competition in the ring, before returning to defeat Ricardo Mayorga on October 2, 2004 in the Garden via round 8 technical knockout. Since then, Trinidad has only been in the ring to compete 1 time. Trinidad's last match was a 12-round unanimous decision loss to Winky Wright on May 14, 2005 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. In that match at 160 pounds, Trinidad was dominated by Wright. Wright's impenetrable defensive and stiff jab frustrated Trinidad the entire match. Trinidad lost every round on 1 judge's scorecard, and won only 1 round on the other 2 judges' scorecards. Additionally, Trinidad was docked a point in round 9 for repeated low blows. By the end of the match, Trinidad's will to compete was gone, and he announced his retirement 2 days later on May 16, 2005. Trinidad has not had an official boxing match, since that time 20 months ago. There should be real concerns if Trinidad has that desire to compete at the highest level, anymore after the match with Wright where Trinidad looked like a beaten boxer. Those concerns should be heightened by the fact that Trinidad failed to make weight in his first attempts at the scales. Trinidad has never boxed officially above 160 pounds, and all of Trinidad's losses have been at 160 pounds. Additionally, Trinidad needed to take some extra time to sweat off the weight to come in at the weight limit of 170 pounds for this match. This raises extra questions about if Trinidad's heart is in the sport enough to train sufficiently for this match.

Trinidad is unranked by The Ring and due to the long layoff he is unranked at any weight class by boxrec.com.

Trinidadat 35-years-old is 4 years younger then the 39-year-old Jones. Both boxers are 5' 11" tall. Trinidad has the reach advantage with an arm length of 25" measured from the armpit toend of the fist, while Jones has a 24" arm length. Neither boxer's unofficial weights approaching match time are available.Both boxers will employ the orthodox stance.

The unified rules of boxing are in effect for this match. The referee isArthur Mercante, Jr. During replays HBO displays the official judges' scores after every round. These will be the scores listed in this recap after every round.

Trinidad starts round 1 attempting to go to the body of Jones. However, all of Trinidad's legal body punches are blocked or deflected and the Puerto Rican's punches are starting to go south of the belt line. Jones was dancing to taunt Trinidad's inability to find the former pound-for pound best at the bell, and Trinidad answered with a few late punches after the bell. Round 1was a lot of Jones making Trinidad miss, but doing nothing offensively. Based on aggression all 3 judges scored round 1 for Trinidad, 10-9. In round 2, Trinidad continues to hit Jones repeatedly below the belt. The referee has given Trinidad one light warning, but a few of the punches have had Jones wincing. By the end of round 2, Jones is moving much slower, and looking to be on offense. This appears to be a result of the consistent body work from Trinidad. All of the judges score round 2 for Trinidad, 10-9. Jones landed 7 punches in both rounds 1 and 2. Round 3 was Jones best of the match, so far. He was able to counter effectively and land good power punches through the middle of Trinidad's defense. However, Jones used dangerous taunting techniques to attempt to lure Trinidad into being countered. Jones was dropping his lead left hand to waist level, while having it extended in front of him. At the same time Jones was sticking his chin towards Trinidad, daring the Puerto Rican to take a chance. Trinidad did not go for the taunts, and end up countered that way. After round 3, Jones went to the referee to argue about something. One judge scores round 3 for Trinidad, 10-9. The other 2 judges give the round to Jones, 10-9. After 3 rounds, Trinidad leads on the official scorecards, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.

Joneshad predicted he would score a knockout in round 4. That appears unlikely.The Olympicsilver medalistlands a lot of clean punches in round 4, and wins the round on all of the judges' scorecards, 10-9. With 1:58 to go in round 5,twoleft hands from Trinidad to the cup of Jones havethe Pensacola, Florida nativewalking away in pain, and force the referee to come in to give Trinidad a severe warning for low blows. The clock did not stop running for Jones to walk it off. Theaction was resumed, following a Jones hip shake that drew a big laugh from the crowd, with 1:43 to go in the round. Jones spent the rest of the round, after action had resumed walking Trinidad backwards. However, Trinidad was throwing more punches going backwards, and all of the judges scored round 5 for Trinidad, 10-9. Trinidad was relentless working the body of Jones in round 6. At the end of the round though, Jones landed 11 clean power punches in the last minute to steala round he was probably going to lose. All of the judges scored round 6 for Jones, 10-9. After 6 rounds the on the official scorecards the match is a majority draw with Trinidad winning one scorecard, 58-56, and the other two even at 57-57 and57-57.

With 1:53 to go in round 7, Trinidad takes a knee on the canvas. Trinidad appears completely out of it and is wobbling on his knees on the ground behind the referee's back. Tinidad did not go down immediately following a punch, but as a very delayed reaction to a punch that was not visually impressive in real time.The resident of San Juansuccessfully answers the referee's count and the match resumes with 1:36 to go in the round.Trinidad is not all there when he stands up and in real danger of not finishing the round. Jones begins to go hard to finish Trinidad, but appears to gas out and take a break in the middle of the round. Without clinching Trinidad is able to finish the round standing. Jones wins round 7 on all of the judges' scorecards, 10-8. The punch that caused the knockdown was a short right hand to the side of Trinidad's head above the left ear, possibly aroundthe temple, that Trinidad never saw. In round 8, Trinidad throws more punches, but Jones lands more clean hard punches. Two judges scoreround 8for Jones, 10-9, while the other scores it for Trinidad, 10-9. Jones wins round 9 on all of the judges' scorecards, 10-9. Trinidad's punches have been losing power, since round 4 and are becoming more wild. The added size and time out of the ring are catching up with the Puerto Rican boxer making a comeback in this match unlikely. Jones leads on the official scorecards after 9 rounds, 86-84, 87-83, 86-84.

With 20 seconds to go in round 10, a straight right hand from Jones sends Trinidad to his backside. Trinidad appeared to be off balance when the punches hit him contributing to the knockdown.He quickly shakes it off and satisfactorily answers the referee's count. The action is resumed with 8 seconds to go in the round. Trinidad is able to last out the 8 seconds easily to make it back to his corner. Jones wins round 10 on all of the judges' scorecards, 10-8. Jones wins round 11 on all of the scorecards, 10-9. Jones cruises out round 12 and still wins it on all of the official scorecards, 10-9.

The official decision read by Michael Buffer is that the judges have scored the match: 116-110, 117-109, 116-110, all for the winner by unanimous, Roy Jones, Jr. The win moves Jones to 52-4 with 38 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

In The Ring magazine rankings following this match, Jones is now the number 7 contender at 175 pounds to its champion in the weight class Bernard Hopkins. This was a very good showing by Jones, but expect his next outing to be in Cardiff at 168 pounds versus Joe Calzaghe. That match might happen around October.

Trinidad looked much better then expected in this match. However, 170 pounds is far too heavy for him to compete at successfully. This is speculation, but de la Hoya has announced to do 3 matches in 2008 as a farewell. The May match for free on HBO. The September match versus Mayweather. Then de la Hoya wanted a December special farewell match. Trinidad would be the perfect opponent for that farewell match. It would allow de la Hoya to avenge a loss and draw a lot of money. As a guess, Trinidad is unlikely to be in a boxing ring, until de la Hoya names his opponent for the farewell match. It makes too much sense.

 

Stunningly, this match had a preliminary estimate of 500,000 PPV buy's in the United States, good for $25 million. This greatly exceeded expectations for a match the media hadharshly criticizedin advance, especially since advance ticket sales were weak. The promoters papered heavily to create a good looking crowd for television. The match was much better then expected and it was worth watching to see 2 legends. However, it is still 2 legends who are far below what they used to be.

Posted on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 10:58PM by Registered CommenterJereme in | Comments4 Comments | References13 References

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