A phrase I read more frequently when fighting pundits discuss the career of Oscar de la Hoya is that'he has never defeated a great champion in his prime.' it's a arguable statement to direct at a 6 division champion who is also the most financially successful non-heavyweight of modern times, having been involved many of the finest fights of the last twenty years. I always find such statements at least a little dubious, not the least as it is sometimes the job of a journalist to stir the pot by making a debatable statement. Also, it always seems the higher a man rises, the more some people will attempt to reject what he has accomplished. However , the writers who make this claim are as familiar with the important points of de la Hoya's career as i am , so I'll not take the path of reviewing de la Hoya's past opponents. Instead, I can examine the career of one of de la Hoya's previous rivals : Felix'Tito' Trinidad.
Felix Trinidad captured his first welterweight world title in 1993, by knocking out Maurice Blocker in two rounds. He was only twenty years old. However , Blocker himself could barely be called a'great champion;' he fought only twice more after Trinidad against non-descript opposition and then retired.
Trinidad was signed with Don King, who has a habit of only paying attention to fighters like Trinidad when he is not dominating his bread and butter, the heavyweight division. Campas wouldn't win an international title till he moved up to 154lbs, at that time a puny division. Trinidad even toyed with moving up to 154 himself in those days, fighting an eliminator for the WBC belt held by Terry Norris in 1997.
In February 1999, Trinidad fought Pernell Whittaker, winning a lopsided decision victory against the slick defensive master. by that time, Whittaker was extraordinarily far past his game.
The big September 1999 confrontation with Oscar de la Hoya remains questionable to this day, with many commentators who are definitely not de la Hoya partisans claiming that'the Golden Boy' was robbedAs for de la Hoya'running,' it was'Tito' who came out of the fight with a busted up face and blood-stained trunks. Other writers simply say the fight was close and hard to score, which is fine, but then it hardly implies a defining statement in Trinidad's career. At best, he got away with a particularly close, disputed win over a great fighter in his prime.
triumphant as a Junior Middleweight
Trinidad rode high after the de la Hoya fight. He then met Fernando Vargas, knocking out'El Feroz' in the 12 th and final round in an explosive bout. However , was either Reid or Vargas truly great champions? Reid definitely wasn't. After Trinidad, he never got his career back on track and quit in obscurity.
Don King then set up the unification series for the middleweight title, including Felix Trinidad. In May 2001, he challenged two-time WBA middleweight champ William Joppy in his first fight at 160lbs, knocking out Joppy at Madison Square Garden in five rounds. That prepared the ground for the clash with long-reigning IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins. Out boxed and roughed up,'Tito' lost by twelve th round knockout. When Felix Trinidad left the 154lbs division, the pieces were picked up by Ronald'Winky' Wright, who went on to become the undisputed world champion at that weight. Wright moved up to 160lbs, and fought Trinidad in May 2005 for a right to challenge for the WBC middleweight title. The result was Trinidad's second defeat, an embarrassing call loss.
Felix Trinidad has enjoyed a celebrated career, and deserves his reputation and legion of Puerto Rican fans. Nobody argues that when the day comes,'Tito' will merit his place in the hall of fame. However , it is beyond question that the sole great fighter in his prime that Trinidad ever scored a win over was Oscar de la Hoya, and that win remains controversial and contested to this very day.
So what does this mean for Oscar de la Hoya, and all the critics who say Oscar'never beat a great fighter in his prime?' Simply this : the more that you achieve, the more the critics try to tear you down.
For more information on the greates living boxer Felix Trinidad check out felixtrinidad.com or
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