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Trinidad Begins Road To Middleweight Title
April 8, 2001
Felix "Tito" Trinidad demonstrated he was the best welterweight boxer in the world. He also proved he was the best junior middleweight. Now, he's ready to become the best pound-for-pound middleweight champion in the world.
Trinidad won the International Boxing Federation welterweight title by beating Maurice Blocker in 1993. He then defeated David Reid last year to win the World Boxing Association junior middleweight crown. Then, he unified the title with Fernando Vargas' IBF, whom he knocked out in December in the 12th round.
Now, he's ready to step in the middleweight division, but don't expect to see Trinidad Saturday, in the ring fighting for a world title. Instead, the Cupey Alto champion will attend the Bernand Hopkins-Keith Holmes bout at Madison Square Garden in New York.
"Yes, I'll be there. I have to because, from now on, I have to have all my concentration on these fighters because one of them will be my rival," said Trinidad, who traveled last Sunday to New York to attend a press conference with Hopkins, Holmes, and William Joppy.
"Obviously, first, it's Joppy. But I need to know more about Hopkins and Holmes, whoever wins that fight."
Trinidad was referring to a tournament created by promoter Don King to select the best middleweight champion of the world. On Saturday, in what would be a sort of semifinal, Holmes, the World Boxing Council middleweight champion, will fight Hopkins, who reigns as International Boxing Federation titlist.
In the other semifinal, Trinidad will battle Joppy, the World Boxing Association champion. That fight is set for May 12, also at New York's Madison Square Garden.
The winners then will fight in October, possibly in Las Vegas. In the end, there will be one boxer who will hold all three championship belts.
"I'm confident it will be me. I feel great in this [160-pound] division and there's no reason why I can't beat Joppy, and then whoever wins between Holmes and Hopkins," Trinidad said last week while working out at Casa Olimpica, his new site in Old San Juan.
"I'll keep training hard, although I would have liked to do all my workouts in Puerto Rico. However, I have to go to New York, and I will continue to train there."
On Monday, April 9, the four protagonists will train for the media. Trinidad was supposed to work out at 3 p.m.
Trinidad and his group, which includes his father Felix Trinidad Sr. and Juan Guzman, Dr. Bobby Muñoz Zayas, and speed and endurance trainer Cruz "Pensa" Rodríguez.
Trinidad also will attend the WBA convention slated for the weekend of April 13-15, where he will honored as the WBA's 2000 Fighter of the Year.
"We'll stay in New York until Sunday, April 15. We hope to be back in Puerto Rico on Monday and continue training there," said Trinidad Sr. "It's not only to watch the Holmes-Hopkins bout, but to be there with Nelson Dieppa."
Dieppa, a flyweight, will see action in the undercard, trueing to become Puerto Rico's fifth champion as he goes against Philippine Andy Tabanas for the World Boxing Organization title.
Dieppa would join Trinidad (WBA-IBF junior middleweight), Daniel Santos (WBO welterweight), Eric Morel (WBA flyweight), and John Ruiz (WBA heavyweight). It also should be a big fight for Dieppa because he hails from Vieques.
"I want to give Vieques a world championship in boxing," said Dieppa, who lost to Will Grisby last year for the WBO title. "I'm more experienced now, and I have seen Tabanas. I know I can beat him and bring another title to my two islands."
Trinidad Sr. also hopes to have three other boxers, Daniel Seda, Felix Flores, and Juan "Golo" Gómez, fighting for world titles before the end of the year. "I'm negotiating with Don King to see if we can have Flores fighting for the title on that same [May 12] card," Trinidad Sr. said.