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PUERTO RICO HERALD
Trinidad Ready For May 11th Fight Versus Cherifi
By Gabrielle Paese
April 12, 2002
Copyright © 2002 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.
On May 11, Félix "Tito" Trinidad will face former World Boxing Council middleweight champion Hacine Cherifi at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in an effort to prove his first career loss last September was a fluke.
Trinidad's father/trainer Félix Trinidad Sr. says his son is more than ready.
"Tito is 100 percent ready. It's just a question of maintaining his top form from now until the night of the fight," said Trinidad Sr. during a sparring session at the Wilfredo Gómez gym in Guaynabo last week. "Tito's almost at fighting weight. He's working hard and right now he's in his best shape ever."
The five-time world champion will be fighting for the first time in Puerto Rico in three years. Trinidad (40-1, 33 KOs) was undefeated and had earned world championships in three weight classes before coming up against Hopkins at Madison Square Garden last Sept. 29. That bout was for the undisputed middleweight world championship. Hopkins TKOed Trinidad in the 12th round to take Trinidad's World Boxing Association 160-pound crown.
Cherifi (32-5-1, 20 KOs), a native of France, defeated Keith Holmes to win the WBC middleweight title in 1998, but gave it back to Holmes in a rematch the following year.
He earned another title shot after four straight victories, but was defeated by WBA champion William Joppy in May of 2000.
Cherifi, 35, lost to Harry Simon in his last outing on July 21, 2001 held in Puerto Rico as part of the Daniel Santos-Antonio Margarito bout in Bayamón.
"Cherifi is strong and knows how to take punches," said Trinidad Sr. "But Tito is going to win the fight, either by knockout or by decision."
The Trinidads are already talking about a rematch with Hopkins as early as September. Oscar De La Hoya could also be in the panorama, although the Trinidads deny it.
In a media conference call last week, De La Hoya said he would consider a rematch with Trinidad or Shane Mosley after his fight with Fernando Vargas. The fight, originally scheduled for May 4, was postponed after De La Hoya injured his hand. The bout has yet to be rescheduled.
"If I were De La Hoya, I'd concentrate on Vargas. He has to beat Vargas first and then he can start talking about another fight," said Trinidad Sr.
"We would like to have a world title bout this year. We'd like to fight Hopkins, but if he's not available, we'll find another rival," said Trinidad Sr.
The May 11 fight will be featured on HBO beginning with the undercard at 9:30 p.m. Randall Bailey faces Diosbelys Hurtado for the WBA 140-pound championship on the undercard.
Trinidad Sr. thumbs his nose at Puerto Rico Boxing Commission
Once upon a time just one entity ruled boxing. Back then, there was only one "Heavyweight champion of the world."
These days boxing champions span the entire alphabet. You've got your IBF, your WBC, your WBO, your WBA to name the biggies. Dig a little deeper and you find the NABO, the IBO, the WBU and the IBC.
As if there already weren't enough boxing organizations in the free world, Félix Trinidad Sr., father/trainer of former WBA middleweight champion Félix "Tito" Trinidad had to go an add some more letters to the soup last week.
Trinidad Sr. was elected vice president of the newly formed Puerto Rico Professional Boxing Federation (PRPBF) during the organization's first elections held last Monday.
The Federation purports to help boxers, trainers, managers and promoters.
Why does Puerto Rico need a Boxing Federation?
It doesn't. The island already has a government-backed Puerto Rico Professional Boxing Commission (PRPBC) that is supposed to help boxers, trainers, managers and promoters.
However, it's no secret that Trinidad Sr. has been at war with the Commission ever since it named John Ruiz as Boxer of the Year, thus ignoring Trinidad's son, "Tito," and Trinidad's own heavyweight boxer, Fres Oquendo.
Just one week before Trinidad formed the Federation, he launched a new attack on the Commission, accusing Commissioner José "Toto" Peñagarícano of following random criteria in naming Ruiz Boxer of the Year for 2001.
Because Peñagarícano and the Commission have stood their ground before the Trinidads, Trinidad Sr. have found another sandbox to play in.
The P.R. Professional Boxing Federation is it. Last week, the few interested who showed up for the elections, voted former P.R. [amateur] Boxing Federation president Angel Maldonado as president. Trinidad Sr. is the new vice president and son, "Tito," is one of the at-large members.
Maldonado said he sees the entity functioning like a player's union.
I wouldn't be so sure. The baseball and basketball player's associations are unions formed by players to protect the interests of players. The only time you'll see an owner, manager or promoter at a player's association meeting is on the other side of the table in salary or arbitration discussions.
Maldonado's Professional Boxing Federation, on the other hand, is nothing more than a thinly veiled vehicle for Trinidad to hold his own annual awards ceremony and reward his own stable of boxers.
Gabrielle Paese is the Assistant Sports Editor at the San Juan Star. She is the most recent recipient of the Overseas Press Club's Rafael Pont Flores Award for excellence in sports reporting. Comments or suggestions? Contact Gabrielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her Column, Puerto Rico Sports Beat, appears weekly in the Puerto Rico Herald.