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April 30, 2004
Move fast and keep a sharp pencil.
That's actually advice for taking the SATs. It might as well be instruction for reporters trying to follow the comeback trail of Felix "Tito" Trinidad.
From Bernard Hopkins to Oscar De la Hoya to Shane Mosley to Winky Wright. Don King brought us around full circle last week to make it official: Trinidad (41-1-0, 34 KO) will step into the ring Oct. 2 versus Ricardo Mayorga.
Huh? The same Ricardo Mayorga who deliberately didn't make weight on the Ruiz-Oquendo card to not have to fight WBA welterweight champion Jose "El Gallo" Rivera? The same cigar-smoking Ricardo Mayorga (27-4-0, 23 KO) who is more pomp than circumstance?
The two are set to fight at 160 with the venue yet to be determined. Mayorga has twice beaten Vernon Forrest and won a 10-round decision two weeks ago in New York over Eric Mitchell, Don King's stand-in for Rivera.
Trinidad will get a guaranteed $10 million for the fight from King, according to Trinidad Sr.
So you want to dip your toes in the lovely Caribbean but still can't get scenes from Jaws out of your head? Consider Puerto Rico, it might be the safest place in the world to go swimming right now.
It's not for lack of sharks. On the contrary, island fishermen say plenty of them patrol Puerto Rico's waters several miles out thanks to the tasty garbage and raw sewage snacks regularly dumped there. What makes Puerto Rico's waters so safe is the Department of Natural Resources' stricter insurance policy requirements for aquatic events.
Back in 1987 when Rincon played host to the World Amateur Surfing Championships, the water was free. Now, fearing litigation, the DNR requires the surfers and those promoting other organized aquatic activities to get not only a permit but more than a million dollars in insurance policies the DNR says will protect them and event producers from unwanted lawsuits.
Producers like Luly Lopez, who lacked the necessary insurance last week and was prohibited from using the ocean during the Isla Verde Triathlon, say the new rules will beach organized aquatic sports. Lopez and other event producers say the added insurance over and above the $1 million general liability is prohibitive and redundant.
DNR undersecretary Alberto Lazaro disagrees. He says the rules make the water safer and protect both his agency and the producers.
Insurance agent Joanna Ramos says all the insurance in the world won't keep you out of court if a swimmer drowns during your triathlon.
"It's the general liability that will cover your medical costs," said Ramos. "It's always better to have too much insurance than too little. But no matter how much you have there is no guarantee you won't get sued."
Triathlon producer Mitch Fraser, who puts on the Subaru series in Canada, and Tom Guthrie, who organizes the St. Croix Triathlon set for this weekend in the Virgin Islands, say their insurance policies would not be up to the DNR's snuff. Yet they say they don't fear litigation.
"I'm in my 18th year [organizing triathlons] and have had no lawsuits. Triathletes are a more demographically stable bunch. They are not looking to sue," said Fraser. "People in the insurance business are always looking to capitalize on that fear that you need more insurance so they can sell you more."
Puerto Rico swim team coach Fernando Delgado said the only sharks Puerto Rico had to worry about were the DNR officials.
"To me this is completely absurd. I can go alone to the beach tomorrow where there is no lifeguard and drown but I can't swim in an organized event where people are watching out for my safety," said Delgado. "We have been forced to cancel the federation's open water swim season because the federation doesn't carry that kind of insurance."
Delgado, who also coordinates aquatic events for the City of San Juan, says the open water swims like the Condado Lagoon crossing will also likely be cancelled.
"The City of San Juan has general liability but no accident policy," said Delgado. "This is something people should really be getting mad about. The one free area we have in Puerto Rico for recreation and the DNR wants to take it away. Why don't they get busy on something constructive instead, like cleaning up the raw sewage problems they have in the San Jose and Condado Lagoons?"
The Superior Basketball League fined the Arecibo Captains $5,000 and stripped them of the rights to host the 2004 All-Star game as a result of the melee during their game against the Ponce Lions last week at Arecibo's Manuel Iguina Coliseum.
SBL referees called the game with less than six seconds remaining and Ponce leading, 84-81. Ponce was awarded the victory after Arecibo fans began throwing everything from quarters to batteries to plastic water bottles on the court, injuring several players. Ponce player Joe Murray required three stitches in the back of his head after being struck by a thrown object.
The league further penalized the Captains by shutting them out of their own court for the next three games, which they will be forced to play on the road at Guaynabo's Mario "Quijote" Morales Coliseum. They will play Cayey there on May 1, Carolina on May 4 and Coamo on May 14, all in Guaynabo.
The All-Star game will be played May 15 in San German.
The league also warned co-franchise holder Regino Babilonia that further incidents would result in the league closing down the facility for the rest of the season.
The Lions players had to wait for the Arecibo municipal police to escort them out an hour after the game ended.
It was a game filled with tension from the start due to the presence of former Arecibo coach Manolo Cintron, who left the team a few weeks ago to coach the Ponce Lions.
"The worst thing is that a local radio show, hosted by the brother-in-law of co-franchise holder Regino Babilonia, urged fans to throw dimes and quarters on the court as a sign that Cintron sold out," said SBL tournament director Miguel Laborde.
Gabrielle Paese is the Assistant Sports Editor at the San Juan Star. She is the 2000 recipient of the Overseas Press Club's Rafael Pont Flores Award for excellence in sports reporting. Comments or suggestions? Contact Gabrielle at email@example.com.
Her Column, Puerto Rico Sports Beat, appears weekly in the Puerto Rico Herald.