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Articles of 2005

Papa and Tito Trinidad Gang Up on Winky Wright

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Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Papa Trinidad recently met with the press. Below is some of what they said.

What do you think about weighing in on dame day as fight?

Papa: I think it’s not healthy for fighters to weigh in on the same day as their fight. A lot of fighters get dehydrated to make weight. So you need the 24 hours in order to be in better condition to fight.  It’s up to the fighter, and yes, he can jump up twenty pounds if he wants to. But it makes no difference. The most important thing is for the fighter to make weight on the day he has to. It’s up to each person’s body to see how much more weight they need or can gain. After the weigh-in it is not a matter of how much more you gain, but is up to your metabolism.

Can you compare Winky’s style to previous fights?

Papa:  His stance is different than other fighter we have faced in the past and we cannot compare his style. 

Can you explain thoughts going into fighting Winky?

Papa:  We didn’t base it on his style. We just want to fight the best. Winky is at the top of the world’s boxing elite. He had challenged Tito in the past. Tito has enough tools to defeat any fighter at this point of his career. Now we have Winky Wright in front of us and we don’t make any observations based on the styles of the fighters that we pick and choose. We’ve always been happy to fight the best in the world and that’s what we want to do.

What makes you think you will beat him?

Papa:  We are not basing any of our training or preparations on Winky’s weaknesses. We are basing the entire camp on his potential: Working on his boxing techniques; working on his power punching; utilizing all of his power and his boxing ability that he has always had. Winky’s weaknesses will not be a factor in training, just Tito’s potential that he has had in the past.

Tito:  Winky has been willing to fight me and that’s what I want to do. I want to fight the best guys out there that are willing to fight me.

What were Papa’s thoughts when Tito told him he wanted to come back and fight again?

Papa:  My reaction wasn’t really that of surprise. I the back of my mind I knew that there was the possibility that he would come back. His fans were always pushing him and everyone was asking for him to return to the ring. When he decided to come back to boxing I went along with the idea and told him I would help him as I always did in the past.

Birmingham said he found the formula De La Hoya and Hopkins used to beat him.

Papa:  We have also seen a lot of tapes of Winky’s fights against Vargas and Shane Mosley, but the main thing for us is to get Tito’s potential to come out in the ring and see that he is 100% ready for this fight. The quality of the great champion will come out as it did in other big fights.

There is a rematch clause for Winky if he wins. Would you give him one if you win?

Papa:  If it is worth it to give him the rematch we will do so. We have no rematch clause in our contract but if it is worth it and it is a great fight, why not do it again?

If Winky sticks out his chin, what would you do?

Tito:  If Winky lowers his hands and he gives me his chin, I will give him the biggest punch of his life. If I have that opportunity, of course I will take it again . . . I have been training really, really hard and there is no difference than in my previous camps, so it’s basically the same thing. I have always trained to win the fight.  This is exactly what I did in the Mayorga fight. There is no big difference between that camp and this one.

Do you think Shane fought a better second fight?

Tito:  I think in the second fight Shane Mosley did much better because it seemed as though he had more desire to win that fight. Obviously Winky Wright pressed on in the later rounds to win but Shane had much more desire to win. 

Who has Tito been preparing with that has Winky’s power?

Papa:  We have quite a few sparring partners that we have been working with but of course they cannot match Winky’s ability but let’s not forget that Tito has faced six southpaws in his career and this won’t be the exception. He beat all of those six guys and this shouldn’t be any different.

Have you seen what you can exploit in Winky?

Papa:  I want to make this clear. This fight will not be won because of somebody’s inability to do something or a particular weakness. Winky is a great champion and he has proven himself at 154 pounds. We are much superior than Winky and that’s what we’ll prove on May 14.

Do you think Winky is prepared for you?

Tito:  I think in the back of his mind he has an idea of how hard I can hit. To tell you the truth, he probably doesn’t want to get to May 14th, because he probably afraid of what I can do in the ring. But he already signed the contract and he cannot back out of it and he will se how much punching power I have that day.

Has Tito seen another opponent be psyched out by all of his fans?

Tito:  I don’t think it will matter that the people will be behind me in this fight as much as the other fights. First of all, Winky is a very experienced fighter and has fought all over the world and that shouldn’t be an issue. It is not going to be the people chanting or the people behind me that will get him all psyched out.  It will be me.

How long does it take in a fight to pick out deficiencies once the fight starts?

Papa:  That is extremely hard to predict. It comes within the fight. It could be the first round and it could be later. It is just a matter of being there and seeing what is going on in the ring.

Do you feel Winky is in the same class as Hopkins, de la Hoya and Whitaker?

Tito:  Obviously he is and that’s why he is champion at 154-pounds. There is no question about that.

Winky said there was an issue with hand wraps and will be very cautious as well.

Papa:  They have a right to see how we wrap Tito’s hands. We’ll do the same, supervising how they do their job wrapping Winky’s hands and we’ll both do the same thing.

What concerns you most about Winky?

Tito:  I don’t want to take anything away from Winky Wright or be disrespectful to him but I have no worries about what he will do. I have no concerns about that and I’m not thinking about that. I only know that he will be in great condition and he will come to fight.

Do you try to take advantage during the fight?

Papa:  It comes with the fight just like my father said. Of course it could happen in the first round or it could happen later. If I have the opportunity to finish an opponent I will finish him right away. If I see that Winky Wright is not up to par with me, I will definitely take him out.

What was it like when he came back and he was in the ring listening to his fans?

Tito:  It was one of the most exciting times of my life, just to hear the fans chanting “Tito, Tito,” when I stepped up into the ring. The only way I knew how to pay them back was to give them every single round and give the best performance that I could ever put together.  It was kind of hard to describe, to go back into the ring and hear my name and to hear people screaming for him.

Winky is known to have a pretty good chin, what is the plan?

Tito:  It is just a matter of conditioning really. I always prepare for twelve rounds and this is the same case for this fight. I prepare for twelve and of course if I can knock him out and I’ll go along until I get that victory.

Are there any stipulations on gloves?

Papa:  They haven’t decided on what gloves he will be wearing for the fight, color or brand, but that will be decided later.

Winky said you beat a blown up welterweight in Mayorga.

Tito:  It doesn’t really matter if you think about it. Mayorga was not a welterweight any more and I gave him the beating of his life and nobody can question that. That was the end result and we already went through that. I knocked him out and that is that.

Birmingham said this is just another fight for them.

Papa:  I can interpret that as saying it will be another loss for Winky Wright and of course they will say whatever they have to say but never underestimate the power and the quality of Tito the champion . . .  Watch the show from the very beginning because it may end very early.

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More

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A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at TheSweetScience.com)

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06

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Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights

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Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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