De La Hoya vs Trinidad II: Only Super-Fight Left For Them

22.09.04 - By Frank Lotierzo - - In his last fight he was stopped by Undisputed Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins. No shame in that since Hopkins will retire as one of histories most accomplished Middleweight Champions. He's won a piece of the title in six weight divisions. On top of that, he's met the best fighters of his era and only lost once in a convincing fashion. And that was to a great fighter who has been a Champion for nine years. There is only one fight left for Oscar De La Hoya if he chooses to fight again.

In two weeks he fights a very rough and tough opponent who can really punch, after not fighting in over two years. He has won titles at Welterweight, Jr. Middleweight, and Middleweight. He also has fought the best of his era. And has only been beaten or stopped once, by Middleweight Champ Bernard Hopkins. There is nothing left for Felix Trinidad to really accomplish fighting as a Jr. Middleweight or Middleweight. And like his contemporary Oscar De La Hoya, he'll never be the Middleweight Champion as long as Hopkins holds the title. If Felix Trinidad beats Riardo Mayorga on October 2nd, the only fight for him that really is compelling is a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya.

Both De La Hoya and Trinidad have fought in one of Boxing's deepest weight divisions, 147-154, over the last seven or eight years. They are two of only a handful of fighters today who have fought the best available opposition throughout their career. On top of that, they fought each other while they were undefeated in the second biggest and most anticipated Welterweight title fight in history. How about the fact that their fight ended in a very controversial decision.
For the better part of the last seven or eight years, Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad have been the Marquee fighters between 147-154. No, I didn't forget Shane Mosley, Vernon Forrest, and Winky Wright. But those three fighters have not fought nearly as many upper-tier Welterweights and Jr. Middleweights as De La Hoya and Trinidad have. And De La Hoya and Trinidad fought for the Middleweight title twice.

Mosley, Forrest, and Wright are outstanding upper-tier fighters. But Mosley is known for beating De La Hoya, twice, but losing to Forrest twice and Wright. Wright's biggest win is over Mosley, and he lost to Fernando Vargas. Forrest is best known for beating Mosley twice, but he lost twice to Mayorga. If you're anything close to being objective, you can easily see that De La Hoya and Trinidad have fought a deeper list of top fighters than Mosley, Forrest, and Wright. I doubt anyone who follows Boxing closely would dispute that.

De La Hoya and Trinidad have some unfinished business with each other. It's been exactly five years since De La Hoya and Trinidad fought in the biggest Welterweight title fight since the Leonard-Hearns Welterweight unification bout in September of 1981.

When De La Hoya and Trinidad fought in September of 1999, they were both undefeated and held a piece of the Welterweight title. The fight between them ended in a controversial majority decision in favor of Trinidad. This fight is viewed differently depending on what fighter you're a bigger fan of. I would say of the conversations I've had with friends, fans, and writers, it's about 65/35 in favor of De La Hoya as to who won.

Personally, I scored it 7-5 De La Hoya. I thought he was up 7-2 after nine rounds and was making Trinidad look like an amateur for two thirds of the bout. Then for whatever reason De La Hoya stopped fighting after the ninth round. Either he really thought he was up and could coast, which no fighter should ever do, which opened the door for Trinidad as he took the last rounds. Or, Trinidad hurt De La Hoya somewhere in the ninth or tenth rounds and De La Hoya didn't want to take a chance of possibly being stopped?

I have absolutely no bias or favorite between De La Hoya and Trinidad, and respect them equally. But I thought De La Hoya had a shot to beat Trinidad by a late stoppage before their fight. That was because I thought a fight between them at 147 favored De La Hoya. Trinidad, before fighting De La Hoya weighed over 190 pounds, and I thought he may be dead at the weight if he made 147. Even after the fight I think them meeting at 147 favored De La Hoya. Regarding Trinidad, I think if they fight anywhere above 147, it favors him.

When it comes to who ranks higher between De La Hoya and Trinidad, it's very close. As to who is better between them head-to-head, I can't say with impunity. The record book says Trinidad, but I think De La Hoya was a little sharper and beat him when they fought. However, despite thinking De La Hoya deserved the decision, he didn't convince me that he was the better fighter and should be the perceived favorite if they fought again.

What options do they really have? Sure, De La Hoya can fight Wright or Forrest, but that won't be for the huge money that he's used to being paid. And the risk of losing to them is too great. De La Hoya has left his mark in Boxing, he's a definite hall-of-famer, and some may even consider him an all-time great. He's done about all he can in Boxing. Beating Trinidad in a rematch would be a great way for him to go out.

As for Trinidad, assuming he beats Mayorga, what's out there for him other than money? Trinidad also is a hall-of-famer an possible all time great. Like De La Hoya, he'll never be the legitimate Middleweight Champ as long as Hopkins is around. Tito's already won the Jr. Middleweight and Middleweight titles. Would a match with him against Wright, Forrest, or Mosley really break the bank? Hell No! But a rematch with De La Hoya would be a huge PPV event, and he'd be paid several million for it. And at the worst, if he lost, he'd still be 1-1 vs De La Hoya.

De La Hoya-Trinidad II is a huge fight. Neither one of them will be around much longer. Let's see who is really the better fighter and who should be ranked higher historically. I can't answer that question without splitting hairs. And either can anyone else. A rematch would more than likely settle it conclusively.

Who has had the more accomplished career? Who is the better fighter? De La Hoya or Trinidad?

Article posted on 22.09.2004

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