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A bruised and broken fighter, Trinidad retires
In the wake of his middleweight loss to Winky Wright, ex-champ hangs up his gloves for a second time.
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published May 17, 2005
After watching St. Petersburg's Winky Wright deliver what might be the most devastating right jab in all of boxing over and over again, and after watching the impenetrable defense, and after witnessing up close the most lopsided megafight in recent memory, one big-name, big-money fighter already has determined ducking Wright is the way to go.
His name? Felix "Tito" Trinidad.
The pride of Puerto Rico wasted little time retiring upon his return home, telling reporters Sunday night at the Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan he was finished.
Trinidad, 32, announced his decision shortly after his father and trainer, Felix Trinidad Sr., said he was quitting.
"If you aren't here, I'm not continuing in boxing," he told the Associated Press before tearfully embracing his father.
"My father told me at Miami airport what he was going to do, and I reminded him that since I was a kid I told him that the day my father could not be at my side, I would not throw another blow."
The rematch Trinidad really wanted was with Bernard Hopkins, who handed him his only other loss in 2001. Wright now appears to be the likely opponent for Hopkins on his 2005 retirement tour, provided the undisputed middleweight champion beats Jermain Taylor on July 16.
Though they never came to a signed deal, Hopkins and Wright have flirted with fighting each other and appeared headed that way two years ago before Shane Mosley entered the picture.
Another fight with Trinidad would have been Wright's biggest payday - he made $4-million Saturday and would have gotten almost double for the rematch - but now he will sit back and wait.
Wright (49-3) was so sure he would dominate Trinidad in their 12-round middleweight bout that he tried to persuade Trinidad not to retire. Before they fought.
"I'm a little surprised he retired, but I knew he might," Wright's trainer, Dan Birmingham, said. "That's why Winky kept telling him, "Now don't you go retiring. I want my rematch.' He knew that was a $10-million fight."
Wright landed 262 punches to Trinidad's 58 in their 160-pound showdown, broke his nose in the second round and won every round on one judges card and 11 of 12 on the others.
Trinidad, a former champion in three divisions, skipped the postfight news conference, where Wright talked up a second meeting between the two.
"It didn't surprise me," Wright's promoter, Gary Shaw, said. "Tito didn't come to the press conference, and that was my first indication that Tito was going to retire. I believe he was embarrassed in the ring. That's the first time I remember in boxing history between two A-plus fighters that one pitched a shutout. Vegas couldn't have even posted odds that Winky would win every round and have it be believable."
Trinidad came out of retirement once before, ending a 29-month absence from the ring to beat Ricardo Mayorga and set up Saturday's fight, and Shaw said he expected Don King to try to convince Trinidad to do it again.
Since Wright beat Mosley twice and Hopkins knocked out Oscar De La Hoya, the 154-pound division no longer is the hottest in boxing. Wright could return to junior middleweight and fight champs Kassim Ouma or Daniel Santos (who recently signed with King), but Hopkins or Taylor is where the pay-for-view money is.
A few weeks ago, the 40-year-old Hopkins said he wanted to fight three more PPVs then retire. Trinidad, along with Taylor and Glen Johnson, were on his list.
Wright, 33, is ready to step in.
"We'd love to fight either one of them, but we hope it's Bernard," Birmingham said.