Hopkins-Trinidad 2 will always be 'What Could Have Been'
By Aaron Imholte (April 2, 2005) 
Photo © HBO-PPV
It seems to make perfect sense on paper. The returning contender with demons to exercise, the aging champion at the end of a magnificent career with nobody else left to fight and one more payday left to make.

The first time Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad met the result was the exact opposite of what Don King had planned. His middleweight tournament was nearing its end and his prize horse in Trinidad looked to be running away with it. Still left to beat, however was a workhorse ex-con who did not know the meaning of the words fail, give up, or quit.

It seemed to many boxing fans and experts that Trinidad would beat the same man that dropped a decision to boxing's pound for pound king Roy Jones Jr. 8 years prior. Hopkins though, had different plans. He and trainer Bouie Fischer had trained hard, as always and had prepared a strategy to capitalize on any weaknesses they saw in their biggest foe since Jones.

The result was the closest thing to a work of art boxing has seen since Ali graced the ring. Hopkins timed, blocked, countered, and battered the former weltwerweight and junior middleweight champion over 11 rounds winning almost every one of them before stopping a beaten and exhausted Trinidad in the twelfth round.

Their careers have taken different paths since then. Hopkins has went on to defend his title twenty times including a huge payday and victory over future hall of famer Oscar De La Hoya in nine rounds. Trinidad on the other hand played the role of George Foreman after Kinsasha Zaire. He became prisoner of that night and disappeared from the boxing scene for more than a year.

The Puerto Rican superhero made his return last fall when he assaulted and mercilessly whooped on former welterweight king Ricardo Mayorga. Now he is set to do battle with two time Shane Mosley conqueror Winky Wright.

Hopkins is has a challenge of his own coming up in July when he sets out to silence all those who believe his crown is ready to be snatched from him by young up and comer Jermain Taylor.

Now if these two greats are victorious in their upcoming bouts the only reasonable middleweight title fight seems to be a rematch between the two men that have played such a big part in each other's careers and lives. But I will guarantee you that this fight will never take place. I wish it weren't true, but it is, and I'll tell you why.

For starters Hopkins has been constantly expressing his desire to meet the winner of the Antonio Tarver-Glen Johnson rematch for the light heavyweight championship. He wants to try and accomplish something even Sugar Ray Robinson could not do, become middleweight and Light Heavyweight title holder. It is Hopkins quest for history that will keep him from squaring off against Tito, even though he has expressed a desire to do so. Plus Hopkins 41st birthday, the one he promised his mother he would retire at, will approach before a rematch can be made. Time is just no on their side.

Now to Trinidad. Regardless of what his harshest critics say he is not afraid of Bernard Hopkins. I truly believe that he wants to put the ghosts of 2001 away for good. But his managemet will just not let that happen. While Felix is not afraid of Bernard, Papa Trinidad and Don King are. Trinidad does truly care about his sons well being and does not want to see him get beaten like he did last time. Rest assured it broke his heart to have to throw in the towel on his own flesh and blood.

Don King, as always has underlying motives for not letting this fight happen. He already nearly lost his cash cow in the first fight and has no intentions of sending him in to possibly get beaten again and lose any money making draw power. Plus the mortal hatred King and Hopkins have for one another will make pulling off this fight without a co promotion from GBP very difficult.

It's too bad that a fight this meant to be will never happen. It would have been an epic war. Much closer than last time. But as Ali said, "Don't wait for that day it ain't never gonna happen. All you can do now is wonder and imagine."
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