Trinidad and Mayorga set to go to war
By Rob Scott (September 29, 2004) 
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For the past two straight weeks we have been treated to contests that were filled with intrigue. Week one saw Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins successfully defend his middleweight championship against ‘The Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya. Week two saw Roy Jones Jr. make his first return to the ring since his shocking knockout loss to Antonio Tarver, as he challenged Glengoffe Johnson for his IBF light heavyweight title belt.

Those bouts brought about different curiosities that compelled us to tune in. Could Oscar pull off the impossible? Would we see the RJ of old? In the ninth rounds of both contests bombs were landed that answered all our questions. No, Oscar couldn’t pull off the upset, and instead of seeing the RJ of old, we just saw an old RJ. Hopkins played the cat and mouse game, eventually reaching into his arsenal and landing a left hand missile that crumbled its target. With a smothering battle plan from the opening bell, Glengoffe Johnson connected with a right hand that gave the illusion of the whistling sound of a bomb just before it reaches its mark. Once landed, it melted Roy Jones’ body as well as his hopes for a comeback.

The bombs of the last two weeks will pale in comparison to the fight that is to take place this week. This weekend war will be declared in Madison Square Garden as Puerto Rican legend and three-division world champion Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad, 41-1 (34), makes his much-anticipated return to the ring as he faces former welterweight champion from Nicaragua, Ricardo ‘El Matador’ Mayorga, 27-4 (23), in a middleweight showdown.

It’s been over two years since we last saw Felix Trinidad compete in a boxing ring. Trinidad announced his retirement in 2002 seemingly disinterested in the fight game after negotiations for a return bout with Bernard Hopkins broke down. With no more mountains to climb, Trinidad walked away from the sport to the astonishment of the fans and media alike. But like many who have laced up the gloves before him, Trinidad makes a return to the ring on October 2, 2004 in a quest to prove that he is still one of the best that the game has to offer. Ricardo Mayorga will beg to differ, as he will make his debut at middleweight to try and send Tito back into a permanent retirement.

The fights of the last two weeks both bring to mind modern day warfare. They were fights that were either fought from a distance or filled with one-sided offense. If the past bouts of Trinidad/Mayorga are any indication, this weeks clash promises to bring forth memories of the past when the word “Charge!” was heard and troops met head-on in a clash that left nothing but devastation. Which one of these fighters will be left standing?

Trinidad holds the record for the longest reign of any welterweight champion. He has held world titles in 3 different weight classes and in a 22-month span, he scored career-defining wins over Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya, David Reid and a classic over Fernando Vargas. With these and other accomplishments, Trinidad has a resume that runs longer than the Nile. The curious point is, with his lay-off, Tito may have had his waters run dry. Will he be able to perform on the level that he had before his abrupt, but short-lived, self-imposed exile? How much ring rust will be present?

Ricardo Mayorga made some people take notice when he won the WBA welterweight title on March 30, 2002 with a 5th round TKO over Andrew ‘Six Heads’ Lewis; but his star really rose ten months later on January 25, 2003, when he upset Vernon Forrest with a dramatic third round TKO to unify the WBC/WBA titles. This put the beer drinking, cigarette smoking Nicaraguan on the boxing map. In 3 short years Mayorga has established himself as a knockout puncher that goes all out in his pursuit to win. He has promised that his current problems in his native country won’t have an impact on his mission to seek, find and destroy.

With his hard hitting and unorthodox style, Mayorga does present a dangerous challenge to a fighter who hasn't competed in the length of time that Trinidad has been absent. For some, a two year lay-off would just require a little fine tuning or training that would be the equivalent to a drop of oil to deal with their rust. There are others that have rust that has been built up to the point where a whole oil well couldn’t bring the skills back to where they once were. Both are reported to be in great shape and each are convinced that past setbacks and inactivity won’t play a role in the outcome of this fight.

War has been declared; Madison Square Garden will be their battlefield and on October 2nd it will be just like the 4th of July.
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