A phrase I read more frequently when fighting pundits discuss the career of Oscar de la Hoya is that’he hasn’t defeated a great champion in his prime.’ it is a controversial statement to direct at a six division champion who is also the most financially successful non-heavyweight of modern times, having been concerned many of the finest fights of the last twenty years. I usually find such statements at least a little dubious, not the least because it is commonly the job of a columnist to stir the pot by making an arguable statement. However , the writers who make this claim are as acquainted with the important points of de la Hoya’s career as I am so I’ll not take the journey of reviewing de la Hoya’s past opponents. No one denigrates’Tito’ by pronouncing he never faced and defeated a great fighter in his prime, so we’ll take some instruction from his career.
Felix Trinidad caught his first welterweight international title in 1993, by knocking out Maurice Blocker in two rounds. He was only twenty years old. However , Blocker himself could barely be called a’great champion;’ he fought only twice more after Trinidad against non-descript opposition and then retired.
Campas would not win a world title until he moved up to 154lbs, at that time a weak division. Trinidad even toyed with moving up to 154 himself in those days, fighting an eliminator for the WBC belt held by Terry Norris in 1997.
However , by that time, Whittaker was extremely far past his game.
The Mega-Fight : Oscar de la Hoya
The gigantic September 1999 showdown with Oscar de la Hoya remains questionable to this day, with many commentators who are definitely not de la Hoya partisans saying that’the Golden Boy’ was robbedAs for de la Hoya’running,’ it was’Tito’ who came out of the fight with a busted up face and blood-stained trunks. Other writers simply say the fight was close and tough to score, which is fine, but then it hardly implies a defining statement in Trinidad’s career.
triumphant as a Junior Middleweight
Trinidad rode high after the de la Hoya fight. He then met Fernando Vargas, knocking out’El Feroz’ in the 12 th and final round in an explosive bout. However , was either Reid or Vargas really great champions? Reid definitely wasn’t. After Trinidad, he never got his career back on track and retired in obscurity.
Don King then set up the unification series for the middleweight title, including Felix Trinidad. That prepared the ground for the showdown with long-reigning IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins. Out boxed and roughed up,’Tito’ lost by 12 th round knockout.
When Felix Trinidad left the 154lbs division, the pieces were picked up by Ronald’Winky’ Wright, who went on to become the undisputed world champion at that weight. Wright moved up to 160lbs, and fought Trinidad in May 2005 for the legal right to challenge for the WBC middleweight title. The result was Trinidad’s second defeat, an embarrassing call loss.
Felix Trinidad has enjoyed a famous career, and deserves his reputation and legion of Puerto Rican fans. No one disagrees that when the day comes,’Tito’ will deserve his place in the hall of fame. it is beyond question that the only great fighter in his prime that Trinidad ever scored a win over was Oscar de la Hoya, and that win remains questionable and contested to this very day.
So what does this mean for Oscar de la Hoya, and all the critics who say Oscar’never beat a great fighter in his prime?’ Simply this : the more that you achieve, the more the critics try to tear you down.
For more information on the greates living boxer Felix Trinidad check out felixtrinidad.com