This week’s open threads have focused on the wonderful accomplishments of Afro-Latinos. Today’s thread will highlight Felix Tito Trinidad.
Félix “Tito” Trinidad, Jr. (born January 10, 1973) is a retired Puerto Rican professional boxer, considered one of the best in Puerto Rico’s history.
Félix Trinidad was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, to Irma García and Félix Trinidad Senior. During his childhood the family moved to Cupey Alto, a subdivision of San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he grew up. His future wife, Sharon Santiago, lived in Cupey and first met Trinidad in the home of her neighborhood friend, a classmate of Trinidad’s.
After winning five National Amateur Championships in Puerto Rico, he debuted as a professional when he was 17. He won his first world championship when he defeated Maurice Blocker for the International Boxing Federation’s welterweight belt. Trinidad holds the record for second most welterweight title defenses (15). However, Trinidad holds the record for longest reign as Welterweight Champion, six years, eight months and fourteen days. During his career he fought Oscar De La Hoya winning the Lineal and World Boxing Council welterweight champion, Fernando Vargas in a unification fight where he won the International Boxing Federation’s light middleweight title, and William Joppy for the World Boxing Association’s middleweight championship. He lost to Bernard Hopkins by technical knockout and retired for the first time. Trinidad returned to action in a fight against Ricardo Mayorga and, following a fight against Winky Wright, retired a second time. In 2008, he returned to the ring to fight Roy Jones, losing the contest by unanimous decision. Subsequently, Trinidad entered a five-year hiatus without clarifying the status of his career.
Trinidad is frequently mentioned among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time by sports journalists and analysts, along with Wilfred Benítez,Wilfredo Gómez, Héctor “Macho” Camacho, and Carlos Ortíz.
Trinidad debuted as a professional on March 10, 1990, when he was 17 years old. The fight was against Angel Romero, another debuting boxer, in a contest that Trinidad won by knockout in the second round. In the beginning of his career he knocked out nine of his first 10 opponents. He then competed against more experienced boxers like Jake Rodriguez, whom he fought on December 6, 1991. Trinidad won the fight by unanimous decision but suffered an injury on his right hand. He was then inactive for five months while recovering from the injury.
Raul Gonzalez fought Felix Trinidad on May 3, 1992 in Cayey, Puerto Rico. This fight was the main event of the night. Both Gonzalez and Trinidad weighed in at 142 pounds. Gonzalez had a record of 8-2-3 with 5 KOs, while Trinidad had a record of 13-0 with 10 KOs. Gonzalez went down three times, and Trinidad took the victory in round four by TKO. Trinidad would add another victory by KO to his record and would now make it 14-0 with 11 KOs.
Trinidad defended his title for the next three years against several opponents, ranging from Hector Comacho to Oscar De La Hoya. Trinidad’s first fight in Las Vegas was against Héctor Camacho on January 29, 1994. He was cautious during the first rounds and received a cut over his left eye. In the third round he connected a solid combination that made Camacho change to a defensive stance. Throughout the fight Trinidad was on the offensive and won the fight by unanimous decision, in what was his first decision since he won the world championship. The scores awarded by the judges were 117–109, 116–110, and 119–106.
In 2000, Trinidad vacated the welterweight championships and moved to the junior middleweight division, in order to challenge the World Boxing Association’s champion David Reid. He spent the next year as a junior middleweight boxer and moved up to middleweight following his fight with Vargas, this time to participate in Don King’s middleweight unification tournament featuring IBF champion Bernard Hopkins, WBA champion William Joppy, and WBC champion Keith Holmes. After his fight with Bernard Hopkins, Trinidad announced his retirement in 2002.
In 2004 Trinidad announced his comeback and fought Richardo Mayorga and Winky Wright. He subsequently retired temporarily due to family issues. He made his second comeback in 2008 to fight Roy Jones Jr and lost. After this fight, Trinidad was inactive for almost two years, before announcing on October 14, 2009, that he was “between 95 and 98 percent sure (that he would) not do anything more within boxing”. During this timeframe, he made sporadic public appearances, attending boxing cards and participating in public activities, including a ceremony where Juan Manuel López and Iván Calderón received rings for five successful defenses of their world championships. Beginning in July 2009, Trinidad became involved with the World Wrestling Council, participating as a guest referee at their anniversary show.