Trinidad tries to become undisputed middleweight champ

It's been a long time since we've had an undisputed middleweight champion, but we will after Saturday night's unification title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

That's because Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins square off in a scheduled 12-round title fight that will give the winner all three major title belts as we get the first clear middleweight champion since the days of Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

It all began in April when the top four middleweights agreed to compete for the undisputed title.

First fight was when Hopkins outpointed Keith Holmes to add the WBC belt to his IBF belt. One month later, Trinidad knocked out WBA champ William Joppy to capture that title and set up Saturday's big fight.

Trinidad (40-0, 33 KOs) is a 4-1 favorite over Hopkins (39-2-1, 28 KOs) who is listed at +3-1. Both boxers say they are ready for the fight of their lives.

"I expect him to do anything he can to win," Hopkins said in a pre-fight press conference. "If he wants to take it into the alley, I can do that or I can outbox and outslug him if that's what I need to do to win ... I'll hit him so hard ... I can bring more to the table than he can and I will knock him out!"

Trinidad, who many think intentionally fouled Fernando Vargas with a low blow after Trinidad was knocked down by Vargas in their war last December, says he is ready for "The Executioner" which is Hopkins' nickname.

"I am prepared to do whatever it takes to win," Trinidad said through an interpreter. "I will be ready for whatever he brings into the ring ... This fight is business and I will take care of business!"

The fight is on pay-per-view TV Saturday and will be shown the following weekend on HBO. It all starts at 6 p.m.

As for predicting the winner, I like Hopkins at the price. I believe this should be a pick-it fight or Trinidad should be a slight favorite and Hopkins has a shot at that price.

However, it looks to me like Trinidad is more determined and focused for this fight and he will likely win by knockout after a rough couple of rounds.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Trinidad down a time or two before he finishes off Hopkins and a Hopkins win wouldn't not surprise me or anyone else, but for the record, I'll say Trinidad in four or less rounds.

And while we may have an undisputed middleweight champion, after all is said and done, it won't last long. That's because the new champion, when he signs to defend his title against one of the alphabet groups (IBF, WBA or WBC) No. 1 contenders, That's when the other organizations will strip him of their title because he didn't defend against their No. 1 guy and we'll soon have multiple champions once again ... Oh, did I mention this is a Don King promoted fight and he controls both boxers? Well, just read between the lines.

-- We've got some live fights of our own taking place right here in Carson City Saturday at the Nevada National Guard Armory gym.

That's when the non-profit Carson City Boxing Club hosts a 12- to 15-bout amateur card.

"The fights start at 3:30 p.m.," CCBC head coach Frank Peralta said. "Admission is free and donations are being accepted at the door. The proceeds will go to benefit our travel and equipment fund."

Peralta added that he has Sergio Orantes and Jose Alvarado from his club "set to fight" and Peralta hopes to get one or two other CCBC fighters matched as he is still putting together fights.

"In addition to Northern Nevada fighters on the card, the Stockton (Calif.) team is sending fighters and it should be a great fight card," he noted.

Vic Bruno of Bruno's Boxing Club in Carson City says he'll have three fighters on the card.

"We'll have Chuey Elizondo, Bogue Parra and Santo Bruno fighting," Vic said. "They are ready to fight and I'm expecting good fights from them."

The card is sanctioned by USA Boxing of Nevada. Carson City's Norm Budden is chief of officials and will also referee on the card.

-- Speaking of Budden, he was one of the referees who worked the big fight card last Saturday night at Lawlor Events Center in Reno. Norm worked two fights, including the WBO flyweight title fight between Fernando Montiel and Jose Lopez.

The Lawlor card was a good one. All the fights were exciting or quick and the two feature fights were very good. HBO showed those fights and in the first, Russian cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov defended his IBF title against challenger Julian Letterlough.

Jirov, 30-0, 27 KOs) won every round before stopping the game Letterlough ((17-2-1, 16 KOs) in round eight.

The main event saw Marco Antonio Barrera (54-3, 39 KOs) take apart Enrique Sanchez (28-2-2, 23 KOs) before Sanchez and his corner called it a day at the end of round six of their featherweight fight.

Former Carson City amateur Dwayne Pope made his pro debut on the card and he was way overmatched against Kelson Pinto (5-0, 5 KOs) in their junior welterweight fight.

Pope was knocked silly by Pinto at the 2:14 mark of round one in a fight Pope was never in and shouldn't have fought as this was a very tough opponent to take on in your first pro fight.

As a result of his devastating knockout loss, the Nevada State Athletic Commission immediately suspended Dwayne for 60 days with no contact allowed for the next 45 days.

In addition to that, because of the severity of the knockout, the commission ordered Pope to have a CAT-SCAN and be cleared by a doctor before being allowed to fight again.

Carson City boxing judges Keith Macdonald and John McSweeney and Gardnerville's Doug Tucker worked the card.

-- Sugar Ray Leonard promoted his second boxing card for the ESPN2 Friday night fights and in the main event, O'Neil Bell stopped Art Williams in round 11 to successfully defend his NABF cruiserweight title in a good fight.

Sugar ray was ringside and did an interview for ESPN2 live as well as sign autographs for fans and he was having a good time at the card, which began late after the baseball game ended.

This Friday ESPN2 returns to its normal starting time of 6 p.m.

-- Bad numbers again for the Mills Lane promoted card at Harrah's Reno last month. They drew only 351 in paid admissions and the gate was $10, 755. That card had Carson's Miguel Ruiz in the main event. He was stopped in round two, if you forgot ...

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.


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