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The Trinidad EffectBy Armando Alvarez
In the world of sports we sometimes encounter weird occurrences. Occurrences similar to the ones we see Robert Stack portray on Unsolved Mysteries.
Through the years we have seen some interesting ones, most notably is the well known "curse of the bambino" that looms over the Boston Red Sox franchise as a result of them selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. The Red Sox have not won since.
In boxing there is such a mystery going on. It takes place when a fighter, usually unbeaten, steps into the ring with a Puerto-Rican champion, loses the fight, and more times than not, their careers take a turn for the worst. I call it "The Trinidad effect."
It seems every time Trinidad beats an unbeaten, fierce opponent, they never recover from the loss. Sure Trinidad pounds on most of them like Rocky pounds on meat, but fighters have taken bigger beatings than the ones Trinidad has administered on his opponents and have come back to find the glory that was once present.
With Trinidad it seems to go deeper than that. Time after time we've seen this occur. So much that in my mind it goes beyond what is natural. It goes beyond combinations and knockouts. It is boxing's new mystery and as time passes by it becomes clearer and clearer that it is no joke.
It all started when Trinidad first became champ and defended the title against an up and coming Mexican fighter named Ramon "Yori Boy" Campas, who came into this bout undefeated. He had clobbered everyone in his path, thus having a tremendous knockout ratio. In the fight he had Trinidad on the ground, but later lost when Tito landed a barrage of unanswered, brutal shots that prompted referee Richard Steele to stop the bout and save Campas from decapitation. Afterward Campas would win a title at jr. middleweight by beating Raul Marquez, but the beatings he has taken after the Trinidad fight have been nothing to joke about.
Next we have Mr. K-Swiss, Oba Carr. Carr had an unblemished record when he fought the Puerto-Rican champion. Starting his career with Emanuel Steward at the famed Kronk Gym, Carr was surely to win a title someday. Well, it wasn't against Trinidad, and "The Trinidad effect" made sure he would never win a title in his career.
Trinidad got off the ground to beat Carr in an exciting bout. He then went on to fight for other belts against Ike Quartey and Oscar de la Hoya, but there loomed the curse, the effect over him. No titles for Carr and by the way, he recently was knocked out by Rafael Pineda.
The "Golden Boy" comes knocking at the door next in hopes that he would not fare as the others did. I could imagine Oscar de la Hoya telling himself that their is no curse and he'd do fine against Trinidad and thereafter. Like the others he was wrong.
Sure Trinidad's win over de la Hoya wasn't as convincing as fans would want it to be, but a win is a win. De la Hoya didn't mean to run, but did and therefore lost the bout. Could it have been fear of Tito that caused de la Hoya to run? Could it have been a bad strategy planned out for the later rounds, or was it simply...no it can't be...the Trinidad effect?
De la Hoya went on to beat Derrell Coley to win the WBC welterweight title, but then he lost it to "Sugar" Shane Mosley in his next bout. After that Oscar took some time off to do some singing as Trinidad replaced him as boxing's main attraction. If the effect didn't have anything to do with that one, I don't know what did.
Then come the junior middleweight casualties: David Reid and Fernando Vargas. Both are victims of the spell. Reid, who fought Trinidad in a competitive title fight last year when he was champion, has struggled in his career after losing his title to Trinidad. He had a difficult time against journeymen fighters, Kirino Garcia and Urbano Gurrola. In fact Reid was hurt in both fights and at times seemed would be put away by these opponents of lesser caliber.
Vargas also went through a similar scenario. Although I'll acknowledge that Wilfredo Rivera is a better fighter than the two whom Reid fought, there was no reason for Vargas to struggle against him.
Vargas, who Trinidad knocked out last December in a WBA and IBF title fight, was knocked down by Rivera this past Saturday and was later hurt by a body shot. If it had been an off balance shot we would not be talking about the situation right now, but the shot landed was a crisp right hand that decked the "Aztec Warrior" and had him in a very bad situation at the time. I seriously believe Rivera would've knocked him out had he jumped on him after the knockdown. He didn't and Vargas won, but some damage was done and now Vargas is viewed as vulnerable as ever.
Well maybe this "Trinidad effect" doesn't exist and the results of such events have been purely related to boxing and the skill the fighters involved in them. But as Trinidad comes into his bout against William Joppy this Saturday you think back on the fighters' careers and realize that there is evidence there that fighters whom Trinidad has beaten have had a hard time being successful afterward.
The Vargas fight this past weekend shed more light on the situation. One or two might be a coincidence, but when it's a whole bunch of young fighters that this is happening to, it becomes a topic of discussion. Maybe this is more evidence of the greatness of Trinidad.
Heavyweight division now a mystery
By Armando Alvarez
It's been almost a week since the shocking events that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa occured.
We had the World Heavyweight champion flat on his back, struggling to get up, while a unsung hero from Baltimore ran around the ring like a madman.
That's a sight boxing fans will never forget.
Almost like a bad nightmare repeat, Lennox Lewis once again faced the same fate he did in 1994 when he was almost beheaded by Oliver McCall. Nobody has been able to beat Lewis convingly in the ring by giving him a beating, or winning on points. Instead his chin has betrayed him twice because of a right hand.
But there is more than just a right hand landed on his chin that betrayed Lewis, it was also the glamour and fame that was finally coming to him after years of trying to prove himself in the ring. He had just spend some time on the set of the upcoming movie Oceans Eleven hanging out with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt as he filmed his scene alongside heavyweight contender, Wladimir Klitschko. Meanwhile in Johannesburg we had the hungry challenger getting prepared for the biggest opportunity in his life, and he wasn't going to be denied.
Hasim Rahman came in confident to the bout. He had visions of titles and money dancing in his head. He walked into the ring, used his jab against the jabber, and clobbered him with a right hand that would've put out anyone in the division. This was a fairytale ending of Cinderella proportions, but the story has yet to end.
Rahman now faces the possibility of stepping into the ring with the "Baddest man on the planet" or maybe the former "baddest man on the planet" Mike Tyson. If he beats Tyson surely he deserves to be the subject of a film that will surely win an Oscar since mostly everyone would be shocked if he beats the ear hungry challenger, although to me it wouldn't be that big of a surprise.
Yes, the sound of Rahman beating Tyson sounds bigger than the upset win over Lewis, but in my eyes it's not. Everyone seems to believe the Tyson who burst onto the scene in the mid 80s to miraculously return, but people, there is only one Jesus Christ who can make such miraculous returns, and Tyson is no Jesus Christ.
In Tyson we are talking about a fighter in his 30s, past his prime, who is undersized by today's heavyweight standards and is lacking the same speed that gave him the edge over these taller fighters early in his career. Maybe the public believes the heavyweight division is so bad that older former champs can beat them easily, but we have Johnny Ruiz and Rahman as living proof that the public's thought isn't the correct one.
Don't get me wrong, I still think Tyson can whack with the best of them, but a Rahman win over Tyson will not surprise me one bit. Rahman has a good jab, has good underrated power and apparently has a hell of a work ethic.
With Rahman winning, the heavyweight division just got interesting again. It seems now that anyone can beat anyone at any given time, and that can be a good thing for some and a bad thing for others, but I do not think it means the heavyweight division is in trouble.
Just like in the NBA, NFL and Major Leagues, parity is now gracing the heavyweight division. For me it is a good thing. I like the NFL more with surprise team's like the Ravens winning it all. I like the NBA with a team like Charlotte about to eliminate the highly ranked Miami Heat, and I like the Major Leagues with a team like the Minnesota Twins, with a low payroll, atop the standings. And I like a heavyweight division where at any given time David Tua or Kirk Johnson can be world champs.
I do not think it will be an insult to the heavyweight gods. Soon enough there will be another dominant heavyweight to grace the scene, but for now let's enjoy the unpredictability that may now be present in boxing.
Surprises are fun. If Lewis had won this wouldn't be such a big deal. In Lewis losing it means there is not one dominant heavyweight today. Let's get ready for some exciting heavyweight title bouts in which the outcome we'll have to wait for and not be 99.9% sure beforehand. Much thanks to Hasim Rahman.
Armando's Predictions for May
Ricardo Blanco's Predictions for April
Top Ten Pound-for-Pound1) Felix Trinidad, Jr. Middleweight
2) Roy Jones Jr., Light Heavyweight
3) Shane Mosley, Welterweight
4) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Lightweight
5) Bernard Hopkins, Middleweight
6) Marco Antonio Barrera, Featherweight
7) Ricardo Lopez, Jr. Flyweight
8) Tim Austin, Bantamweight
9) Kostya Tszyu, Jr. Welterweight
10)Joel Casmayor, Jr. Lightweight
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