Ranking Felix Trinidad’s best wins and top fights as boxing legend turns 50 years old

Quick Bit: In celebration of Felix “Tito” Trinidad hitting the half-century mark, The Sporting News looks back on the Puerto Rican hero’s legendary career.

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It seems like only yesterday that fans were chanting “Tito! Tito! Tito!” amid electrifying atmospheres in boxing hotbeds such as New York and Las Vegas. The crowds stood as one for Felix Trinidad, the support unwavering whether the Puerto Rican great was winning or losing.

It’s been over 15 years since Tito boxed professionally and he turns 50 years old today. There have been myriad world titleholders since Trinidad’s departure, but his contribution to the sport he loves has hardly diminished.

Entering the Hall of Fame in 2014, Tito stood tall as a three-weight world champion with a 42-3 (35 KOs) mark. He made a record 15 title defenses at welterweight, unifying at both 147 and 154 pounds, before picking up a middleweight title.

It’s been over two decades since Trinidad’s heyday and we probably took that glorious world title run for granted. When you look back at his 18-year professional career, one is struck by the volume and quality of those career-defining triumphs. It must be said, there are a couple of active welterweights out there who could be doing with injecting some of Trinidad’s DNA.

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The Sporting News now ranks Felix “Tito” Trinidad’s greatest victories:

10. Hector Camacho

Date: Jan. 29, 1994
Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Titles: IBF welterweight

This all-Puerto Rican world title clash looked good on paper but quickly descended into a track meet. Camacho’s experience and fleet-footed style were no match for Trinidad’s youth and state-of-the-art firepower. The official scores were 119-106, 117-109, and 116-110. This bout took place on the undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez’s first bout against Frankie Randall.

Result: UD 12

9. Ricardo Mayorga

Date: Oct. 2, 2004
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
Titles: Middleweight non-title

Tito was coming off 29 months of inactivity and his triumphant return had many of his fans crying tears of joy. Mayorga offered plenty of target and Trinidad punched holes through him. The bombastic Nicaraguan was given credit for a questionable knockdown in the third round but was dropped three times himself before the referee halted the slaughter.

Result: TKO 8

The Ring Magazine via Getty Images

8. Maurice Blocker

Date: June 19, 1993
Location: Sports Arena, San Diego
Titles: IBF welterweight

Trinidad’s first incursion into world title territory brought concussive destruction. An imposing 6-foot-2 welterweight, Blocker had mixed with the best and earned the championship he would be defending for a second time. Tito, just 20 years old, snapped him like a twig. A crushing array of power shots, culminating in a brutal right hand, knocked Blocker out cold at ring center.

Result: KO 2

7. Luis Ramon Campas

Date: Sept. 17, 1994
Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Titles: IBF welterweight

“Yori Boy” Campas brought Mexican machismo and what was then the longest unbeaten streak in world boxing (56-0, 50 KOs) to the ring. It wasn’t enough. A ridiculously short left hook put Tito down in Round 2, but that infringement only served to anger the champion. In the fourth, Trinidad almost decapitated Campas with a murderous left hook of his own, prompting referee Richard Steele to stop the fight.

Result: TKO 4

Al Bello /Allsport

6. Pernell Whitaker

Date: February 20, 1999
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
Titles: IBF welterweight

Trinidad received his biggest payday to this point for a fight against the most decorated opponent he’d ever faced. Former four-weight world champ Pernell Whitaker, 35, had been out of the ring for 15 months but whipped himself into excellent fighting shape for the new kid on the block. The legendary “Sweet Pea” couldn’t get it done. Tito decked Whitaker in Round 2, broke his jaw, and was a runaway winner on points: 118-109, 118-109, and 117-110.

Result: UD 12

5. Oba Carr

Date: Dec. 10, 1994
Location: Estadio de Beisbol, Monterrey, Mexico
Titles: IBF welterweight

This is arguably the most underrated win of Tito’s career. Detroit’s Oba Carr (32-0) was a very complete fighter and his skillset was beyond reproach. The challenger proved his worth early, flooring Trinidad with a big right hand in Round 2. However, that success was short-lived, and Tito took revenge on the perpetrator with a stoppage triumph. Carr was decked twice before the referee intervened.

Result: TKO 8

JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP via Getty Images

4. David Reid

Date: March 3, 2000
Location: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Titles: WBA super welterweight

This was Trinidad’s 154-pound coronation and he was no less destructive. A former Olympic champion, Reid had picked up a world title in just his 12th professional fight and made two successful defenses. “The Dream” was no match for Trinidad. Tito rose from a third-round knockdown to dish out horrific punishment throughout. The young champion was knocked to the canvas four times before losing a lopsided decision: 114-107, 114-107, and 114-106.

Result: UD 12

3. William Joppy

Date: May 12, 2001
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
Titles: WBA middleweight

After wreaking havoc at 154 pounds, Trinidad ventured north once again to 160. His opponent was a two-time middleweight champion with a 9-1 record in title fights. The quick-fisted Joppy had never been stopped and had defeated every man he’d ever faced. For Trinidad, however, the Washington-born technician was angel cake. Tito scored bone-crunching knockdowns in the first, fourth, and fifth rounds to become a three-weight world champion.

Result: TKO 5

2. Oscar De La Hoya

Date: Sept. 18, 1999
Location: Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas
Titles: IBF and WBC welterweight

This long-awaited showdown between unbeaten superstars promised the world but failed to dazzle. Oscar De La Hoya boxed beautifully through nine rounds and appeared to be in a commanding lead. However, as the fight progressed, Trinidad upped the pace as “The Golden Boy” ran for his life. The pride of Puerto Rico was rewarded for his “who dares wins” attitude, securing his most famous – albeit controversial – victory by majority decision: 115-113, 115-114, and 114-114.

Result: MD 12

1. Fernando Vargas

Date: Dec. 2, 2000
Location: Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas
Titles: IBF and WBA super welterweight

This was arguably the finest 154-pound world title fight of all time. The undefeated Vargas was a balls-to-the-wall warrior who feared nothing and sought out the best. With a 20-0 (18 KOs) record, “El Feroz” had already secured wins over Yori Boy Campas, Winky Wright, and Ike Quartey. However, the rampaging Trinidad proved to be a bridge too far. Tito decked the IBF champ twice in a wild opening session, survived a knockdown in the fourth, and closed out with three pulverizing knockdowns of his own in the final round.

Result: TKO 12

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