Bob Arum and Dan Goossen are, as always, doing their best to make us all believe that the upcoming July 14 welterweight title bout between WBO champion Antonio Margarito and American challenger Paul "The Punisher" Williams is going to be just the best thing in the world, and that the winner of the fight will prove to be the world's best 147-pounder.
It's hyperbole, of course, but the fight has excitement written all over it. Everyone has their own rankings (and everyone's is more legit than those of the sanctioning bodies), but personally, I have Mosley, Cotto, Margarito and Williams as my top four, with Kermit Cintron number five. This is a very big fight, even though Williams has yet to really make his name, and Margarito's star status is attached to the genius work that Arum and Top Rank put into painting him as the most feared man in boxing.
Both Margarito (34-4, 24 KO) and Williams (32-0, 24 KO) are guaranteeing that the sparks will fly, too. As part of HBO's three-fight, two-site World Championship Boxing welterweight showcase on July 14, Margarito and Williams are headlining the night from the outdoor tennis stadium at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. Combined with Cintron taking on Walter Matthysse and Arturo Gatti's return against Alfonso Gomez at Boardwalk Hall, the 29-year old Margarito and 25-year old Williams will get the chance to be seen by a large audience.
Both also know that their fight with each other is a chance to make big money down the line, particularly Margarito, who has a signed agreement to fight Miguel Cotto if he beats Williams. Cotto/Margarito was already planned for this year, depending on Cotto beating Oktay Urkal and Margarito beating Williams. But Margarito briefly chose to duck the fight -- let's repeat that, Margaritio chose to duck Paul Williams -- ready to vacate his title and just take the money against Cotto.
Thankfully for us, Margarito and Top Rank either realized the irony of "the most ducked boxer in the world" ignoring a mandatory, or they simply changed their minds. Because it really should be a good fight.
Five notes from the Margarito/Williams press conference
1. If he does fight Cotto next, Margarito expressed a strong desire for the fight to take place in Las Vegas, rather than at Madison Square Garden, where Cotto is a bona fide superstar.
2. Williams named Walter Matthysse as his toughest opponent so far. Margarito bluntly stated that he does not feel that Williams will be his stiffest challenge.
3. The press and Arum are trying to spin Oscar/Floyd as some hugely disappointing fight and Cotto/Judah as "the fight that saved us from the fight that was supposed to save the sport." I am (1) sick of "fights that will save boxing" -- boxing isn't dying, and (2) wondering when exactly Oscar/Floyd became such a letdown? It was a pretty satisfying fight that did its job. Who was expecting Hearns/Hagler or Castillo/Corrales? Arum is right in saying that this fight will probably be more exciting in the ring, though.
4. There is no rematch clause in the contracts of either fighter.
5. Goossen was vague when asked if he would try to work out a Cotto/Williams fight should Williams win, saying just that Williams wants to fight the best opponents.
Former middleweight, super welterweight, and welterweight world champion Felix "Tito" Trinidad is looking to make a return to the ring after two-plus years in retirement following his embarrassing loss to Winky Wright, and he may be looking to do it against 38-year old Roy Jones, Jr.
The 34-year old Trinidad (45-2, 35 KO) carries one of the most impressive records of his generation, putting the first losses in the columns of Oscar de la Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Oba Carr, Yory Boy Campas and David Reid, plus scoring wins over Hall of Famer Pernell Whitaker, Ricardo Mayorga, Hugo Pineda, Hector Camacho and William Joppy, among others. His only losses were to Wright and Bernard Hopkins.
Trinidad is a Hall of Fame fighter, in my estimation. And while I generally don't look forward to retired fighters making their way back into boxing, this is a 34-year old fighter that wasn't past his prime when he retired. Trinidad was still very good, but Winky Wright put in a career-defining performance in his dismantling of Tito. He was also dominated by Hopkins, which was another poor matchup for him. Frankly, after those fights, I've always found it surprising that he beat Sweet Pea so handily, though Whitaker was very much on the decline at the time.
But Roy Jones, Jr., isn't that style of fighter. Both are exciting guys when they're at their best, which Roy is not anymore and Trinidad will be an open question. Plus, Jones has to beat Anthony Hanshaw on July 14, and says that if he fails, he may well retire.
There's the part of me that thinks the idea of Jones/Trinidad is exciting, but that's just because of who they once were. After a moment considering it, I come back to the same issue I have with Wright/Hopkins: The fight would be a glorified exhibition with little meaning past how much money could be made off of putting two high-profile names in the ring together. It would most likely be a disappointing fight, especially considering the great memories that Jones and Trinidad have created over their years in boxing. And, again, it would mean nothing.
I do want to see Trinidad back in the ring because he's not too old to still be a top fighter, but against Jones? That might be a pass for me, particularly if it's on PPV, which all of Jones' mock fights are now, since no one wants to air them past perhaps Friday Night Fights.
So, for now, yes to Trinidad coming out of retirement, but maybe not to Trinidad v. Jones.