The rumored return of Felix Trinidad is no longer a rumor, as the former welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight champion of the world will be back in the ring on January 26, 2008, facing Roy Jones, Jr.
Trinidad, 34, and Jones, 38, will meet at 170 pounds -- Trinidad's highest fight weight ever, and the lowest for Jones since 1996. A venue has yet to be named, but most have expected Madison Square Garden since the fight was first mentioned. Don King is promoting the event. I would expect the fight to be on pay-per-view, but King could find it interesting to secure a deal, which he has not yet done. King says he will talk to anyone that wants to broadcast the fight -- HBO, Showtime, ESPN, Rupert Murdoch, whoever.
If HBO were to pick up the fight, it would be Jones' return to the network that was once his home. Showtime had interest in doing the Jones/Hanshaw fight in July, but once Roy started being Roy, they backed out.
Trinidad (42-2, 35 KO) hasn't fought since 2005, when Winky Wright literally embarrassed Tito into retirement. Wright's defense completely dominated the favored Trinidad, and made a more-than-official star of Wright. It was Tito's second retirement, and while some may think that he's shot, you have to remember he's only 34. That's younger than a lot of top fighters, and not much older than a whole lot more.
The Jones-Trinidad bout was on the backburner six years ago, when Trinidad took a fight with Bernard Hopkins beforehand. Hopkins scored a 12th-round TKO to become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
As for the 38-year old Jones, he has looked notably better in wins over Prince Badi Ajamu and Anthony Hanshaw than he did in his disheartening three-fight losing streak against Antonio Tarver (twice) and Glen Johnson. The first two losses were inarguably the worst performances of Junior's storied career. In the third, I actually thought he fought fairly well.
Even with the layoff, one has to assume Trinidad to be a marked step up in competition from Ajamu and Hanshaw, and it could be the fight where we find out if Jones has anything left. I like to think he does, because I like Roy. Part of the reason I like Roy is because he's entertaining and says really outrageous stuff (most recently, he wants to fight Wladimir Klitschko), but another reason is that I believe he's one of the guys that really loves the sport.
And it's good to see Tito Trinidad coming back to the ring. He's not going to be the prime time Trinidad, but as long as the skill is still there, there's no reason he's not an effective fighter. He's not that old. And he hasn't taken a ton of punishment, really.
They're both stars. Jones can talk a fight up like few can, and Trinidad just has always had a very real star quality about him, even disregarding how good he was. Plus, you know Don King will do all he can to make this seem like it just might be the fight we could've seen six years ago. That's highly unlikely, but it's always fun to dream.
I'm legitimately on board with this fight. If it's the end of the road for either guy, at least you can say they went out fighting the other one. If it's a great fight and something of a career rebirth for both, then we're all the better for it.