Quick and Dirty: Roy Jones, Jr. UD-12 Felix Trinidad (116-110, 116-110, 117-109, Trinidad down once each in seventh and tenth rounds)
I decided I could skip an undercard which Brent told me turned out to be pretty fun. On said undercard, Alex Bunema upset Roman Karmazin via 10th round TKO; Andrew Golota won a 12-round unanimous decision over Mike Mollo in what Brent described as a "fun but sloppy" fight; and blue chip prospect Devon Alexander won a landslide 12-round decision over Chop Chop Corley.
But on to the main event. Prior to the bout, there was controversy on both sides. Jones tried to use Grant gloves, which are his preferred brand, but the Trinidad camp was steadfast that Jones wear the contractually agreed-upon Everlast gloves. And then, live on HBO pay-per-view, we got to witness Tito Trinidad's cornermen giving him an obscene amount of tape on his hands, something which caused Manny Steward to almost lose it.
But the fight went on. Trinidad was the heavy crowd favorite at Madison Square Garden for the intros, and he came out and won the first three rounds, with Jones clowning around, shimmying, making gestures, dancing, trying to show Trinidad that the smaller man couldn't hurt the former pound-for-pound king.
Well, it turned out Jones was right. Jones never looked hurt in the fight, and though Trinidad fought hard and stayed busy, Roy took over in the fourth round on my scorecard. Through three, I had Tito sweeping, 30-27, but Jones was landing harder, cleaner punches.
And the third round was the last one Trinidad won on my card. Rounds four through 12 were a clean sweep, and Trinidad hit the deck two times. In the seventh, a short right hand caught him flush and sent him to the canvas, and in the tenth, a straight punched knocked him down as he was off-balance.
The HBO team was a little off tonight. With Max Kellerman in Larry Merchant's place (which led to Max rambling on in a poor Merchant imitation after the fight, comparing Jones to the late, "certifiably insane" chess master Bobby Fischer, who died Saturday), Jim Lampley had no one to even occasionally challenge his snarky remarks. I love Lampley, but there are times when he comes off like he thinks his shit doesn't stink. This was one of those nights. He bashed Jones repeatedly, never saying a bad word about Tito that I can recall, all while Jones was clearly owning the ring.
But while I think Lampley was a little overly critical of Jones, I think to say that he's "back" would be too kind a praising. Jones looked old tonight. He won because he was sharper, having fought within the last 32 months, bigger, and stronger, and Trinidad can't do anything about the latter two, no matter how active he is.
Everything about Jones looked old. It was a fight where I got the impression that had Jones not been 39 years old, worn out, slow, and with questionable stamina (he fought hard in bursts, then needed to rest), he would have knocked Trinidad out at any time he felt like it. Even Roy's shimmies and dances and other assorted taunts looked old. Everything looked old.
It was an entertaining fight, but if Roy Jones thinks this makes him ready for Joe Calzaghe, he's insane. Calzaghe would chew him up and spit him out. The same could be said for Jones' chances against most of the top fighters at 175, or guys at 168 that could come up. He doesn't have the legs, the reflexes or the chin to fight a guy who's naturally in the weight class(es).
Jones' arrogance was also back, but that's a story for another time. He was the same Roy of yesteryear in his post-fight interviews, only even that sounded old. Tito was a gracious loser, and you know what, I hope he fights on. At least one more bout, late this year with Oscar de la Hoya.
For the record, I scored it 117-109 for Jones.
Other Notable Saturday Fights:
Ruslan Chagaev dominated in a successful defense of the WBA heavyweight title, beating 40-year old British champion Matt Skelton on scores of 117-110, 117-111, and 117-111. Reports are that Skelton started fast and ran out of gas, clinching most of the way. "This wasn't really fighting. You have to have some distance to fight," said Chagaev. Skelton was deserving of getting one shot, and it's not like Chagaev was going to find a more worthy opponent, really. But that should pretty much cover it for him.
IBF super bantamweight champion Steve Molitor was bloodied but won a wide unanimous decision over Ricardo Castillo, 118-109 on all three cards. The cut came over his left eye in the fourth round. Castillo has now lost three of four, and has probably effectively taken himself out of the title mix. As for Molitor, I'd love to see him mix it up with the winner of Vazquez-Marquez III, the loser of Vazquez-Marquez III, or Ponce de Leon. Even a Caballero-Molitor fight would be interesting, though I loathe Caballero.