January 20, 2008
NEW YORK - A round-by-round account of the Felix Trinidad-Roy Jones Jr. match from Madison Square Garden:
ROUND ONE: A cagey opening by both men - it took a full 20 seconds before a single punch was thrown. Neither fighter opened up until the final minute, with Trinidad catching Jones with a left to the chin before his rival responded with a swift combination. When Tito connected with a straight left with a few seconds remaining Jones performed a quick Ali-shuffle to show he was not fazed. Despite Jones' theatrics, Trinidad took the round thanks to his greater workrate. Trinidad 10 Jones 9
ROUND TWO: No lethargy in the second as both fighters settled into their stride and stepped up the pace accordingly. Jones' stout defense kept Trinidad's strikes at bay midway through the round, but the final 20 seconds featured a flurry of action. First Jones set Tito on his heels with a right hook, but the Puerto Rican came straight back at him with a right of his own. Tito's right to the jaw tilted the score in his favor. Trinidad 10 Jones 9 (Trinidad 20 Jones 18)
ROUND THREE: Jones is starting to get fired up now but needs to concentrate on landing some combinations instead of trying to get inside Tito's head. After Trinidad piled in with some fierce body shots Jones began his taunting, talking smack and lighting up the crowd in the process. But Trinidad stayed relaxed and refused to take the bait, backing off briefly instead of flying into an ill-advised flurry. Jones connected with a hook late but, once again, Trinidad did enough to edge it on the cards. Trinidad 10 Jones 9 (Trinidad 30 Jones 27)
ROUND FOUR: This was more like the Jones of old. Still cocky, making his swift footwork work for him. Jones jabbed away from the outset, allowing him to keep Trinidad at bay and frustrating the crowd favorite. Without landing any huge shots, Jones nevertheless made his mark on the fight - although his pre-bout prediction of a fourth-round KO has now expired. Trinidad 9 Jones 10 (Trinidad 39 Jones 37)
ROUND FIVE: Trinidad was the busier fighter but despite some nice-looking combinations, he rarely busted through the Jones guard. Jones threw fewer shots, but he picked his spots carefully and also expended less energy. For sure, Jones will feel he has things reasonably under control. Trinidad came through with a late flurry, but as long as the judges are not swayed by the huge cheers that ring out every time he throws leather, Jones takes a second straight round. Trinidad 9 Jones 10 (Trinidad 48 Jones 47)
ROUND SIX: Once again Trinidad keeps moving forward but his best efforts are mainly connecting with Jones' gloves, shoulders and arms. Jones landed at least six clean shots to the face or head in the round. A hard right to the jaw stops Trinidad in his tracks in the final half-minute and Jones dances over to his corner at the bell knowing he has wrested back the ascendancy. Trinidad 9 Jones 10 (Trinidad 57 Jones 57)</p><p>
ROUND SEVEN: This fight is Jones' to lose now. The eight-time world champion dropped Trinidad at 1:10 with a clubbing right hand after setting him up with a left to the body. It took a few seconds for the blow to register on Trinidad's brain - then he sank to his knees and desperately tried to retain his faculties. Jones immediately broke into a huge grin and surely senses that he is on course for his 52nd career victory. Trinidad 8 Jones 10 (Trinidad 65 Jones 67)
ROUND EIGHT: Just as the crowd tried to rally their man with chants of "Tito! Tito!", Jones unleashed some clinical shots. The desperation and frustration began to show through for Trinidad as he continued to fail to make an impact. There is not a single mark on Jones who is showing a sharpness few expected. Trinidad 9 Jones 10 (Trinidad 74 Jones 77)
ROUND NINE: More dominance from Jones, and although you have to admire Trinidad's spirit and determination, it is clear that he is no longer up to this level of competition. Jones is taking him to school right now and it will take something remarkable for Tito to get back into this one. Tito's punches have lost their snap and you can't see him catching up to Jones, let alone hurting him. Trinidad 9 Jones 10 (Trinidad 83 Jones 87)
ROUND 10: Jones landed two big shots through the middle of the round and seemed content to absorb the pressure for the rest of the time. However, he came alive again in the final 30 seconds and with 0:18 on the clock he put his opponent on the seat of his trunks with a straight left to the temple. Trinidad jumped back up and tried to shake it off, but it was a genuine knockdown and a fair representation of how things are going. Trinidad 8 Jones 10 (Trinidad 91 Jones 97)
ROUND 11: Tito is a gutsy fighter and that is part of the reason why his fans love him so much. He gives them something to cheer about briefly, with two decent shots to the head in the middle of the round. But it is not enough and Jones brings out his full repertoire. Junior leans on the ropes to sap Tito's strength, moves out of the way, then delivers two lefts and two rights of his own - right on the money. Trinidad 9 Jones 10 (Trinidad 100 Jones 107)
ROUND 12: Jones stayed in his comfort zone until the final minute, before bursting into life and trying to put an exclamation point on the victory with a knockout. He snapped Tito's head back with a right hook and followed up with two more crunching shots. Although Tito's skills have diminished, his stamina holds firm and he stays on his feet. At the end, the fighters embrace and Trinidad does not even try to pretend he can get a decision - but can take a measure of pride in taking it the distance. Trinidad 9 Jones 10 (Trinidad 109 Jones 117)
DECISION: The cards have it 117-109, 116-110, 116-110 - a comprehensive victory for Jones, who will now look to take on Joe Calzaghe, following the Welshman's bout with Bernard Hopkins in April.
Jones tells the crowd: "I felt Tito's power but I had faith in my skills and I was in control. I had a great camp and I felt strong - I don't think anyone can stop me with my ability."