Trinidad drops Joppy to claim WBA middleweight crown


NEW YORK, AFP

Felix Trinidad put on a furious power-punching display Saturday night at Madison Square Garden and captured the World Boxing Association middleweight title, stopping William Joppy in the fifth round. Fighting before 18,235 roaring fans, the unbeaten Trinidad (40-0, 33 KOs) captured his third title in as many weight classes and secured a chance to unify the middleweight crown against World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins on September 15. “I told everyone my punch would be stronger, and I proved it,” Trinidad said of his step up in weight. “This is the way I fight,” Trinidad said through an interpreter. “I came to give a good demonstration. I looked for the knockout, I knew I was going to do this.” “He’s a great puncher and has punching power,” said Joppy. “I’ll have another day and he got the better of me tonight. I’m a bit discouraged. I’ve never lost like that, but I will come back.” Both fighters came out fast in the opening round, but it was Trinidad who provided the early fireworks. The power puncher rattled Joppy with a right hand in the opening minute of the bout and things got worse for the defending champion. Trinidad’s four-punch combination to the head sent Joppy to the canvas. Joppy rose unsteady at the count of five, but another left-right to the head had him holding on until the bell. “I was fighting without any pressure,” Trinidad said.”I knew I had a hell of a punch and could knock him out at any time.” Joppy came back confidently in the second round and tried to outbox Trinidad, but the Puerto Rican made the champ miss. In the final 30 seconds of the round, Trinidad jarred Joppy again with another right to the head. Joppy showed some heart in the third. After being hit with two straight rights, he counterattacked. But there was no denying Trinidad, who kept pressing and landed a left hook to the head to send Joppy back to the canvas. On wobbly legs, Joppy held and retreated before Trinidad settled matters. A right hand by Trinidad in the final minute of the fifth round again floored Joppy. After the champion crashed into the ringpost, he was up at the count of five, but referee Arthur Mercante jnr halted the fight with 35 seconds remaining. “It is going to be a great fight,” Trinidad said of his bout with Hopkins. “But I am going to prove to the world that I am the best middleweight in the world.”