Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Trinidad, Mayorga prepare to face off

PROFESSIONAL BOXING This will be Felix Trinidad's first fight in two years. At 31, he is a former welterweight, junior-middleweight and middleweight champion

AP , MIAMI, FLORIDA ANDLOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Felix ``Tito'' Trinidad, left, Don King, center, and Ricardo ``El Matador'' Mayorga in Miami, Florida, Monday. They were promoting their Oct. 2, boxing match in in New York.

PHOTO: AP

Macho posturing between Felix Trinidad and Ricardo Mayorga began when their fight was announced two months ago and it didn't let up at a joint news conference Monday.

Mayorga, wearing a business suit and ready with a glove, dared Trinidad to hit him. Trinidad wouldn't bite but responded with fiery talk of inflicting punishment when they fight.

"This is not the place to fight you, besides it is not legal," Trinidad said. "But the advice I'm going to give your corner is to make sure they step inside the ring as soon as possible when we do fight. You are going to get one bad beating and they should help you from avoiding additional harm."

Their fight Oct. 2 in New York will be the first fight after a two-year retirement for the 31-year-old Trinidad, a former welterweight, junior-middleweight and middleweight champion.

Despite a successfully managed career by his father and trainer, Felix Sr., resulting in 40 consecutive victories until a 12th-round knockout loss to Bernard Hopkins in Sept. 2001, Trinidad defied the plans of most top fighters who return after a lengthy absence. Instead of a string of tuneup bouts, Trinidad (41-1, 34 KOs) opted for the bombastic yet dangerous Mayorga (27-1-4, 23 KOs) for his return fight.

"We wanted a big fight right away," Trinidad said. "I've always taken care of myself and I've been used to the tough fights. There was no reason to start with a softer fight.

Mayorga, a former welterweight champion with consecutive victories over Vernon Forrest last year, is seeking to recapture his form at a higher weight class after losing a close decision to Cory Spinks in a welterweight title unification fight last December. As a result, Mayorga has followed Trinidad to the 72.575kg middleweight class.

The winner of the bout at Madison Square Garden could be in line for attractive possibilities. The most appealing match would be against the winner of the Hopkins-Oscar De La Hoya middleweight title fight Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

Louisville welcomes Ali

Laila Ali received a hometown welcome as she held a public workout in preparation for her bout Friday on the undercard for the Mike Tyson-Danny Williams fight.

Louisville proudly claims three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali as a native, and fans on Monday gave his daughter an exuberant welcome. They cheered, chanted her name, took pictures of her and asked for autographs.

Five-year-old Dominik Powell screamed "Laila Ali!" throughout her shadow boxing routine held outside in the city's Fourth Street downtown entertainment district.

"I hear you," Ali said, continuing to punch her imaginary opponent. "I hear you."

Ali did several rounds of shadow boxing and sparring with a trainer, punching a trainer's padded mitts.

Ali (17-0, 14 KO) will defend her WIBA world super middleweight title against Monica Nunez (9-1, 5 KO) in Louisville's Freedom Hall on Friday.

Tyson (50-4, 44 KO), the former heavyweight champion, will fight Britain's Danny Williams (31-3, 26 KO) in the headline match of the night.

Tyson and Williams will hold public workouts Tuesday, have a press conference Wednesday and be weighed in Thursday.

"I know that people want me to look like my dad," Laila Ali said. "I know it's a little disappointing to some people. They're all yelling `Do the Ali Shuffle.' It's like, 'I don't do the Ali Shuffle.'"

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