Who would win in a contest between two of the best punchers the welterweight division ever knew? This fantasy boxing match will take place at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, between Tommy Hearns and Felix Trinidad.
Felix “Tito” Trinidad
- 42 (35) – 3
- Height : 5’11” Reach: 72”
- Welterweight title reign: 6 years, 15 successful defenses, wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Pernell Whitaker, Oba Carr, “Yori Boy” Campas, Maurice Blocker
Tommy “Hitman” Hearns
- 61 (48) – 5 – 1
- Height: 6’1” Reach: 78”
- Welterweight title reign: 1 year, 3 successful defenses, wins over Pipino Cuevas and Randy Shields
Besides being great punchers and dynamic fighters, these two men also shared one other thing in common. They were part of two of the greatest classes of welterweights of any point in boxing history. In the 80s, Hearns was in a weight class with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez, Robreto Duran and Pipino Cuevas. In the 90s, Trinidad emerged as the best of a stellar division including Oscar De La Hoya and Ike Quartey.
Felix Trinidad was one of the most prolific welterweight champions of all time, running off a string of highlight reel KO’s and beating several big name opponents, although the De La Hoya fight was controversial and Whitaker was a faded fighter and man by the time the two met.
Don’t let the records fool you though, Tommy Hearns may not have had a long title reign at welterweight, but he was perhaps the most destructive fighter ever to enter the ring at that weight.
While both of these fighters would move up in weight over their career, this fight is held at welterweight because the two men were arguably at their best here. Additionally, Hearns would fill out to become a natural middleweight, while Trinidad never had the frame to naturally carry that much weight. A fight at welterweight keeps the matter more even between these two.
Trinidad was famous for getting leveled in the beginning of a fight, only to jump back up and knock out his opponent. He would be stopped once in his career, against middleweight Bernard Hopkins. Meanwhile, Hearns got stopped four times in his career, three while he was campaigning actively. These came against all-time greats Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler, and heavy handed middleweight Iran Barkley.
But Trinidad’s real weakness was not his chin, it was his susceptibility to being out-boxed. De La Hoya was doing it until he foolishly gave the fight away, Bernard Hopkins did it and Winky Wright did it. When met with fire on the other hand, Trinidad always excelled and bested his man. His thrilling wins over Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga stand out as prime examples.
Although he may be tempted to come out in seek-and-destroy fashion, as he did against Marvin Hagler before being stopped in the third round, Hearns would be smart to employ his freakishly long jab early and often. He could control the distance and pace of the fight, and keep himself out of reach of Trinidad’s sharp left hook.
With his huge reach advantage and superior boxing skills, Hearns should be able to begin finding a home for his armor piercing straight right in relatively quick fashion. Trinidad would surely hit the canvas several times in the early rounds, the difference in this bout from others would be that he never was forced to try to stand up after facing a puncher of Hearns’ quality.
Hearns would only be in danger if he decided to slug it out with Trinidad, who was in no way ever afraid to hit his man below the belt to buy himself some time. This aside, Trinidad would still need to land a succession of his own monster shots, in a similar way that Ray Leonard did, with Hearns pinned against the ropes, before Hearns landed another single shot for himself. The prospects don’t seem promising for Trinidad. Hearns would continue to apply pressure and line Tito up for his straight right hand.
Result: Hearns, KO 7 over Trinidad.