Junior middleweight – Terry Norris vs. Felix Trinidad
Best time to make this fight: October of 1993
Reasons: Although this fight was being discussed for early 1998 – Trinidad’s one-round destruction of Troy Waters in August 1997 was an eliminator for “Terrible Terry’s” title – the best window in terms of matching both men near their peaks was five years earlier. On October 23, Trinidad stopped Anthony Stephens in 10 rounds, 10 weeks after stopping Luis Garcia in one, while Norris’ last fight was a non-mandatory against Joe Gatti September 10. Had Norris skipped the Gatti fight, his previous match would have been in June when he scored an off-the-floor three-round KO over Waters. A four-month window between fights would have been perfect for Norris to accept a Trinidad fight.
Why this fight made the list: Norris-Trinidad was a fight soaked in nitroglycerine. Both were heavy-handed bombers with vulnerable chins and neither was afraid to run through fire to secure victory. Norris was more fleet-footed, but their left hooks were nearly equal in terms of impact. Additionally, this fight could have been made at 147. Although Norris campaigned at 154 he could have been persuaded to squeeze down if the right fight materialized. After all, he weighed just 149 against then-WBC welterweight titlist Meldrick Taylor and was utterly devastating. Given Trinidad’s future performances at 154 and 160, “Tito” would have been a monumental threat to capture his second divisional crown.
What might have happened: Fireworks, and tons of them. Tito knew no other way to fight but all out and Norris wasn’t averse to shootouts either. Both would have hit the canvas, but Norris likely would have stayed there. Waters had already exposed Norris’ tender temples earlier in the year and he was just months away from his shocking four-round TKO loss to Simon Brown, who, like Trinidad, was a ex-147 pound champion. Trinidad by KO.
Honorable mentions: Ayub Kalule vs. Maurice Hope, Terry Norris vs. Julio Cesar Vasquez, Thomas Hearns vs. Mike McCallum, Mike McCallum vs. Matthew Hilton, Julian Jackson vs. Terry Norris II