Lee Groves

10: Best years by boxers since 1992

 9. Felix Trinidad – 1994: 3-0 (2)

As Mike Tyson continued to serve time for his rape conviction promoter Don King dug deep into his stable in the hopes of finding new stars to fill the void. One emerged in the summer of 1993 when 20-year-old Felix Trinidad smashed Maurice Blocker in two rounds to capture the IBF welterweight title. “Tito” consolidated that win with two more over Luis Garcia (KO 1) and Anthony Stephens to round out that year.

Just 19 days after turning 21, Trinidad began 1994 with an all-Puerto Rico showdown with Hector “Macho” Camacho on Jan. 29. Trinidad-Camacho was part of a pay-per-view quadruple-header that included Thomas Hearns-Dan Ward, Simon Brown-Troy Waters and Frankie Randall’s monstrous upset of Julio Cesar Chavez. As for Trinidad, he methodically hunted down his fleet-footed quarry and, at times, was frustrated by the chase. He was docked a point for a low blow in round five but Camacho gave back that point in the 10th for excessive holding. In the end Trinidad won a decisive decision (119-106, 117-109, 116-110).

After becoming just the third man to defeat Camacho in 49 fights (Greg Haugen and Chavez were the others), Trinidad was forced by court order to defend against mandatory challenger Luis Ramon “Yory Boy” Campas, who entered the Sept. 17 bout with a daunting 56-0 (50) record. Trinidad’s management may have been fearful of facing Campas, but the fighter proved he certainly was not.

The fight didn’t start well for the Puerto Rican; a six-inch hook to the jaw dropped Trinidad in round two and after three rounds “Tito” trailed on two scorecards. But in round four Trinidad let loose with a series of blistering combinations that had Campas reeling about the ring. Somehow, the iron-chinned Mexican withstood the assault without going down but following a flush hook to the chin that violently snapped back his head, referee Richard Steele mercifully intervened.

Trinidad wound up the year by defending against the 32-0 Oba Carr and once again Trinidad’s chin let him down in round two. But as was the case against Campas – and against Stephens the previous year – Trinidad rallied strongly as he scored two knockdowns as well as the stoppage in round eight. 

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