Felix Trinidad vs Terence Crawford – Who Would Win?
Since the beginning of human existence we have engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Fighting is a universal language all cultures and nationalities understand. Boxing, in particular, has been an Olympic sport since 688 BC when it was performed in ancient Greece. About 300-500 years ago boxing evolved from its origins into prize fighting. After the creation of the London Prize Ring Rules, the sport evolved into the more popularly known Queensbury Rules system. Throughout the sport’s history there have been a plethora of greats in every decade of the sport’s existence.
A prevailing question throughout time as been, “Can fighter ‘X’ beat fighter ‘Y’ in each of their prime?” This is the seventh entry in the series. Two of the most dominant “middle” weight-class fighters meet in this eighth edition. We have the hard hitting Felix Trinidad meets the switch-hitting Terence Crawford. If you missed previous entries, you can click them below to see what you have missed so far.
First Entry in Series: Mike Tyson vs Deontay Wilder
Second Entry in Series: Ezzard Charles vs Roy Jones Jr
Third Entry in Series: Roberto Duran vs Vasyl Lomachenko
Fourth Entry in Series: Henry Armstrong vs Manny Pacquiao
Fifth Entry in Series: Jack Johnson vs Tyson Fury
Sixth Entry in Series: Marvin Hagler vs Canelo Alvarez
Seventh Entry in Series: Sugar Ray Robinson vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Felix Trinidad (Early 1990s – 2000) vs Terence Crawford (Early 2010’s – Present)
Felix Trinidad-Brief Glance
The man the world would come to know at the hard-hitting Felix Trinidad was born Felix Juan Trinidad Garcia on January 10, 1973 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Trinidad’s father, Felix Trinidad Sr, was a boxer as well fighting in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Boxing has always been in the blood of Trinidad. With a great amateur career under his belt before turning pro, Trinidad finished with a record of 51-6 with well over half of those ending in knockout. He also earned five Puerto Rico boxing national championships as well. In early 1990 the father/son combination decided they would forgo training for the 1992 Olympic Games and go ahead and turn professional.
Beginning of High Quality Career
At the age of 17 Trinidad took his debut bout in Puerto Rico. As expected Trinidad dominated and won via first round knockout. For the first three years of his professional career (19 bouts) he remained undefeated and ran through the competition. At the age of 19 in June 1993 he would enter the first world championship matchup of his historic career.
First Title Fight
Trinidad would face his first big test and that came in the form of the current IBF welterweight champion, Maurice Blocker. The first round saw Trinidad feeling out the champion’s style and flooring him very late in the first round. In the second frame, Trinidad dropped the champion with his patented left hook, winning the IBF crown. Winning the title on June 19, 1993, Trinidad would hold the title for six years, eight months, and 14 days. This entailed 15 title defenses.
The next longest single welterweight title reign was still over a year shorter which is held by Antonio Margarito who had a reign on five years, three months, and 28 days as the WBO welterweight king. Margarito though only defended the title seven times in that time-frame. In the comparison of history, Sugar Ray Robinson is number seven on this list at three years, seven months, and 19 days with five defenses.
Hall of Fame Career
Standing at 5’11” and using a 72.5 inch reach advantage, Trinidad earned world championships in three different weight classes. His career spanned from 1990 to 2008 where he earned a very respectable 42-3 record. 35 (83%) of those victories coming by way of KO/TKO. When you put those three losses in perspective, they all came within his last five fights and were all three world champions. His first loss came to one of the greatest middleweight and light heavyweights of all time, Bernard Hopkins. The next loss was to the undisputed light middleweight championship, Winky Wright. The final loss and final bout of Trinidad’s career was against another all-time great, this time in the form of Roy Jones Jr at 170 pounds.
The finale came on January 19, 2008, 18 years after making his professional debut. No one could have guessed the storied career Trinidad would have had beginning in 1990. After almost a three year layoff, Trinidad walked into Madison Square Garden in New York to battle one of the sport’s greatest. Trinidad told The Ring Magazine in the July 2014 edition that he thought the Jones bout was his best. “This match could have been declared in favor of either of us, even with the knockdowns,” he said through a translator. “It was a very tough and close match for 12 rounds. I fought a fighter that had been a heavyweight champion, and it was the biggest weight I fought at.” The judges, unfortunately for Trinidad, did not see it that close. The official scorecards were 116-110, 117-109, and 116-110.
There is no shortage of accolades when it comes to describing the hall of fame career of Felix Trinidad. The Ring, arguably the sport’s most prominent publication ever, has had Trinidad on at least 10 covers over his career. He also walked away with The Ring, USA Today, and BWAA’s Fighter of the Year for 2000. Even in his first defeat Trinidad walked out a winner. Hopkins and himself earned The Ring 2001 Round of the Year for their battle that occurred in round 10.
In 2003 The Ring released a special list of their “Top 100 Puncher of All-Time,” to which Trinidad was named number 30. Two lists released by The Ring in 2002, “Top 80 of the Last 80 Years” and “Best Jr. Middleweight Fighters of the last 2002” listed Trinidad as number 51 and number one respectively. Among other awards, the sweetest has to be his induction into the 2014 International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was inducted his first year of eligibility.
Powerful front hook! Those three words alone could sum up the devastation Trinidad brought upon his opponents. Trinidad used his orthodox stance left hook to drop many a tough opponent. His overall style can best be described as that of a “seek and destroy” fighter or following along the lines of the “Mexican style.” Possibly an even bigger trait possessed by Trinidad cannot be measured. He is very Joe Louis-esque in having the ability to get knocked down and not only get up, but win by a knockout of his own.
His record of 20-1(16KOs) in title fights shows Trinidad has all the ingredients and mindset needed to be one of the best ever. The knock on Trinidad’s style has been he has issues with boxers with exceptional footwork. The names on his hit list consist of some of the best movers and defenders in the game including Oscar De La Hoya, Pernell Whitaker, and Hector Camacho among several other future and former champions.
Terence Crawford-Brief Glance
Born September 28, 1987 in Omaha, Nebraska, arguably the greatest boxer to come out of the state, Terence Crawford, entered the world. Crawford began boxing at the age of seven, where in the July 2019 edition of The Ring magazine, stated he was thrown out of the gym for awhile because he took the “hard-headed” approach to boxing, trying to fight rather than box. “I didn’t want to shadowbox or do sit-ups or push-ups and I just wanted to hit the speed bag and spar. I didn’t want to do what the coaches wanted and I got kicked out because I didn’t listen,” Crawford said in the article.
Currently the WBO welterweight champion, Crawford earned a 58-12 amateur record. Two of those wins came against future world champions in the form of Mikey Garcia and Danny Garcia. Near the time of the 2008 Summer Olympics, Crawford was the top lightweight in the United States. He would suffer a loss to future WBO junior middlweight champion, Sadem Ali. After the loss, Crawford decided to turn pro and took his debut bout March 14, 2008 against Brian Cummings. The young star Crawford won via first round KO.
Star on the Rise Toward First Title Shot
After his debut victory, Crawford continued marching along the next five years, perfecting his craft. With a record of 20-0 (15KOs) Crawford looked to earn his first championship as he took on Alejandro Sanabria. This was for the vacant WBO-NABO lightweight title on June 15, 2013. The bout also served as an eliminator to challenge for the WBO lightweight title. After walking out with the sixth round TKO, Crawford won the WBO-NABO title and looked forward to his next challenge which would be Andrey Klimov. This bout would serve as a number one contender bout to see who would face the champion, Ricky Burns. Scoring the dominating unanimous decision victory over Klimov, Crawford was set for his first world title, scheduled to face Burns on March 01, 2014.
Only Title Bouts From Burns Forward
Crawford definitely walked into enemy territory on March 01, 2014, when he battled Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland. With the contest very close half way through the 12-round bout, Crawford eventually pulled away and took a unanimous decision with no controversy. Crawford earned 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111 on the three official scorecards. According to Compubox, Crawford absolutely dominated the numbers landing 213 of 811 punches compared to 76 of 552 for Burns. Crawford’s biggest round was the eighth. He landed 23 of 48 compared to Burns only landing one of 20 punches.
From the Burns bout onward to the time of publication, every single bout Crawford has battled in (14 counting the Burns bout) have been for a world championship bout. He is undefeated in those 14 bouts with 11 of them ending by KO/TKO. On July 23, 2016 Crawford would go on to dominate another champion, Viktor Postol to win the WBC and vacant The Ring light welterweight championships. Arguably the biggest name on his hit list came in a title defense when Crawford face Amir Khan on April 20, 2019. Crawford won via round six TKO after landing an accidental low blow. Khan’s corner stated he was unable to go on so Crawford was awarded the win. He was winning on all three scorecards up to that point 50-44, 49-45, and 49-45. Crawford felt Khan “quit” and did not have the fight left in him to go on.
The greatest accolade a current fighter can possess in a world championship, and Crawford has a handful of those. He is the current WBO welterweight champion. Prior to vacating he was also the WBO, The Ring, and lineal lightweight champion from 2014 to 2015. Crawford also held the undisputed WBA (super), WBC, IBF, WBO, The Ring, and lineal light welterweight championships from 2015 to 2017. During his stint as undisputed light welterweight champion, he was the last man to possess that honor since Kostya Tszyu in 2004. Crawford was also the first fighter since Jermain Taylor in 2005 to hold a world championship for all four major organizations. He is only one of three male boxers all time to own the distinct owner.
Sports Illustrated listed Crawford as their 2013 Prospect of the Year. In 2014 the BWAA and ESPN named Crawford their Fighter of the Year. ESPN named him again this honor for 2017. Currently (as of April 2020) he is the number four pound for pound fighter in the year according to The Ring rankings. In their January 2018 special edition “100 Best Fighters in the World,” Crawford was listed as the second best fighter in the world behind only Gennady Golovkin.
The most notable aspect to Crawford’s game is his ability to be a “switch hitter” and to be as dangerous from either stance. A “switch hitter” in boxing has the ability to fight in either orthodox or southpaw. Crawford resembles Marvin Hagler in his ability to have power no matter the stance. With a 74″ reach, Crawford has the ability to keep most fighters at the end of his jab. In addition to amazing hand speed, his defense is just as good with great counter punching ability. Something that can’t be measured is “ring IQ.” Crawford has some of the best adaptability in boxing today.
Regarding Crawford’s counterstriking ability, former world champion Ricky Burns stated after their matchup, “I felt that some of the rounds were slipping away from me,” said Burns. “It was hard to fight against someone who was constantly looking to counterpunch. I was trying to draw the leads from him, but he was always waiting on me.” From reading the quote you can tell Burns was frustrated and unable to execute his gameplan.
In the May 2019 edition of The Ring, in which Crawford was on the cover, he made a statement showing his confidence, “I’m a three-time world champion,” Crawford said calmly but forcefully. “I was (Boxing Writers Association of America) Fighter of the Year. I won an ESPY. I was undisputed champion. There ain’t never been a fighter I couldn’t figure out. If I retired today, I’m fine. Those (other) guys have accomplished half of what I have.”
If you think of fantasy matchups in the world of boxing, this one may not come to the top of your head, but wow what a battle! If either boxer has had a roadblock in their career, its against an opponent they would face in this fantasy matchup. The glaring example to score Trinidad as the victor would come from Crawford’s bout with Felix Diaz. Crawford was caught by an early huge punch from Diaz before later adjusting. Crawford can sometimes learn at a cost. If someone like Trinidad hits him with a solid left hook, it’s over. On the other side of the coin, Trinidad has historically had issues with boxers who are exceptional movers and actually “boxers” not “brawlers.” This is one of those bouts where I learn toward Crawford. But the gut feeling lingering is Trinidad could land that huge shot.