Errol Spence is given much credit for defending his IBF strap against unknown mandatory Carlos Ocampo. It is being called a star-making performance that ended with a knockout of the year shot. This marks the silver anniversary of an actual, true star-making performance and knockout of the year performance. Felix Tito Trinidad captured his first ever world title the IBF version of the welterweight title in an absolutely destructive performance over the “Thin Man” Maurice Blocker. Blocker was a legitimate world titleholder who held legitimate wins over high caliber fighters like Marlon Starling and Glenwood Brown. Felix Trinidad was one of if not the highest regarded prospect in the sport and was emerging as a star, the next generation Puerto Rican superstar. In a division that was loaded with upcoming mega fights with names Pernell Whitaker and Oscar De La Hoya and Terry Norris on the horizon. Trinidad needed a star-making performance on a big card on a Showtime-televised event.
The Bout took place in San Diego on a Terrible Terry Norris undercard in his hometown of San Diego, a Norris/Trinidad fight was discussed for years as they where around the same weight and both Don King fighters and the fight would have produced a high level of activity for sure. Unfortunately, Norris was dethroned before the 5’11 Tito outgrew the 147-pound division and went on to his more natural 154-pound weight class. The card also featured Puerto Rican star, Hector Camacho.
Tito had a huge shot on a huge card and delivered in a huge way. From the opening moments, Trinidad was in hunt and destroy mode. Attacking with his jab and backing down Blocker. While the “Thin Man” was trying to feel Tito out a bit. Trinidad was going for the sensational knockout, looking to get inside the long jab of Blocker with left hooks to his body and overhand lead rights that were getting closer and closer. The Puerto Rican challenger stayed on the aggressive while Blocker was able to avoid much of the damage while off his back foot but looked highly uncomfortable and landed almost nothing of his own. The second round was truly vicious. Tito came out fast again with left hooks and lead rights keeping Blocker on the retreat the beginning of the end came quickly about midway throw the round when Tito landed a perfectly timed left hook, his vintage punch, that buckled Blocker’s legs. Tito quickly landed a double left hook-right hand combo that sent the champ wheeling into the corner another right hand and some work downstairs forced blocker to fight for life and open up a bit for the first time of the night which set up a vicious left hand followed by a right hand and another left hook that collapsed Blocker to the floor like a building imploded by dynamite. The champ was out before he hit the ground and stayed motionless on the floor for several minutes, Trinidad ran his record to 20-0 (17) and captured the IBF title in sensational fashion on the mega-card and far exceeding the high expectations the then-prospect Tito had.
The moment was vintage Tito Trinidad, elevating him to a new level and carving out a spot to be the next Puerto Rican superstar. A roll that Trinidad would thrive in and would take him all the way to near the top of the pound for pound lists. This was the first major step in a Hall Of Fame career that has placed the name Trinidad near the top of the list of greatest fighters from the legendary fighting island. Tito would go on to run his record to 40-0 picking off names like Pernell Whitaker, David Reid Fernando Vargas, Oba Carr, Hector Camacho, Yori Boy Campos, William Joppy and of course Oscar De La Hoya in very controversial fashion. He eventually lost his middleweight title to Bernard Hopkins at Madison Square Garden in a bid to become undisputed. Although Trinidad fell short in that attempt he did finish his amazing career with an outstanding record of 42-3 (35) and winning titles in three different weight classes and will go down as one of if not the best 154-pound champs of all time.