Share this article

print logo


They chanted his name in San Juan while salsa songs written in his honor blared from giant speakers. Revelers jammed highways, hoping to get a glimpse of him.

Felix Trinidad, a conquering hero come home, was back in Puerto Rico on Monday, welcomed by thousands amid a frenzy of adulation and national pride.

At an airport news conference, Trinidad joked about his victory over Oscar De La Hoya on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

"He had a different style of boxing," Trinidad said. "He ran a lot."

Trinidad's plane landed in San Juan amid roars of "Tito! Tito!" Fans waved the U.S. territory's lone-star flag and placards declaring "Gallito castao!" -- Spanish for "Top-class fighting cock!"

"I promised you this victory and I did it," Trinidad said. "This triumph is for all of Puerto Rico. There is no doubt now that the best boxers are in Puerto Rico -- pound for pound they have the most heart. I feel super content."

Police tried to close one lane to make way for a victory cavalcade, but delirious motorists ignored the officers and zipped by. Others abandoned their cars in an airport logjam and walked the last mile.

This had been the most anticipated welterweight bout in years, pitting two unbeaten 26-year-olds known for knockout power -- De La Hoya with his left hand, Trinidad with his right.

De La Hoya, the "golden boy" from California, seemed assured victory after connecting with his jab early on. But in the last few rounds, he turned complacent and Trinidad's tenacity paid off as he scored with his punishing right.

Felix Trinidad Sr., the boxer's father, trainer and manager, said any rematch would have to be on his son's terms. The Puerto Ricans were unhappy Trinidad received only $10.5 million. While that sum was many millions more than any previous pay day for him, it was half of De La Hoya's take.

There are no comments - be the first to comment