LAS VEGAS -- Angelo Dundee thinks Felix Trinidad will stop Oscar De La Hoya, just as Sugar Ray Leonard stopped Thomas Hearns 18 years ago, only quicker.
"I think Trinidad is going to stop De La Hoya in about six rounds," said the veteran trainer, who was in Leonard's corner when Sugar Ray stopped the Hit Man in the 13th round Sept. 16, 1981.
Leonard-Hearns outdoors at Caesars Palace was a truly great fight between two welterweight champions that lived up to its hype.
The hype for De La Hoya and Trinidad probably doesn't rival that of the Leonard-Hearns match, but it is big, and deservedly so.
De La Hoya (WBC) and Trinidad (IBF) are unbeaten welterweight champions, who can box and punch with power. It would be surprising if their 12-round bout indoors at Mandalay Bay was not action-packed.
De La Hoya, like Leonard, won an Olympic gold medal, then launched a lucrative pro career that, enhanced by a winning personality, has made him a celebrity.
Trinidad, like Hearns, feels unfairly overshadowed by a more popular opponent and sees the fight as a chance to square accounts.
"I feel strongly Trinidad has the style to beat De La Hoya," Dundee said. "He's shorter (5-foot-10) than De La Hoya (5-11), but he stands taller. De La Hoya spreads (his feet) because he looks to load up with a counter left hook."
Looking for a knockout after he had Hearns in trouble in the sixth and seventh rounds almost cost Leonard the fight.
"I remember vividly Ray stopped doing what he was supposed to do," Dundee said. "He started to load up." And he started to get outboxed by the tall and lanky Hearns.
At the end of the 13th round, Dundee could be heard on television imploring, "You're blowin' it now, son. You're blowin' it." Leonard was behind by two, three and four points on the three official cards.
Leonard knocked Hearns down in the 13th round, then stopped him in the 14th to add the WBA welterweight title to his WBC championship.
If Hearns had gotten through the 14th round, it would have been a two-point round for Leonard, making him even on one card and one and two points behind on the other two. It would still have been possible for Leonard to win a decision with another two-point round in the 15th. A one-point round would have made it a draw.
There was controversy over the scoring, with Leonard's camp complaining that the rounds Leonard won were not as close as the rounds won by Hearns. The sixth and seventh rounds appeared to have been legitimate 10-8 rounds, but all three judges scored them 10-9.
In June, Trinidad expressed concern over the judging for Saturday night's fight. Sixteen of the wins on De La Hoya's record (31-0, 25 knockouts) were in Las Vegas. Trinidad (35-0, 30 knockouts) is 6-0 in Las Vegas.
Trinidad, promoted by Don King, also noted that Bob Arum, De La Hoya's promoter is based in Las Vegas. King is based in Florida, but he maintains a home at Las Vegas.
Marc Ratner, the executive director the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said both camps have agreed to the officials. They will be referee Mitch Halpern of Las Vegas and judges Jerry Roth of Las Vegas, Glen Hamada of Tacoma, Wash., and Bob Logist of Belgium.
According to the 1999 FightFax record book, Roth has not scored for the loser in 45 title bouts in which there was a decision winner. That means he agreed with at least one other judge.
Roth also was in five draws, with one of them being the second Leonard-Hearns fight, which he scored for Hearns. Hamada has scored for the winner in all seven decision fights he has worked and Logist is 12-for-12.