LOS ANGELES -- Unlike recent news conferences featuring
Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga, the gathering Friday to
preview the bout between Felix Trinidad and Roy Jones Jr. was
friendly, courteous and respectful.
"I don't have bad blood with nobody," said Jones, who came out
first and addressed the media at a downtown hotel before Trinidad
or either entourage appeared. "I am revved up for fighting Tito.
How can you not get revved up?"
When Trinidad arrived, Jones invited him over for a hug and for
a photographic pose. Then, it was the Trinidad camp's turn to gush
about his opponent. In separate turns at the dais, Trinidad and his
father, Felix Sr., called Jones a "great champion" through
Yet, both have reasons for wanting this fight, to be staged Jan.
19 at Madison Square Garden in New York. It could have happened in
2001 during the Don King-backed Middleweight World Championship
Series, but Jones moved up to the heavyweight division.
Things have changed since that time. Trinidad (42-2, 35
knockouts) fought just three more times -- none since losing a
decision to Winky Wright on May 14, 2005.
"I have been out of boxing for two years, but everybody knows
I'm ... always in great shape," Trinidad said. "That's why I'm
back in boxing. I know I can do it again, and on Jan. 19, people
will know Tito is ready."
For Jones (51-4, 38 knockouts), it was getting his edge back.
After becoming the first former middleweight champion to capture
the heavyweight title since 1897 (he beat John Ruiz for the WBA
crown in March 2003), he turned down a fight with Evander Holyfield
to drop to 175 pounds and take the WBC light heavyweight title from
Antonio Tarver some nine months later.
The rematch with Tarver, on May 15, 2004, resulted in Jones
being knocked out in the second round. A third fight, on Oct. 1,
2005, ended with Jones losing a unanimous decision.
"After that, I didn't have that edge," Jones said. "Some
days, you wake up and you got to go to work. Some guys, they look
forward to doing what they do. Now I'm back being what I love to
do. I got something."
The two agreed to meet at a maximum weight of 170 pounds.