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Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK
Triumphant Trinidad stops Joppy
Felix Trinidad after KO against Joppy
Triumphant Trinidad after knocking out William Joppy
Felix Trinidad has become WBA middleweight champion after stopping William Joppy in the fifth round of their title bout.

Trinidad put on a sensational show in front of a roaring Madison Square Garden crowd and simply had too much power for Joppy, knocking him down in the first, fourth and fifth rounds.

The third knockdown came in the final minute of the fifth, when Trinidad landed with a fierce right.

I never thought he could hit that hard
  William Joppy
Joppy picked himself up, but then stumbled into the ring post, prompting referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop the fight.

It was truly a stunning performance by the 28-year-old Puerto Rican, who is now unbeaten in 40 fights with 33 knockouts.

And it will earn him a fight for the undisputed middleweight title against Bernard Hopkins, who retained the IBF title and won the WBC championship by outpointing Keith Holmes on 14 April.

"I beat the best middleweight tonight. Now, I am the best," Trinidad said.

"I know Hopkins is going to come well prepared, but once I hit him, the fight's going to be over."

Trinidad puts Joppy down in the fifth
Trinidad puts Joppy down in the fifth
Trinidad became the first former welterweight to win a middleweight tile since Roberto Duran in 1989.

It was only the second loss against 32 victories and a draw for Joppy, who has knocked out 24 opponents.

"He's a great champion," Joppy said. "I never thought he could hit that hard."

But Trinidad was not surprised by his power.

"I always knew I was a middleweight. I like knockouts, I look for knockouts. Thank God tonight I got a knockout."

He did and it was perhaps the most spectacular KO of an already illustrious career.

Forrest still unbeaten

Meanwhile, on the Trinidad-Joppy undercard, Vernon Forrest claimed a unanimous 12-round decision over Raul Frank to capture the vacant IBF welterweight title.

Forrest remains unbeaten in 32 fights, with 25 victories inside the distance.

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