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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 05:11 GMT 06:11 UK
Trinidad faces toughest test
Felix Trinidad
Felix Trinidad and Don King visit a New York memorial
BBC Sport Online's Kevin Asseo previews Saturday's title fight between Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins in New York.

With the recent tragedies in the United States still fresh in everyone's mind, one would expect the build up to the Felix Trinidad-Bernard Hopkins middleweight championship fight to have cooled down slightly.

Well, think again.

The war of words between the fighters picked up where it left off before the postponement of their fight two weeks ago.

I just feel very positive about this. I can feel it. I know I can knock him out
Felix Trinidad

"I'm too much man for him," Hopkins said.

"Every Spanish person watching will see that and embrace me, or they'll just have to deal with it."

Trinidad, who has lost the verbal war to Hopkins thus far, responded with his usual calm confidence. "I know I will knock him out. He may go down early," he said.

"I just feel very positive about this. I can feel it. I know I can knock him out."

Of course, this is a fight that needs little or no hype.

It is arguably the biggest non-heavyweight fight of the past 15 years, with the undisputed middleweight crown on the line.

Boxing's immortals

A win for Hopkins would be his 14th consecutive successful title defence, tying him with the legendary Carlos Monzon for the most ever in the middleweight division.

Trinidad may not have an all-time record of his own at stake, but it is widely accepted that unifying the middleweight belts would undoubtedly put him in a class with boxing's immortals.

The matchup is an intriguing one.

Hopkins is a warrior, straight from the mean streets of North Philadelphia.

While calling him a "dirty" fighter may be a bit too harsh, he is certainly not afraid to do whatever it takes to win.

Felix Trinidad
Trinidad puts his belts on the line against Hopkins

And he has made no secret of his plans to turn this bout into a street fight, the type of brawl in which he excels.

Trinidad is a fearsome opponent. The pride of Puerto Rico, his undefeated record is a testament to his considerable skill.

One of the most devastating punchers ever seen in the welterweight division, he shows no signs of losing any of his power following his move to middleweight.

Trinidad's only weakness may be his chin. He has felt the canvas against numerous fighters, among them Fernando Vargas, David Reid and Oscar De La Hoya.

Of course, in each of those fights Trinidad has picked himself up and come away with a victory.

Toughest opponent

Hopkins's sturdy chin has never been questioned. He has never been knocked out, and his only loss of the past 10 years came in a 12-round decision to Roy Jones Jr. in 1993.

With all due respect to De La Hoya and Pernell Whitaker, Hopkins may be the toughest opponent of Trinidad's career.

If Trinidad can display the heart he showed against those fighters, and stay out of the type of brawl that Hopkins will inevitably try to draw him into, he should come away the winner.

However, contrary to Trinidad's comments, it will not come by way of a knockout.

This should be a long, entertaining battle, with the Puerto Rican champion winning a decision and emerging as the new king of the middleweight class.

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