The Battle for Las Vegas

Trinidad vs. De La Hoya 1999

On September 18, 1999, unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya faced similarly unbeaten IBF welterweight champion Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad in a unification bout, billed as the ‘Fight of the Millenium’, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas. Arguably the most anticipated welterweight contest since Leonard versus Hearns in 1981, it would be fair to say that the fight failed to live up to the hype, but did produce a result that was, and is, shrouded in controversy.

De La Hoya, who was, at the time, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, according to the ‘The Ring’ magazine, dominated the early rounds, using his superior hand speed and footwork to keep his opponent at bay. After nine rounds, De La Hoya was ahead, albeit not by far, on two judges’ scorecards. However, in the final three rounds, while he threw more punches per round than Trinidad, De La Hoya landed far fewer forceful blows than his dogged rival. Believing he had the fight ‘in the bag’, De La Hoya attempted to ‘cruise’ the last three rounds, while Trinidad stuck to his game plan and kept banging away.

In pursuit of a knockout, which he seemingly needed to win the fight, Trinidad became the more aggressive and effective of the pair, so much so that just one judge awarded De La Hoya just one of rounds ten, eleven and twelve. However, when the scorecards were tallied, Trinidad had won, by a shock majority decision, 115-114, 115-13, 114-114.

Oscar De La Hoya vs Felix Trinidad – 1999 (VIDEO)

Read about the fight here

Corrales vs. Castillo 2005

In their first meeting, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas on May 7, 2005, Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales made the first defence of his WBO lightweight title against Jose Luis ‘El Temible’ Castillo, who was, in turn, making the third defence of his WBC lightweight title. Fought on the inside, right from the start, the fight was a brutal encounter, which left both combatants battered and bruised and was later named ‘Fight of the Year’ by ‘The Ring’ magazine.

Despite the punishment metered out, both men kept their feet for the first nine rounds of back-and-forth action but, early in round ten, Castillo landed a flush left hook, which knocked Corrales to the canvas. Corrales spat out his gum shield, earning himself an extra few seconds while it was rinsed and replaced by his corner man. He did so once more when knocked down, again, a few seconds later and incurred the wrath of referee Tony Weeks, who penalised him a point for the repeated infraction.

Nevertheless, in an extraordinary turnaround, Corrales landed a thunderous left hook of his own and followed up with a flurry of powerful shots that left Castillo sagging, defenceless, against the ropes. Weeks quickly stepped in to stop the contest, Corrales winning by technical knockout after 2:06 of round ten.