- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
On paper, it looked like the mismatch of the new millennium. But then boxing tales are not written on paper; they're painted on canvas. In the red corner towered Felix (Tito) Trinidad, the 178-pound Puerto Rican knockout artist. In the blue corner glowered Molly Sims, the artistic 122-pound Kentucky knockout.
For months, the supermodel had been gunning for the onetime super-welterweight champion. She had promised to drop the three-time world champ like a cheap boyfriend. Boxing wags compared her chances to her figure (slim) and her ring experience to her swimsuits (skimpy).
Sims pointed out that she had prepped for the showdown by attending karate school and taking three kickboxing classes. Still, she acknowledged never having boxed before. "Except for boxing the shoes in my closet," conceded the host of MTV's House of Style. "I'm really motivated, though. I'm looking forward to the spitting part."
Tearing a page out of Muhammad Ali's book (The Greatest, paperback, $4.99), Sims showed up on Trinidad's doorstep to challenge him face-to-face. In this case, the doorstep is at the entrance to the Wilfredo Gomez Arena, a public gym in Tito's father's adopted hometown, Guaynabo. Trinidad actually hails from Cupey Alto, but the fighter jumped gyms after his father had a falling-out with the former mayor over statehood. "What's up, Tito?" the Old Navy girl says with a sailor's swagger. "Can you take me? You think you can take me. I don't think so."
Trinidad smiles politely. He doesn't speak English.
A translator is enlisted. "Who's your favorite fighter of all time?" asked Sims.
" Sugar Ray Leonard," says Trinidad. "You know him?"
"No, but I love Sugar Ray, the rock band." At Sims's urging, Trinidad recounts his greatest ring victories. He names an opponent, then smashes his right fist into his left hand: Oscar de la Hoya. Pow! David Reid. Bam! Fernando Vargas. Whomp! One of Sims's handlers mentions Bernard Hopkins, who powed and bammed and whomped Trinidad to the canvas in September at Madison Square Garden in a middleweight title unification bout—the only loss of Tito's 41-bout pro career. " Hopkins!" cries Trinidad, before biting his knuckles.
With the prefight banter turning increasingly nasty, Trinidad gives Sims some pointers on technique ("Hands held high, protect the face") in return for tips on crash-dieting. "How do I lose weight fast for a fight?" he asks.
"That's simple," Sims counters. "Lots of protein. No carbs."