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IT'S AN EASY REID FOR TRINIDAD SEVENTH-ROUND JOLT SETS UP MOMENTUM IN DECISIVE WIN.

Byline: Michael Rosenthal Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS - If Felix Trinidad lost anything in a disappointing performance against Oscar De La Hoya, he found it against David Reid on Friday.

Trinidad had trouble getting to the previously undefeated WBA junior middleweight champion in the first half of the fight. However, once he hurt Reid with a perfect left hook that knocked him to the canvas in the seventh round, it got ugly.

Trinidad battered a suddenly overmatched Reid the remainder of the fight, cutting him badly over his right eye, knocking him down three times in the 11th round and capturing the championship by a one-sided decision before a crowd of 10,100 in an outdoor arena at Caesars Palace.

The judges scored it 114-106, 114-107 and 114-107 for Trinidad. The Daily News had it 114-106.

A week ago, the victory would have meant a rematch with De La Hoya, who baffled Trinidad (37-0, with 30 knockouts) with his boxing skills but blew a certain victory when he coasted in the final rounds in their September fight.

But now, De La Hoya says he plans to forsake a $20 million payday against Trinidad and fight Shane Mosley for much less in his next boutin June, which leaves Trinidad's immediate future uncertain.

Trinidad said he'd like to unify the 154-pound titles but admitted he'd also like to face De La Hoya again.

``I already beat him, the world knows I beat him, but it would be a great fight,'' Trinidad said.

Reid (14-1, seven KOs) more than held his own in the first half of the fight.

Although neither fighter was particularly aggressive in the beginning,Trinidad had trouble coping with Reid's speed and movement.

Reid, America's only gold medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, landed his biggest punch in the third round, a straight right that stunned Trinidad and put him on his pants.

However, Trinidad turned the tide with his single big right in the seventh, which sent the champion reeling against the ropes and then down.

Reid never truly recovered.

The cut was factor. The eye swelled and blood dripped into his right eye. That, combined with his droopy left eye, appeared to make it very difficult for him to see.

However, make no mistake: It was Trinidad's prowess and huge edge in experience that were his biggest problems.

He stayed on top of Reid once he hurt him and never let him breathe, landing dozens of hard punches in the late rounds. The 11th was a circus, with the three knockdowns and the second of two points Trinidad lost for low blows. (Reid lost one point.)

It amazing that Reid lasted 12 rounds.

``I felt I was in control but then I got hit with a good shot,'' he said. ``. . . I felt he was a little bit slicker, a little more experienced.

``I'll be back.''

In preliminary bouts, Christy Martin (39-2-2, 30 KOs) rallied to outpoint Belinda Laracuente (18-3-1, nine KOs) of Puerto Rico in an eight- round women's bout.

Laracuente appeared to control the fight with her speed and athletic ability. She moved throughout the fight but consistently beat Martin to the punch and seemed to land many more punches.

However, the judges saw it differently, awarding the more-aggressive Martin a majority decision.

Martin won the final four rounds on one card and three of the last four on two to win.

``I really want a rematch. This is highway robbery,'' Laracuente said. ``I totally felt I beat the old lady tonight.''

Martin criticized Laracuente for refusing to brawl with her.

``The running style didn't work for Oscar De La Hoya and it didn't work for her,'' Martin said.

WBA middleweight champion William Joppy (29-1-1, 22 KOs) easily outpointed last-minute replacement Fernando Zuniga (18-3, 14 KOs) of Ecuador in a 10-round non-title bout.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- color) This seventh-round knockdown turned the fight around for Felix Trinidad, left, against David Reid.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

(2) Felix Trinidad leaves David Reid kneeling in the corner, walking away after an 11th-round knockdown.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Box: INSIDE

--Paulie Ayala defends his WBA bantamweight title tonight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Page 6
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 4, 2000
Words:702
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