Boxing: Trinidad is the talk of Puerto Rico

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The Independent Online
WHEN FELIX TRINIDAD takes on Oscar De La Hoya for their welterweight unification bout in Las Vegas on Saturday, fans in his native Puerto Rico are likely to be tuning in wherever they are on the island - in prison or up a mountain. Trinidad is such a national hero that 1,600 prisoners in four prisons on the island are going to pay pounds 25,000 out of the profits from their prison work to see the fight.

Trinidad's mother is having a huge outdoor screen installed on top of the mountain outside her home in the city of Cupey Alto, where Trinidad, 26, was raised. The Trinidads are making the fight available to relatives who live in 14 houses down the slopes and to the rest of the neighbours.

It is not unusual for promoters to claim their fights are sold out as a ploy to sell the remaining tickets. But the signs are that the battle between De La Hoya, the World Boxing Council champion, and Trinidad, the International Boxing Federation champion, at the 12,000-seat arena at the Mandalay Bay hotel, really is a sell-out.

One sign is the lack of interest among promoters in making the fighters available in the lead-up to the fight when there usually is a last-minute push for publicity to help ticket and pay-per-view sales.

n The North American Boxing Federation supermiddleweight champion, Randie Carver, died on Tuesday, two days after losing consciousness in a title defence in North Kansas City Casino, Missouri. He was 24. Carver, in critical condition since undergoing emergency brain surgery late on Sunday, went down in the 10th round of a 12-round bout with Kabary Salem. Carver had been repeatedly head-butted in the early rounds of the fight.