NEW YORK -- The boxing card at Madison Square Garden last night had a distinct Latin flavor with promoter Don King showcasing champions Felix Trinidad, Ricardo Lopez and Wilfredo Vasquez to lure the Hispanic fight fans.
The ring officials seemingly joined in the spirit of things by all but stealing the World Boxing Association middleweight crown from William Joppy of Silver Spring in his title defense against Julio Cesar Green of the Dominican Republic, now living in New York.
Joppy, in his first appearance at the Garden, seemingly dominated the fight and almost knocked out Green in the third round when he floored the challenger twice.
Despite injuring his right hand in the fifth round, the champion boxed masterfully the rest of the fight and was never threatened by Green, who appeared more frustrated than anything.
But the three judges hardly saw it that way.
Rafael Carrabano of Venezuela favored Green, 116-113. Roberto Ramirez of Puerto Rico voted 114-112 and Steve Weisfeld of New York made it unanimous with his 113-112 scoring.
Joppy, 26, had lost a point on a foul in the 11th round, but it should not have mattered. Green did his only damage in the second round when he floored Joppy with a left hook.
"Everyone knows I won the fight," said the distraught Joppy (24-1-1), who suffered his first loss as a professional. "We beat him with one hand. My jab was good enough to win it."
Co-manager J. D. Brown was certain the judges had been influenced by the pro-Latin crowd of 14,162, which derided Joppy's boxing tactics.
"The crowd played on the judges' ears," Brown protested. "This was highway robbery in New York. We took this fight on two weeks' notice [replacing injured Lonnie Bradley] and still beat the guy in his hometown. We're demanding a rematch."
The explosive Trinidad of Puerto Rico, who has reigned as the International Boxing Federation welterweight king for four years, proved he was ready to challenge for the junior-middleweight title after needing only 2 minutes, 50 seconds to dispose of Troy Waters of Australia in what was billed as an "elimination bout."
Trinidad said he will go after World Boxing Council champion Terry Norris. "I feel he's ducking me and scared of me," said Trinidad (31-0, 28 knockouts).
It could be a difficult fight to arrange since Norris is suing King over non-fulfillment of his contract with the promoter.
Trinidad floored Waters with a bristling right. Waters (27-5) barely beat referee Arthur Mercante's count. Trinidad moved in, landing more than a dozen punches to drop the Aussie again. This time, Mercante came to his rescue.
Trinidad, who has had trouble making the welterweight 147-pound limit, informed IBF president Bob Lee Sr. that he was DTC abdicating his title.
It will set up an elimination bout between the top two contenders -- France's Patrick Charpentier and Baltimore's Vincent Pettway, the former junior middleweight champion.
Earlier, the crowd turned angry after women's lightweight champion Christy Martin, bleeding from her nose and mouth, was awarded a decision over Isra Girgrah of Atlanta.
Girgrah, who had fought only 11 times compared to 35 for the heavy-punching Martin, appeared to rally in the closing rounds by consistently beating her Florida rival to the punch.
Unbeaten WBC strawweight champion Ricardo Lopez (46-0) of Mexico, perhaps the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound , floored Alex Sanchez (25-2) of Puerto Rico three times before the fight was stopped with 1: 58 left in the fifth round. It was Lopez's 20th successful title defense.
Also, WBA featherweight champion Vasquez (49-7-3) of Puerto Rico survived a flash knockdown in the 10th round to win a unanimous decision over Roque Cassiani (17-3-1) of Colombia.
Pub Date: 8/24/97