Don King's Middleweight Tournament
In 2001, fight promoter Don King put together a tournament that would unify the middleweight division. He invited the three champions at that time—Bernard Hopkins (IBF), Keith Holmes (WBC), and William Joppy (WBA)—as well as Trinidad (who had moved up to the higher weight class) to participate. The winner would not only be the undisputed middleweight champion but the first recipient of the Sugar Ray Robinson trophy, named for the great boxer of the 1940s and 1950s. Trinidad and Joppy fought in New York City's famed Madison Square Garden (known as the Mecca of boxing) on May 12, 2001, with Trinidad winning by a fifth-round knockout. Technically he was now WBA middleweight champion but that was merely a step for the final prize.
On September 29, 2001 he fought Hopkins (who had beaten Holmes) in Madison Square Garden. Hopkins knocked down Trinidad in the twelfth (and final) round, and the fight was stopped midway through the round. Trinidad not only lost the middleweight crown, he had suffered his first defeat.
Trinidad's next fight was against former WBC middleweight champ Hasine Cherifi on May 11, 2002 in San Juan. He scored a TKO over Cherifi in the fourth round. But the loss to Hopkins had seemingly taken the desire to box out of Trinidad. He announced his retirement through his lawyer on July 2, 2002. In September, 2002 there was speculation that Trinidad might come out of retirement to fight the winner of the bout between two of his old foes—De La Hoya and Vargas (which De La Hoya won). But Trinidad reiterated his plans to remain retired.
Felix Trinidad had a professional record of forty-one wins and one loss. Of those forty-one victories, thirty-four came by knockout. Combined with his amateur record he fought ninety-nine times between 1990 and 2002, winning ninety-two and losing seven. As a professional, Trinidad held the IBF and WBA welterweight titles, the IBF and WBA super welterweight titles, and the WBA middleweight title. His record in championship bouts was twenty-one wins and one loss.