Boxing’s Throwback Thursday: A harsh reality for Ricardo Mayorga

On October 2, 2004, two former world champions went head to head in an effort to rebuild their damaged careers. For Ricardo Mayorga, it was a long night.

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Photo credit: Akira Kouchiyama)

Every sport has its proverbial “Bad Boy”. The guy who captivates the audience with boorish behavior and an attitude that oozes machismo. In baseball, guys like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez were constant lighting rods for their disdain for the media, lavish lifestyles, and genuine disregard for what the public thought of them. In the NFL, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss, two of the greatest receivers in my lifetime, shared a lot of those same qualities. They fought with teammates, ran themselves out of different cities by being a constant headache, but we couldn’t help but watch their every move. 

The same can be said for Ricardo Mayorga. He burst onto the scene as a cigarette smoking, beer drinking hooligan who waltzed into the ring and took out a guy that many thought was the pound-for-pound king in Vernon Forrest. Forrest had just dispatched the belts off of Hall of Famer Shane Mosley in a surprisingly easy fashion, but Mayorga was having none of the hype. He baited Forrest into playing his game and the champion abandoned all the boxing skill he possessed and swung away with the wild-swinging Nicaraguan fighter. Mayorga would stop Forrest the first time and eek out a decision the second bout after a blistering start and fading down the stretch. Mayorga wouldn’t have the belts long as he couldn’t bait Cory Spinks into the same kind of fight, and was given a boxing lesson en route to one sided defeat. He would have one more bout against fringe fighter Eric Mitchell before taking on Felix Trinidad in a bout that would prove to be way over his head as his life was unraveling in the background. 

Felix Trinidad was already a legend and on his way to the Hall of Fame when he took on Ricardo Mayorga. At the time, he was one fight removed from losing to Bernard Hopkins and was looking to get the executioner back in the cage. His father had told Mayorga during the press conference that Ricardo was nothing but a “tune-up” fight for his son, which prompted the hot-headed Mayorga into a conniption fit that ended with him having to be restrained. Mind games had become a Ricardo specialty in the pre-fight build up, but Trinidad was much too savvy a fighter and wasn’t going to get involved in the verbal war that Mayorga tempted him with. With his experience against guys like Hopkins, De La Hoya, and Pernell Whitaker, Felix had to know that the brash Nicaraguan wasn’t going to bring anything to the ring that he hasn’t seen before. 

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