NEW YORK — Roy Jones Jr. was just too fast, even in a fight that happened several years too late.
Jones pranced and punched his way to a unanimous decision over Felix Trinidad on Saturday night, dominating a 170-pound matchup between two iconic boxers whose primes are well past.
Jones (52-4, 38 knockouts), the sport’s erstwhile pound-for-pound king, taunted Trinidad while clowning his way through the early rounds of his first significant victory in four years. Jones then went to work, knocking down Trinidad in the seventh and 10th rounds.
The most dominant boxer of the 1990s had lost three of his past five fights, but Jones still entered the ring wearing a gilded crown — and the 39-year-old’s once-peerless reflexes and heavy hands were enough to beat another declining dynamo.
“It took a lot,” Jones said. “I can’t believe he stayed in there 12 rounds with me.”
Trinidad (42-3) hadn’t fought in 32 months since his second retirement, but “Tito” still is Puerto Rico’s most beloved champion, judging from the frenetic support from the Madison Square Garden crowd.
The 35-year-old showed the rust many expected in just his fifth fight in 61/2 years, his first since a decisive loss to Winky Wright. Fighting 10 pounds over his highest previous weight, Trinidad couldn’t match even Jones’ diminished reflexes.
Though some boxing purists disliked such an obvious senior-circuit matchup with no championship stakes, the crowd seemed to enjoy a long-imagined matchup between two of the sport’s most prodigious punchers.
Judge Julie Lederman scored the bout 117-109 for Jones, and Nelson Vasquez and Tom Kaczmarek saw it 116-110.
On the undercard, another well-known name from boxing’s past, 40-year-old Andrew Golota, won his third fight in a row in what might be his last bid for a heavyweight title shot. Golota (41-6-1, 33 KOs) outpointed Mike Mollo (19-2, 12 KOs).
Also, super welterweight Alex Bunema (29-5-2, 15 KOs) stopped former IBF champion Roman Karmazin (36-3-1) in the 10th round in the biggest upset of the night, and rising star Devon Alexander (14-0) won a unanimous decision over former WBO champion DeMarcus Corley (31-7-1).