The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

'Too Sweet' anxious for shot at Trinidad : Rick Folstad

DENVER -- The World Boxing Council's No. 1 welterweight contender wasn't at ringside Saturday night. He wasn't smiling for cameras or shaking hands or making bold predictions about how he would punish new welterweight champion Felix Trinidad.

The WBC's No. 1 contender was at a home in Englewood, Colo. watching Saturday night's championship fight between Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya on pay-per-view TV with a few friends.

Derrell "Too Sweet" Coley (34-1-2, 24 knockouts) has been waiting 15 months for his chance to fight for the WBC welterweight crown that until Saturday night belonged to De La Hoya.

Now, with the belt changing hands following a majority decision, he has his sights set on the new champion, Trinidad. And barring the politics that cripple boxing, that fight could be staged as soon as December.

Saturday's fight didn't turn out the way Coley really wanted. He wants to fight the best welterweight in the world and he still thinks that's De La Hoya.

So when it was announced Trinidad had won, Coley showed his disapproval by yelling and jokingly attacking Fred Sternburg, his good friend and vice president of America Presents, which promotes Coley.

"I'm disappointed because even if I get to fight Trinidad, I still don't think I'll be fighting the best welterweight out there," Coley said shortly after the fight, sitting in Sternburg's TV room after all the other fight fans had left. "I think De La Hoya is the best welterweight out there and I think he proved it (Saturday night). He did things I didn't think he could do. He's a great fighter."

Coley has been patient, but he's been waiting a long time for a title shot and has been passed by too many times. He has lost only once as a pro, yet he has watched fighters with five or six losses get one, two, sometimes even three title shots.

And it's frustrating.

"I don't think that's right," he said. "I think they should just go down the (rankings), give everyone a shot. Everybody has to make a living."

Coley, who watched the fight while relaxing on the floor in front of the TV with his fiance, Tawana Perry, said he stepped aside for Saturday night's fight because he understood what the fight meant to boxing.

"De La Hoya and Trinidad generated so much money that I have to respect the decision (WBC president Jose Sulaiman) made," said Coley, 29. "It's a big fight and Sulaiman told me, 'Derrell, we know you're supposed to be the mandatory challenger (to De La Hoya), but there's a lot riding on this fight.' I respect his decision. It's a fight I wanted to see and it's a fight I think boxing needed. But I'm in a position to fight the winner, so I guess I'll be looking at Felix Trinidad."

After Saturday's fight, Coley, who lives in the Washington D.C. suburb of Capitol Heights, Md. but is training in Denver, said he had gained respect for De La Hoya and lost respect for Trinidad.

"I didn't know Trinidad was so slow," he said. "He's not that smart of a fighter and he's not that strong. It doesn't look like he punches that hard, either. I think Trinidad should have found a way within the 12 rounds to cut the ring off, to trap De La Hoya. He didn't even come close to getting De La Hoya in trouble."

Coley said De La Hoya made the mistake of playing judge, of thinking he had won more rounds than he actually had.

"He judged the rounds he thought he won and put too many in the bank," Coley said. "He thought he could give up the last three rounds. De La Hoya took the loss well and I respect him for that. I think his ego suffered a bit, but I think he'll come back strong."

Meanwhile, Coley hopes the phone rings during the next few weeks and a deal can be cut for a fight with Trinidad. Later this month, Dan Goossen of America Presents and Coley's manager -- Barry Linde of Washington -- will travel to Moscow to attend the WBC convention and push for a Trinidad-Coley fight.

"I think they should have to give me a title shot," said Coley, who fought to a draw with Lonnie Smith and whose only loss was to Oba Carr in a 12-round decision. "They know how long I've been waiting. My position is, they don't have any choice. But I guess in boxing, they've got any choice they want."

Rick Folstad writes for The Denver Rocky Mountain News.

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