Winky Wright’s Future

winky wright03.12.07 - By David Janke: Winky Wright is 36 years old. He has had a rewarding boxing career compiling a record of 51-4-1 (25). Wright established his self-named promotional company, Winky Promotions ( After such a successful run in such a demanding profession, one has to wonder how much more time Wright has left in the sport.

Winning Streak Broken

Only four months ago, he suffered his first loss (Fernando Vargas, December 1999) in over seven years at the hands of Bernard Hopkins. True, the fight was at 170 pounds, 16 pounds and two weight classes above Wright’s best weight.. People tend to forget that he’s only had four fights as a middleweight: Trinidad, Soliman, Taylor, and Quartey. He spent a majority of his career in the junior middleweight division at 154 pounds, with his claim to fame being back to back defeats over Sugar Shane Mosley in March and November of 2004. In the current day, the middleweight division has no shortage of talent or activity. We’ve seen the landscape change dramatically over the last few months with the Taylor – Pavlik fight, and it seems that most of the middleweights have substantial fights lined up. Many interesting fights remain for the defensive expert Winky Wright, if he wants them. We already know what’s next for most of the other top middleweights, but the question is, “What’s next for Winky Wright?”

Possible Matchups

Most likely opponents currently reside in the middleweight division, although one junior middleweight is sure to be a desirable fight for Winky. We won’t discuss super middleweight match ups because Wright did not carry the extra weight well at all.

Wright vs. Kelly Pavlik:

This fight would be an interesting match up, and should be a fight that Wright would want to take. Bob Arum would more than likely have reservations about making this fight; it could be less than exciting, and Winky could win a boring decision if he is able to stay away from Pavlik’s power. But with Pavlik currently sitting atop the middleweight division holding The Ring belt along with WBC and WBO belts, this would be Wright’s chance to become a champion again. Pavlik’s name is gaining more and more fan recognition, but would not be one of the biggest money names for Wright to fight. At this point in his career, if he wants to fight a few more times he would more than likely want them to be lucrative fights. Taylor – Wright turned out to be a very entertaining fight, with the big puncher vs. defensive expert/counter puncher formula. Pavlik – Wright would be similarly entertaining, but many feel that Pavlik hits quite a bit harder (and a lot straighter) that Taylor. Pavlik’s 80-100 punch per round output would give Wright fits, but Wright is the technically superior boxer. (As is the case with most match ups, as a matter of fact.) As long as that straight right doesn’t get through his defense, Wright could out-box Pavlik to a decision victory. Conventional wisdom says that if this fight goes less than twelve rounds, Pavlik remains champion; if it goes to the score cards, Wright should come out ahead.

Wright vs. Jermain Taylor (Rematch):

This fight could end up similar to their initial encounter. Jermain still has one of the top names in the sport, and this rematch would represent a fairly large pay day for each boxer. This rematch was almost made immediately after the original fight, but fell apart. The boxing community should still embrace this match up if proposed, but it depends if it’s a fight that both boxers want. Meanwhile, Taylor is preparing for a rematch of his own with Pavlik on February 16th and would not be available until June or July. Also, if Taylor gets knocked out again by Pavlik, he would not be as attractive an opponent for Wright. We will know more in February.

Wright vs. Oscar De La Hoya:

This is the junior middleweight match hinted about earlier. Rumor had it that Winky was trying to convince Oscar into making a mega-fight at junior middleweight. Apparently, De La Hoya is more interested in a fight with Cotto or Hatton at welterweight in May 2008. If somehow it were to come together, this fight would represent the biggest payday of Winky’s career. The outcome of this match up is unclear, but is would be competitive skill wise and should be an entertaining fight for the fans. HBO could even do a 24/7 for this fight, giving boxing fans and enthusiasts a glimpse into the life of Winky Wright.

Wright vs. Arthur Abraham:

Arthur Abraham is not very well known in the United States. Stylistically, it would be a good match up. This fight has its pros and cons. On the positive side, Wright would be fighting for Abraham’s IBF belt. On the negative side, the money probably wouldn’t be right for Wright to consider this fight. It would be a good scrap if it came together, though.

Wright vs. Felix Sturm:

See the Abraham match up. Sturm is not that well know in the States, but again, it would be a good match up. Sturm is not as physical as Abraham, and this fight would also give Wright the chance to win a middleweight belt: the WBA belt.

Time will Tell

Only Winky Wright knows what the future of his career holds. Will he hang up the gloves at the age of 36 and focus on building his company or does he have a few more fights left in him? I would think the latter; Wright would more than likely want to go out on a high note. A loss to Bernard Hopkins is not exactly a high note. But no matter what Wright chooses to do, he has provided boxing fans many great fights and memorable moments.

Nothing is worse than a fan watching a favorite boxer fighting past his prime – many are calling for Evander Holyfield to call it quits. But at 36, Wright is no Holyfield. Similarly, Wright is no Antonio Tarver, who at 39 looked every bit of it in his victory Saturday night. Maybe at age 36, Winky Wright still feels that he has a few years of top level boxing left in him. If he did, it wouldn’t surprise too many people. Many boxers still look fresh in their mid to late thirties – ask Joe Calzaghe (age 35) if you don’t believe me.

Article posted on 03.12.2007

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