Winky Wright-Felix Trinidad: Can Winky Win While Being Forced Back?

24.01.05 - By Frank Lotierzo - - When breaking down a fight and trying to handicap who will win, there are many things that can be taken into the equation to justify why you pick Fighter-A over Fighter-B. The one that is the most tried and tested is the style match up between the fighters. Hence leading to the most often quoted moniker in boxing, "Styles Make Fights." And more often than not, fighting style usually dictates the outcome in most bouts between two equally matched and skilled fighters.

Something else can also be factored in to help evaluate the fight. And not only is it rudimentary, but it's often overlooked. The fact is that most fighters are vulnerable to a certain style, or cannot fight effectively when forced to fight a specific way. Sometimes when you can determine what fighter is going to move to or move away from their opponent, you can better play out the fight in your head.

This past November we saw the rematch between Winky Wright and Shane Mosley. Anyone who has seen Wright fight knows that he usually tries to push the fight and force his opponent to move back. It was no secret that he was going to fight Mosley in that fashion. The question was could Mosley be effective while moving away, or could he force Wright back limiting his effectiveness and aggression? As we saw over the course of 12 rounds, Mosley being the naturally smaller man didn't have the strength or the guns big enough to make Wright tapper his aggression. Wright won the fight and went up 2-0 vs Mosley. The fact that Wright was able to physically dictate in both fights against Mosley is the biggest reason why he's undefeated against him in two meetings.

For the last few days reports have been popping up that Wright will fight Felix Trinidad in a non-title middleweight bout some time in May. The winner is promised a shot at undisputed middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins after his upcoming defense next month against Howard Eastman.

It just so happens that Trinidad can only fight effectively moving forward and pressing the action. If you're Wright, Now what? Most likely the guy that is forced back is the one who will lose. So who will be the fighter retreating? I believe it's pretty safe to assume Wright will be the fighter who will be moving away. And that's because Trinidad is clearly the bigger two handed puncher and stronger fighter. If Wright elects to hold his ground, he'll play right into Tito's hands. Wright has shown that he has plenty of character and heart, but he doesn't have the punch to engage Trinidad and come out on top.

In his fight with undisputed middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins, Trinidad was able to press the fight. The only problem for Trinidad was Hopkins fights his most effective when his opponent moves to him. So what you had in Hopkins-Trinidad was Hopkins' strength meeting Trinidad's strength. The difference in the fight was Hopkins' steel chin enabled him to take Trinidad's best, and his overall better skill and versatility enabled him to break Trinidad down over the course of 11 rounds before stopping him in the 12th. However, Hopkins is the only middleweight in the world that Trinidad fighting his fight eventually leads to his undoing.

Wright being a southpaw doesn't really give him much of and edge against Trinidad since Tito will be trying to make him fight, or at least fight him off. That's puts him in a strategic dilemma on how he goes about fighting and countering Trinidad. Wright is probably his best when he can move forward working behind his jab, but that would figure to be exactly what Trinidad would hope for him to do and definitely plays to his strength.

Wright is a rare fighter in that he likes to pressure his opponent, but he really doesn't have a big time finishing punch that is needed when fighting that style. Not many fighters have been successful to the degree that Wright has who liked to press the fight but didn't have a punch in their arsenal that would qualify them as being a puncher. In that he is definitely unique fighter.

On the other hand Trinidad is a natural puncher, he can't step back or away from his opponent and be effective. If somehow Wright was able to keep Trinidad from walking him down with impunity, or force him to go back, he wins the fight. That sounds convincing on paper, however executing it successfully in the ring on fight night is a different story. In my opinion, Wright doesn't have the tools needed to back Trinidad up outside of maybe in short spurts.

Matching up with Wright is something that Trinidad probably feels pretty good about. In Wright he probably sees a fighter who doesn't have a punch in his arsenal that can keep him from fighting his fight. When he runs the fight through in his head, he probably sees Wright moving back and away from him. Which works to his advantage for two reasons. One, if Wright is moving away and trying to box him, he's succeeded in making Wright change for him and going away from the style he's been most effective. The other thing this does is establish Trinidad as the fighter who is physically dictating the fight.

Winky Wright vs. Felix Trinidad is an intriguing fight to look forward to. It's about as intriguing a fight that I can think of in which I can only envision one fighter winning it.

Article posted on 25.01.2005

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