26.01.03 – By Jay Heater: Wright’s style of cutting up opponents from all angles instead of standing toe-to-toe isn’t appealing to television, promoters. RONALD “WINKY” WRIGHT is the IBF junior middleweight champ, but lately he has been throwing more insults than punches. That’s unfortunate, according to Wright, who said he would much rather prove his ability in a boxing ring. Instead of defending his world title belt against an Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley or Fernando Vargas, he climbs into the ring Nov. 8 against No. 6-ranked contender Angel Hernandez on the undercard of the Roy Jones-Antonio Tarver light-heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas. Both fights will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 6 P.M. PT / 9 P.M. ET.
Wright, of St. Petersburg, Fla., is having trouble rounding up opponents because of his style. He is a lighter version of heavyweight champ Chris Byrd, a guy who cuts up his opponents from all angles instead of standing toe-to-toe. “It goes to show people that a good boxer will beat a good puncher,” Wright said. “HBO makes you think boxing is just fighting. It’s not called fighting.
“TV wants you to go toe-to-toe, get your head knocked off and become brain-dead so you can’t talk. Then people say you stayed in the ring too long.”
On Thursday, Wright had his public relations man, Fred Sternburg, put out a release ripping Vargas for fighting journeyman Tony Marshall on Dec. 12 in Tucson, Ariz. “Vargas is not a warrior,” Wright said in the release. “He is a complete wreck.”
Vargas defended his IBF title against Wright with a 12-round, majority decision on Dec. 4, 1999 and Wright said he would love to give Vargas a shot at that same title now that he is champ. “We’ve been offering Vargas a shot at the title,” Wright said. “He doesn’t want to fight me.”
Vargas responded on Thursday. “I made Winky Wright with a close fight,” Vargas said. “That’s the bottom line. Nobody knew who he was. And nobody wants to see him now, not even his own family wants to see him. Nobody wants to see a slap fest. Take it for what it’s worth.”
If Wright continues to defend his title, though, Vargas will eventually have to deal with him. Vargas said he wants to unify the titles.
Wright goes so far to say that if he is getting a huge payday — think $4 or $5 million — he would be willing to do a little toe-to-toe slugging. “If they paid me that much to fight De La Hoya, I guarantee that Oscar is going out on his back,” Wright said.
“But I’m not going to go 12 rounds toe-to-toe just to impress HBO.”
Promoter Bob Arum once tried to put together a Shane Mosley-Winky Wright fight, but Wright wasn’t happy with the money. “I wouldn’t fight Mosley for the money I was offered,” Wright said. “At first they were saying $1.2 million, and then I was going to get $800,000. It turned out that I would have walked away with about $300,000 and I wouldn’t fight Mosley for that. It’s a business and I’m here to make money. I’m not stupid.”
Wright split with Arum and signed with Roy Jones Jr.
“I hadn’t met Roy but for him to step up, that was a blessing,” Wright said. “I am with him until the end.”
Whether he gets a big-name fighter in the ring remains to be seen. “If they want to prove their the best, then let them fight me,” Wright said. “If not, move on.
“If I want to call in quits tomorrow, I will. I don’t have a lavish lifestyle. I don’t owe anyone anything.”
Wright, 31, said he will turn his attention toward getting middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins in the ring. “I feel I’m the best and I want to go challenge the best,” Wright said. “I know it would be a good fight against Hopkins. He isn’t a one-dimensional fighter. He always is in great shape and he knows the game.”