20.07.07 – By Vivek Wallace: Despite the initial pessimistic buzz on the streets, the closer we get to tonight’s showdown between Bernard Hopkins (47-4, 32KO’s) and Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright (51-3, 25KO’s), one can’t help but feel the anticipation in the air. The melee at yesterday’s weigh-in certainly added to the sudden hype as it appears the two actually have come to fight..
Many experts have given their take on this fight but in an effort to strip away all the ‘fat’ and simply ‘cut the cheese’, I’m gonna layout exactly what the outcome of this fight will come down to.
‘Winky’ Wright has been one of the best defenders of this era. His impenetrable style makes him a one of the toughest fighters to hit, let alone defeat. Usually this trait works as a major advantage, but in a strange way, this will probably serve as a disadvantage as the judges will go into the fight feeling that they already know what he has to offer. Even if ‘Winky’ shoots the jab and keeps ‘B-Hop’ at bay, Hopkins – between the two – is perceived as more of the ‘game’ fighter and will probably get the benefit of the doubt in close rounds if ‘Winky’ doesn’t come in aggressive to nullify that perception of his fight style early.
Another thing to play a major role is that as great a fighter as ‘Winky’ is, he’s entering unchartered waters at the assigned catch weight for this fight (170 lbs). When taking a deep look at Wright’s past, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that his power is not a factor. This theory is supported by the fact that he has only knocked out two fighters since 1999. Making it even worst, neither of those two relatively unknown fighters (Derrick Graham and Jason Papillion), were above the light-middleweight division (154 lbs) which spells trouble for a guy who only has three fights north of 157 lbs in his career himself.
Even if ‘Winky’ comes in in tip-top shape and plans to wear down the aging Hopkins, taking a pounding for 12 rounds from a beast like this will be a tough mountain to climb for a man who’s simply never been there or done that.
For Hopkins, it comes right back down to that three letter word. A–G–E–.
For most, to age means a lack of youthful progression, however, for Hopkins those three letters equate to an acronym meaning ‘A Greater Education’. Hopkins’ experience gives him an edge and he’s been doing it at this weight for quite a long time. Winky’s jab is as steady as they come but what will the effects be if Hopkins isn’t fazed and feels totally comfortable walking through the jab to land one of his patented lead rights, followed by his dangerous left cross?
If anyone can make Hopkins’ age surface it’s ‘Winky’ Wright, but the odds in this fight stack up against him in more ways than one. I’ll stop short of a prediction but let the facts speak for themselves.
Height advantage goes to Hopkins (BH: 6’1″ / WW: 5’10”). Reach advantage goes to Hopkins (BH: 75′ / WW: 72′). Age advantage goes to ‘Winky’ (WW: 35/ BH: 42). Experience – in weight class – goes to Hopkins.
So far it looks like a B-Hop night, but check out these jinx factors.
Hopkins is 0-1 lifetime at the Mandalay Bay. ‘Winky’ is a solid 3-0 under that same roof. Advantage ‘Winky’.
‘Winky’ is 3-0, 2KO’s all-time in July. Hopkins is 3-1, 3KO’s all-time in July. No advantage.
‘Winky’ is 3-0-1 against fighters above 159 lbs. Hopkins is 36-4-1 against fighters above 159 lbs. Major Advantage to Hopkins.
Winky Wright hasn’t knocked an opponent out in more than 8 yrs, and considering both were in Miami, Florida, we can definitely rule out a ‘Winky’ KO. Advantage Hopkins.
And perhaps the biggest jinx factor of them all……
Hopkins’ career started as a light heavyweight with a loss. Could it end in the same division with the same fate? Advantage unknown, but by this time tomorrow the answer, and eventual victor of this fight will be.
(Got Feedback: Write Vivek Wallace at email@example.com or show some love at myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)