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Forrest dominates Baldomir for WBC 154lb Championship!

On Saturday night, in a battle between two former Welterweight Champions, Vernon Forrest won an entertaining unanimous decision over Carlos Baldomir to win the vacant WBC Super Welterweight Championship. The belt was vacated by Floyd Mayweather, Jr, who is moving back down to welterweight to maintain his status as Welterweight Champion.

In the first couple rounds, I wasn't particularly impressed with Forrest. He seemed to be holding back a little with his punches and doing more measuring than anything else. I thought he was being gun shy. But he began to throw more punches, hard and precise punches, from the third round on. Baldomir's punches were coming slower and slower as the rounds progressed.

Forrest punished Baldomir endlessly with left hooks and right crosses. He put on a brilliant display of textbook boxing, frustrating Baldomir and hitting him with some punishing shots. Baldomir has a head of iron, as many of those punches coming from Forrest would've knocked out most super welterweights. Baldomir managed to stun Forrest momentarily in round nine, but while holding Forrest's head down, Forrest hit him with a low blow.

At that point, the referee immediately deducted a point from Forrest. Initially, it appeared as though Forrest hit Baldomir low to get out of trouble and recover from being stunned, but in the replay, it was clear that Baldomir was holding his head down. In the end, it was irrelevant as Forrest had landed enough clean shots and outboxed Baldomir enough to win a lopsided unanimous decision. Scores: 118-109 (twice), 116-111. Boxing Chronicles scored it 117-110 for Forrest, giving Baldomir rounds three and nine (making round round nine a 10-8 round for Baldomir because of the point deduction from Forrest).

Forrest is now the WBC Super Welterweight Champion, in a division that is somewhat dead at this point. Both Oscar De la hoya and Mayweather are moving back down to welterweight. Kassim Ouma has moved up to middleweight. Winky Wright is surely coming back down from 170lbs, but probably not as low as 154lbs.

We shall see who Forrest has to fight at 154lbs. Somebody could come along looking to challenge him for that belt. Maybe a unification match with WBA titlist Joachim Alcine, who recently dethroned Travis Simms? Perhaps another unification with IBF champion Cory Spinks, who recently lost a split decision in a title challenge to Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor and will probably come back down to 154lbs?

Yeah, I'm not sure where Forrest goes from here, other than home to rest for a while before making his next move. I will say that was definitely Forrest's best showing since the Mosley fights in 2002, prior to losing two consecutive fights to Ricardo Mayorga the following year.

Television: HBO Boxing After Dark

Berto gets by Rivera

On Friday night, at the Saratoga Springs City Center, young undefeated welterweight contender Andre Berto came back from a sixth round knockdown to beat up and outpoint gatekeeper and former title challenger Cosme Rivera over ten rounds. For the first five rounds, Berto pursued Rivera in an attempt to knock him out and won those rounds easily, but got careless in the sixth round when Rivera caught Berto with an uppercut that dropped and stunned the young undefeated contender. Berto rose to his feet and continued. The knockdown was towards the end of the round.

However, there was some controversy in the corner, as Berto's trainer changed his right glove, which took longer than the allotted one minute that fighters are given to rest in between rounds. The process of changing the glove took at least two and a half minutes, giving Berto plenty of time to recover from the knockdown. In round seven, Berto managed to open up a cut over Rivera's right eye with a punch. The cut seemed to fuel the fully-recovered Berto, as he remained the aggressor and punished a bloodied Rivera for the remaining four rounds and went on to win a lopsided unanimous decision. Scores: 97-92, 98-91 (twice).

Due to his persistent attack and susceptibility to taking punches, we realize Berto has the crowd pleasing style to become the ideal television fighter, but the jury is out whether or not he can rise to the elite level of the talent-laden welterweight division. Those are some big dogs up at the top of the heap, and Berto would at least need some major improvements in his defense in order to compete with those champions and top contenders. He focuses primarily on offense, and isn't as careful as he should be in dealing with the punches coming back at him. Hence, him suffering the first knockdown of his career in this fight.

Berto did get the somewhat lopsided decision win over Rivera. He didn't struggle nearly as much as Joel Julio did in his controversial split decision over Rivera, but also didn't blow Rivera out the way then-champion Zab Judah was able to do in his title defense against him two years ago.

Television: ESPN2 Friday Night Fights

Big fights upcoming this fall and winter!

The Super Middleweight Championship Unification between WBO Champion Joe Calzaghe and WBC/WBA Titlist Mikkell Kessler is a done deal for November 3. The fight will take place in Denmark, which is Kessler's home turf. Congratulations to both of those undefeated champions for finally agreeing to face each other. The only question is, will the fight be televised in the states? Hopefully HBO gets this fight, considering that the network has been showing interest in Calzaghe by televising his last couple of fights, and also Kessler in televising his last title defense against Librado Andrade.

Top Rank's Bob Arum and Golden Boy's Richard Schaffer met with each other earlier this week in an attempt to settle differences and make some of the biggest matches in boxing that fans want to see take place. Some of the biggest and best matchups that can be made in the sport happen to be between Top Rank and Golden Boy fighters. Knowing the long term feud that has been ensuing between these two promotional firms, it is a good sign that they both came together for their meeting.

An even better sign is the progress that has been made in making the match between WBA Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto and Former Three Division Champion Sugar Shane Mosley. In fact, that fight is almost a done deal. Everybody is waiting on the approval of Mosley and his wife/manager Jin to seal the deal. Once this happens, the fight is set for November 10 at Madison Square Garden and will be televised on HBO PPV. Cotto vs Mosley would, in my opinion, not only be one of the biggest fights to happen this year, but would also be THE most SIGNIFICANT fight to take place this year. That's right folks. That is the most significant fight that could happen this year. Why? That will be a separate post.

On December 8, briefly retired (who are we kidding, we all knew he was only vacationing!) Pound for Pound Picasso Floyd Mayweather Jr will come out of retirement to defend his Welterweight Championship against Jr Welterweight Kingpin Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton. Hatton has continously spewed venom Mayweather, siting that his fights are not exciting and he is not the big draw he thinks he is. He believes he's the bigger star and points to the attendance at his fight against Jose Luis Castillo at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas (Mayweather's hometown) as proof of his ability to sell tickets and sell a fight. This type of trash talk has lured the Pound for Pound King out of retirement.

Therefore, Mayweather has decided to grant Hatton his wish and give him a fight. In addition to that, Mayweather is a smart businessman. He knows an attractive money making opportunity when he sees one. He knows just how great that attendance was at the Hatton vs Castillo fight and that a fight between The Hitman and himself could only generate more money and an even greater crowd. Even though a majority of those fans at the Hatton vs Castillo fight had traveled from Great Britain to see Hatton, those are still asses in paid seats regardless!

As we all know, Hatton once moved up to the welterweight division to take on then-WBA Welterweight Champion Luis Collazo. He was barely successful in winning a close and controversial decision over Collazo to take his belt. Soon afterwards, he discovered that welterweight was not a good division for his body and he moved back to 140lbs, without even giving Collazo his rematch. Now, a year and a half later, Hatton plans to move back up to 147lbs for the biggest fight of his life against Mayweather. The fight, which will happen in Las Vegas, will either be staged at the Mandalay Bay or the MGM Grand.

Updated Pound for Pound list!

Following this weekend's Light Heavyweight Championship fight between future Hall of Famers and Top five pound for pounders Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright, there has been a slight change in the Pound for Pound Rankings at Boxing Chronicles. On Saturday night, Hopkins retained his World Light Heavyweight Championship with a unanimous decision over Wright. Click here to see the updated rankings.

Boxing Chronicles Scorecard: Katsidis -vs- Amonsot

Here is my scorecard, round by round, of Katsidis vs Amonsot

Round 1: 10-9 Katsidis
Round 2: 10-8 Katsidis Total: 20-17
Round 3: 10-9 Amonsot Total: 29-27 Katsidis
Round 4: 10-9 Amonsot Total: 38-37 Katsidis
Round 5: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 48-46 Katsidis
Round 6: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 58-55 Katsidis
Round 7: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 68-64 Hopkins
Round 8: 10-9 Amonsot Total: 77-74 Katsidis
Round 9: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 87-83 Katsidis
Round 10: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 97-91 Katsidis
Round 11: 10-9 Amonsot Total: 106-101 Katsidis
Round 12: 10-9 Katsidis

Total: 116-110 Michael Katsidis. 8-4.

Official Scores: 116-110, 115-111, and 114-112.

Boxing Chronicles Scorecard: Hopkins -vs- Wright

Here is my scorecard, round by round, of Hopkins vs Wright:

Round 1: 10-9 Hopkins
Round 2: 10-9 Wright Total: 19-19
Round 3: 10-9 Wright Total: 29-28 Wright
Round 4: 10-9 Wright Total: 39-37 Wright
Round 5: 10-9 Hopkins Total: 48-47 Wright
Round 6: 10-9 Hopkins Total: 57-57
Round 7: 10-9 Hopkins Total: 67-66 Hopkins
Round 8: 10-9 Hopkins Total: 77-75 Hopkins
Round 9: 10-9 Wright Total: 86-85 Hopkins
Round 10: 10-9 Wright Total: 95-95
Round 11: 10-9 Hopkins Total: 105-104 Hopkins
Round 12: 10-9 Hopkins

Total: 115-113 Bernard Hopkins. 7-5.

Official Scores: 116-112, 117-111 (twice).

Hopkins upsets Wright; retains Light Heavyweight Championship

Last night, I made my way over to the Bistro Sports Bar in East Hanover on Rt 10. In my humble opinion, that is the number one sports bar in NJ for sporting events like big boxing matches. Back on May 5, I made my debut visit to the Bistro for the De la hoya vs Mayweather fight, and the bar was pretty much packed to maximum capacity. One must take into account that that was also on Cinco De Mayo weekend.

Anyway, I went there again last night for Hopkins vs Wright fight, which was the second biggest fight of the year from a promotional standpoint behind De la hoya vs Mayweather. There were not as many folks at the Bistro last night, but the attendance was still pretty substantial. Fans in the background were chanting, "You'll be collecting social security after tonight, Hopkins! ..... Way to take on Freddy Roach as a trainer .... he really helped Oscar against Mayweather!" and so on and so forth. But, as you can see....

Bernard Hopkins UD12 Winky Wright
Retains World Light Heavyweight Championship

Hopkins vs Wright represented a showdown between two of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport today.

As it turned out live at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV last night, Hopkins won a unanimous decision over Wright by scores of 116-112, 117-111 (twice). Immediately upon hearing those scores, I felt as though they were too wide. The fight was closer in my opinion, as Boxing Chronicles scored it 115-113 for Hopkins. Due to an unintentional headbutt in round two, Wright fought most of the way with a deep gash over his left eye.

The fight, in my eyes, was closer than the judges saw it. The official scores were definitely way too wide, but the fight itself pretty much went exactly how I predicted. Hopkins, being a notoriously slow starter, lost the early rounds to the busier, more aggressive, and more effective Wright. By the middle rounds, however, Wright was not firing his shots as frequently and Hopkins began to throw punches in bunches (whether or not they were landing cleanly). He was outworking Wright, and many people felt it would be the other way around. Not bad for a 42 year old veteran.

Hopkins also initiated a lot of holding and clinching, more than I wanted to see. It was pretty ugly, but if he could get away with it, more power to him. He wasn't JUST holding. I saw him firing combinations, and then tying up Wright. Wright faded down the stretch as I suspected would be the case. Hopkins goes from cold to hot and Wright is just the opposite. Hopkins sealed the deal in the last four rounds. Having said all of that, BOTH men are past their primes. Max Kellerman is spot on with that assessment.

Where do both combatants go from here? It was pretty clear last night that Wright is no light heavyweight, as he openly admitted prior to the fight. I'd like to see Wright move down to 160 or even 154lbs. A fight with Oscar probably makes the most sense for him at this time. I'd like to see that fight. Wright should either try to milk the Golden cash cow Oscar De la hoya for a fight at 154lbs, or come to some sort of agreement for a rematch with Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor at 160lbs.

As for Hopkins, he made it clear that he would like to fight the Calzaghe/Kessler winner in late fall or winter. Whoever the winner of that fight (Calzaghe/Kessler) ends up being probably stands a very good chance of defeating Hopkins whenever that fight ensues, if it does.

Jorge Linares TKO 10 Oscar Larios
Wins Interim WBC Featherweight Title

Jorge Linares displayed some beautiful text book combination punching and ring generalship to dominate and beat down former Super Bantamweight Champion Oscar Larios. The fight was mercifully stopped in the 10th round. Linares, undefeated with a record of 23-0, 14 KOs, is vastly becoming a player in the feather weight division. He's hot young contender with plenty of skill and ability. Perhaps he can fight the winner of the IBF Featherweight Title fight between Champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero and Rocky Juarez. His dominant performance over Larios last night impressed me!

Michael Katsidis UD 12 Czar Amonsot
Retains Interim WBO Lightweight Championship

Michael Katsidis remained undefeated against Czar Amonsot, but fought with the physical handicap of two deep cuts above a rapidly swelling left eye as well as a cut underneath his right eye. Katsidis left eye immediately began to swell in the 2nd round, product of an Amonsot punch. Therefore, Katsidis was always in danger of having the fight stopped in his opponent's favor, due to the state of his face. Katsidis managed to drop Amonsot in round 2, but lost rounds three and four when Amonsot momentarily boxed his way back into the fight behind his southpaw right jab. Katsidis would get a second wind, as he once again began to pressure Amonsot and throw the bombs that he was throwing in the first two rounds. As the cuts and swelling got worse, and the referee took Katsidis over to the doctor for examinations in a couple occasions, urgency set in and Katsidis went all out with hard combination punches to once again drop Amonsot in the 1oth round. Katsidis will to win and ability to fight under fire and pressure really impressed me. He went on to win a unanimous decision by scores of 116-110, 115-111, and 114-112. Boxing Chronicles saw it 116-110 for Katsidis. Katsidis has the face of an Arturo Gatti and the fighting style as well as punching power (for a lightweight) of a Mike Tyson. He also has a major will to win. Through adversity, and two badly damaged eyes, Katsidis remained undefeated and raised his record to 23-0. 20KOs. This fall, WBA Lightweight Champion Juan "Baby bull" Diaz and IBF Lightweight Champion Julio Diaz are set to meet in a unification fight. Katsidis showed me that he's a terrific television fighter and he's a fighter with a lot of heart. I really want to see Katsidis against Juan Diaz. That matchup has Boxing After Dark blue-plate special written all over it. That would be an exciting, intriguing, and perhaps inspiring showdown!

Librado Andrade TKO 2 Ted Muller

Coming off a punishing one sided decision loss to WBA/WBC Super Middleweight Champion Mikkell Kessler, Librado Andrade returned with a win last night, beating up and stopping Ted Muller in two rounds. Muller didn't even appear to belong in the same ring and class with Andrade. Andrade, soundly beaten by Kessler in his previous fight, still showed fans nonetheless that he comes to fight and gave viewers an exciting two round destruction to enjoy leading up to the rest of fights on the card.

Hopkins -vs- Wright Preview and Prediction

Tomorrow night, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV, two of the best pound for pound fighters in the world will be squaring off in one of the biggest fights of the year thus far. Perhaps, the second biggest fight of the year behind De la hoya vs Mayweather.

Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins will meet Former Undisputed Super Welterweight Champion Ronald Winky Wright at a catchweight of 170lbs. Though the light heavyweight limit is 175lbs, the agreed upon weight is 170lbs and Ring Magazine has allowed these fighters to fight for championship at that weight.

After suffering two consecutive yet disputed defeats to Jermain Taylor in 2005, Hopkins made the decision to move from the middleweight division straight up to the light heavyweight division to face then-champion Antonio Tarver in an attempt to do what his idol Sugar Ray Robinson could not. Go straight from middleweight to light heavyweight to beat the light heavyweight champion of his time. Hopkins did exactly that and he did it impressively.

Following his inspiring and one sided title winning victory over Antonio Tarver in June of last year, Hopkins made it clear that that was going to be his farewell fight. He made the promise to his deceased mother that he would not fight beyond 42 years of age. Weeks later, he was back in the gym. Talks of a fight with WBC Heavyweight Champion Oleg Maskaev as well as nemesis and Former Pound for Pound King Roy Jones, Jr had transpired but those fights never quite materialized. So what was the next best option? A fight with fellow elite pound for pound boxer Winky Wright.

After years of laboring in obscurity by fighting over in Europe for little money, Wright would eventually reach prominence with a unanimous decision victory over Sugar Shane Mosley in March of 2004 to unify all of the titles in the super welterweight division. Following that eye-opening victory, Wright had finally garnered the attention that he had worked so hard to get and placed himself amongst the top pound for pound boxers in the world.

Following yet another victory by means of majority decision over Mosley in November of 2004, Wright agreed to face come backing Felix Tito Trinidad in his debut at the middleweight limit. The fight took place on May 14, 2005 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas NV. Wright dominated every minute of every round primarily with his right southpaw jab, white washing the Puerto Rican superstar enroute to a one-sided unanimous decision victory.

Boxing fans and media were calling for a showdown between Wright and Hopkins for Hopkins middleweight championship. With Taylor scoring two decision victories over Hopkins, it was Taylor whom Wright would go on to face in June of 2006. Taylor and Wright fought to a split decision draw in a fight that not only proved to be the most exciting middleweight championship fight in years, but also led most experts to believe that Wright had done enough to deserve the decision. That doesn't really matter at this point in time, as the Taylor vs Wright fight is merely water under the bridge.

Hopkins has come out of retirement and Wright has been unable to secure a rematch with Taylor. That leads us to the tomorrow night's light heavyweight showdown in Las Vegas.

These are the facts. Winky Wright is a southpaw, one of the craftest southpaws currently fighting. Bernard Hopkins happens to boast a 10-0 record against southpaws, with nine of those victories coming by way of knockout. Wright and Hopkins both fought Taylor in close, hotly contested matches that ended in disputed decisions. Winky's best weapon is his right jab. Hopkins has the ability to take his opponent's jab away, as he did to Jermain Taylor when they fought. Hopkins has fought at the weight limit of 175lbs on two occasions (against Tarver and one other time in his pro debut in a fight that he lost), while Wright has not fought beyond the limit of 160lbs. Hopkins has nicknamed Wright "The Turtle" due to his almost impenatrable defense. Can Hopkins penatrate that defense? Will Wright use his slick southpaw style to outwork Hopkins, not get hit, and do enough to make The Executioner look every bit of his age???


I see Wright looking very slick and very solid early on, possibly taking four of the first six rounds from Hopkins. Hopkins is more or less a slow starter. He tends to start cold and then heats up as the fight progresses. Wright, on the other hand, starts reasonably fast and has shown a tendency to choke down the stretch (most notably against Fernando Vargas in December of 1999). Wright uses his jab to keep Hopkins occupied for about six rounds.

Midway through the fight, I believe Hopkins' offense will begin to heat up, after he senses the urgency, and he will start attacking like a dog with more ferocity and will gradually increase his punch output as well as accuracy to force Wright into a more defensive posture.

Hopkins will fight aggressively down the stretch, rounds 8 through 12, in a fight that shifts from what originally appears to be moving towards a decisive Wright victory, to a fight that Hopkins becomes increasingly more dominant with his craftiness and toughness. The mid to late round surge should earn The Golden Boy East Excecutive a close unanimous decision.

Hopkins by Unanimous Decision. 115-113 on all three scorecards

Results from Saturday, July 14

Boardwalk Hall
Atlantic City, NJ

Kermit Cintron KO2 Walter Mattheyse
Retains IBF Welterweight Title

Alfonso Gomez TKO 7 Arturo Gatti

Home Depot Center
Carson, CA

Paul Williams UD 12 Antonio Margarito
Wins WBO Welterweight Title

Mississippi Coast Coliseum
Biloxi, Mississippi

Roy Jones Jr UD 12 Anthony Hanshaw

Welterweight Trippleheader predictions!

Tomorrow night, live on HBO World Championship Boxing, three welterweight fights will take place, two of them being title matches.

Live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, Kermit Cintron will defend his belt against Walter Mattheyse. Mattheyse fought Paul Williams last summer and was stopped in 10 rounds. Cintron fought Antonio Margarito back in April of 2005 for Margarito's WBO belt and was broken down and stopped in five rounds. Since then, Cintron has rebounded with wins over David Estrada and Mike Suarez to win the vacant IBF belt.

Human highlight reel Arturo Gatti will take on Season One Contender Alfonso Gomez in a 10 round welterweight special attraction. What the point of this match is, I don't know! Maybe it's a farewell fight for Gatti, but earlier this week, Gatti indicated that he has no intentions of hanging up the gloves just yet.

Then live from Carson California, WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito defends his title against mandatory contender undefeated Paul Williams. Margarito was last seen against Joshua Clottey back in December of 2006 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Clottey dominated the first four rounds of that match and gave Margarito all he could handle until he hurt his hand and stopped firing in round five. Margarito gained control of the match from that point on and went on to win a close and somewhat disputed decision.

My predictions:

Margarito vs Williams

Williams has the height and reach advantages between the two combatants, even though he hasn't utilized those physical advantages in some fights. I believe he did what he had to do to prepare for Margarito. He's a very skilled fighter. Margarito throws a lot of punches, but I think Williams will avoid most of those or tie Margarito up when he has to. Williams needs to use his jab. He needs to control distance against Margarito. But even on the inside, Williams fights like an octopus and that is really going to trouble Antonio. I like Williams. Especially with Margarito being a 2-1 favorite. Williams might be a nice bet. He's a very LIVE dog.
Williams by UD.

Cintron vs Mattheyse

I'll take Cintron by a LATE stoppage, after going through some rocky moments early on. Mattheyse can punch with hands, and we've seen Cintron rocked by punchers on at least two occassions (Reid, Margarito) and stopped on one occasion (Margarito). However, I have a funny feeling Cintron learned a little something from that devastation he suffered at the hands of Margarito. Stewart had to teach him something and I believe Cintron will have learned enough to survive those early flurries on the part of Mattheyse to survive and come back to stop Mattheyse in the late rounds. Against Williams, Mattheyse tired pretty badly. He's a frontrunner. Cintron TKO 10.

Gatti vs Gomez

Gatti vs Gomez is almost a pointless fight at this stage. Gatti is a former world champion and Gomez is a Season One Contender. Nonetheless, Gatti is only a 2-1 favorite in this fight. I really don't know WHAT to expect. Gatti is well on his way out. He's in the same boat with Mike Tyson IMO, whereas you don't know exactly what will happen when Gatti enters the ring. We saw Tyson broken down at the hands of such notables as Danny Williams and Kevin McBride. For all we know, this could be Gatti's Williams or McBride. Maybe Gatti is COMPLETELY SHOT. Being off for a year may or may not have helped his cause here. We will find out tomorrow night. If he is not COMPLETELY SHOT, I like Gatti on points.
Gatti by decision.

Taylor -vs- Pavlik Official for September 29!

Taylor's last fight at middleweight will come against his great challenge, the legitimate number one middleweight contender!

Good news, found at Boxingtalk courtesy of Greg Leon! The World Middleweight Championship between defending Champion Jermain Taylor and Mandatory Challenger Kelly Pavlik was finalized today for September 29 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. This will be Taylor's last fight at the weight limit of 160lbs. It is understood that there is a rematch clause in the contract, but it stipulates that a rematch must happen at the Super Middleweight Limit of 168lbs. This means that we will see Taylor in another major test, this one finally coming against a legitimate middleweight for the first time in over a year. His last two defenses have come against Jr Middleweights Kassim Ouma and IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Cory Spinks. Pavlik, in the eyes of many, is the consensus number one contender in the middleweight division. Both combatants, Taylor and Pavlik, are undefeated. The fight will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing.

Mid summer boxing buzz!

Taylor, Pavlik, Calzaghe, Kessler, Marquez, Pacquiao, and more!

World Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor appeared to be scheduled for September 29th title defense against the consensus number one contender Kelly Pavlik. However, that fight has NOT been finalized, due to the question of whether Taylor can still make 160lbs.

In his last fight, Taylor defeated Current IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Cory Spinks via split decision in a performance that gave skeptics an additional reason to criticize the champion from Little Rock Arkansas. On the under card of that fight, Pavlik rose the occasion and upset the favored Edison Miranda via 7th round TKO. Previously, Miranda was being touted as the next middleweight champion, or the heir apparent so to speak, but Pavlik stole that glory with an inspiring performance that made fans and media want to see him against the Middleweight Champion of the World. This proposed middleweight title fight between these two unbeaten combatants would appear to be in jeopardy. Should Taylor refuse to take the fight due to the weight, look for him to move up to 168lbs at Super Middleweight.

Speaking of Super Middleweights, the much anticipated showdown between undefeated titlists, WBO Champion Joe Calzaghe and WBC/WBA Champion Mikkell Kessler has been finalized for November 3. The fight is set to take place in Cardiff, Wales. The televise network that it will be shown on remains unknown. I would HOPE that this fight is televised in the United States on one of the two major networks, HBO or Showtime. This match is way too big and highly significant not to be shown in the states. The Super Middleweight division is a division that is primarily taken over by Europeans, much like the Russians have claimed their dominance in the heavyweight division. I just hope that I get the chance to see Calzaghe and Kessler in action. It should be an outstanding prize fight. The winner of this match up will become the universally recognized World Super Middleweight Champion.

On October 6, there is a possibility that Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank will put their feud aside to match their fighters against each other in a big fight. That big fight is a rematch between Former Three Division Champion Marco Antonio Barrera and top Super Featherweight Contender and elite level pound for pounder Manny Pacquiao. This fight would be a rematch of their fight back on November 15, 2003, when Pacquiao dominated, destroyed, and demolished Barrera over 11 punishing rounds to claim the World Feather Championship.

On September 15, Juan Manuel Marquez is already set to make the first defense of his WBC Super Featherweight Championship against Former WBO Super Featherweight Champion Jorge Barrios. In my eyes, it would seem that these match ups were made backwards. Why these four fighters are paired the way they are at this time is beyond me. Marquez should paired with Pacquiao in a fight to settle the controversial draw they fought to at the featherweight limit back in May of 2004, while Barrera rebounds from his March 17 loss to Marquez against Barrios, who is also coming back from his split decision loss to Joan Guzman.

Just as they were the top two featherweights in the world going into their 2004 match, Pacquiao and Marquez are the leading lights at 130lbs right now. They have one draw under their belts. We need to see a winner in that fight. Barrera should be fighting Barrios to get himself back into the picture again for one last title run or big fight. Nonetheless, we have Marquez vs Barrios and the potential for Pacquiao vs Barrera II. I say "potential" because that fight has not been finalized as this goes to print.

Post fight reaction: Lamon Brewster!

By Knockout Publicity - "Relentless" Lamon Brewster, 33-4 (29 KO), is currently at home in Indiana resting up following his unsuccessful attempt to repeat his knockout ways over IBF Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. For the first time, he speaks on trainer Buddy McGirt's decision to stop the fight in the sixth round and his future plans.

"I didn't think that being off for 15 months would affect me," says Brewster. "The first time I fought him, I was off for 13 months. The difference is that last time I was in the gym training. Coming off of the eye injury, it was difficult because I couldn't train. I was rusty, even though I had a good training camp..

"Of the decision to stop the fight, Brewster says, "I did the best I could. I realized that it's better to live to fight another day. Buddy made the decision to stop the fight. I was saddened by it, but what could I do?"

Even while fighting in his opponent's hometown, Brewster didn't feel he'd be at too big a disadvantage. There were some quirks here and there, however. "The fans were cool with me up until the fight. I expected to hear some boos from the Klitschko fans in Germany. The worst thing was when the fans were throwing trash at me as I was leaving. That was uncalled for."

Brewster suffered a much-publicized eye injury during his previous bout with Sergei Lyakhovich, a detached retina that required three surgeries to repair. The injury didn't play a significant role in the fight.

"I didn't feel bothered by it. Naturally I thought about it when I was getting hit with the jabs. I didn't want to mess around and re-injure the eye."

Lamon didn't note any improvements in Wladimir's skill level, but does feel that "he fought a better strategy" this time around.

Ever the sportsman, Lamon gives all the credit to Wladimir Klitschko for his victorious performance. "I rank him number one in the division. Until I can prove once again that I'm number one, he is the top heavyweight."

"I think Klitschko should get the recognition he deserves. After the first time we fought, everyone was saying that he was a bum. He's not a bum, I was just the better man that night. People say he had a weak chin because he got knocked out by Corrie Sanders, but Sanders is a big puncher.

"Lamon plans to return to the ring in three months for a tune-up bout to shake off the ring rust, followed by one more fight. After that, he wants a rubber match to settle the score with Wladimir. "This time next year, since we're tied 1-1, let's do this again to settle the score.

"In a third fight, Brewster says he'd apply more pressure to force Klitschko to fight more than he did Saturday night.

To the detractors, Brewster implores them to stay tuned.

"Keep watching. You can think I'm washed up if you want to. Look at Wladimir, what did they say about him when he got stopped? It doesn't mean I'm washed up. It was his night, God Bless him. But I'll see you again."

As for his fans and supporters, Brewster assures the best is yet to come.

"I would like to apologize to anyone who had faith in me and supported me. I was mentally and spiritually ready for this fight. I can understand if you're mad at me, but give me a chance to prove myself again. I will be back with a vengeance."

Bernard Hopkins Conference Call Transcript

BERNARD HOPKINS, WORLD LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Firstly, I’m glad to be here on this conference call that everybody’s listening. Training’s going great. We’re winding down our fifth week in L.A. at the “The Blood”, that’s the name of the gym that they named it. Freddie Roach is really the throwback for a lushier type of gym. But I’m ready to answer any questions, so let’s go.

DARREN MOPHANI (ph), REUTERS: Thanks very much. Quick question for you, when you announced that you were coming out of retirement, initially you were talking very much about two names that you wanted to fight, which were Oleg Maskaev and Joe Calzaghe. Obviously you’ve picked a very, very good fight. It’s still the top elite fighters, which very rarely happens, but do you expect you’re making history by fighting for a heavyweight belt, or breaking history stopping Calzaghe making 21 defenses. Are you a little disappointed that either of those folks didn’t come off?

BERNARD HOPKINS: No, not really, because I knew that winning every championship would be – would be in the history line. And I understood that there were some out there that didn’t want to see my make that type of history. So, I wasn’t surprised about the, you know, the Maskaev fight. But, you know, I tried to make it happen and Richard tried to make it happen. As far as the Joe Calzaghe fight, as far as I’m concerned, I made my defenses in the middleweight division, 20, 21 defenses and Joe was making his in the super middleweight division, whether that adds the same as mine, because we fought two different divisions, then that’s debatable in history I guess or whenever they feel like they need to (INAUDIBLE) on doing it.But I’m not chasing Joe Calzaghe or anybody else; my legacy is what it is and I’ll just try to make the big fight for the fans, and no one was willing to again step up to fight over here in America that bring a name, to bring the fans out, and, of course, they have TV on board. Winky Wright is a guy that nobody likes to fight whether it’s his style (ph) or whatever. And so I like, you know, Bernard Hopkins has always been a guy to take the tough road and a hard road, and, you know, here we go. Winky Wright is the guy that I chose not because I thought it was going to be easy, because it’s not, and I know that I have to look good where he makes you look bad.So, I have to really, you know, mentally and physically have my whole work cut out for me and I will come July 21st.

DARREN MOPHANI (ph): Do you feel a little bit liberated now and you don’t have to worry about any mandatory defenses, anything like that? You’re in a position in your career right now where you can essentially pick and choose in your final stages of your career who you want to fight based on, I assume, what you consider to be an interesting and challenging fight. Is that liberating to you?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Let me tell you, I hope that’s not the most, I guess, great question from, you know, in the next couple of minutes or 20, or 30 minutes, because to me it’s a luxury. It’s a luxury that I never hard, and it’s a great question and I’m going to give you the best answer for it because, you know, you don’t have to worry about the politics on that end of it. You don’t have to worry about being forced to fight someone else that no one cares about because you want to hold on as a young fighter, or a fighter that’s not as marketed as a De La Hoya or anybody else of that high standard. Then you have to either get punished or you have to do what they ask you to do. And last but most important thing, last but not, definitely not, least is that the Ring Belt is a belt that, you know, to me shows the boxing world and people who in each division rule. And I am that guy at 175, and I don’t have to pay a hefty sanctioning fee to echo that. So it is a luxury. I added that piece on to add on what you said earlier, it’s a great luxury to be in this position in my life that I work so hard for and at the end, I get to beat the – reap the benefits of what’s happening now. And trust me, you know, to pick and choose can get good or bad, because I’m not picking and choosing like Ward Jones (ph) did when he fought Rick Fraziers (ph), the firemen, the cops, school teacher, the gym teacher. I’m picking fights that some would say, why him? I mean, this guy here don’t, you know, you could (INAUDIBLE) because I want to be the guy that unsolved that puzzle, that mystery about his defense, about this and about that. That’s been Bernard Hopkins, doing what others would not dare do, and that’s why we’re here on July 21st.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS: I spoke to Mackie Shilstone (ph) and I also spoke to Pat Crochy (ph) and I asked them the question, why are guys like, and it doesn’t even have to be boxing like Jerry Rice (ph) and Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, and Bernard Hopkins able to exceed – succeed beyond their 40th birthday to the level that they do? And I asked, is there such a thing as a physical freak of nature? And they both agreed that hard work is a part of it, but that there are some athletes that are just blessed with whatever, you know, certain physical capacities that most human beings don’t have. Have you ever considered, you know, the fact that maybe you have a special gift, you know, that has enabled you to be as good as you are at 42 years of age?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes, in a way, but also really thinking about seriously taking a test on my DNA. I think that, you know, in the course of Bernard Hopkins being native born (ph), something split inside my system that, you know, that I guess extended where I’m at. I’m saying it’s like when you’re young, you know, you ate the bad foods, the candy bars, and stuff like that. I figured this is genetics; I figure it comes all the way back to genetics, and also taking care of yourself, and also being a guy that, you know, understands the sport, the physical part of the sport. To be able to understand it, you must give yourself a chance to win, and that means training, live right. That means everything that you can give yourself, and you still can come up rolling snake eyes when you step in that ring. There’s no guarantee when you step in that ring. You can have a sure bet but not a guaranteed bet, because things happen. You can win and suffer a detached retina. You can win and just suffer a blood clot. That’s what I mean by no guarantees.And I look at all that, earlier in my career and to everyone that’s listening now, I said, Bernard, to myself that I’m never going to do anything to not give myself a chance to win. That’s a real powerful statement. You got to understand between the lines of that statement. That means I take nothing, even running, even getting up 4:30 a.m. West Coast time, 6:30 a.m. East Coast time, to be able to run – well, 7:30 a.m. East Coast time, that means running, train, and run these mountains and get up without no alarm clock, without nobody knocking on my door. That is a profound discipline that I’ve followed over 20 – well, over 15 to 20 years of my career.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ: I know that you’ve also, you know, you’ve admired Philadelphia fighters like, you know, the Benny Brisco’s (ph) and the George Benton’s (ph), but, you know, you’re a guy who hasn’t, you know, I mean you used to say that you hadn’t eaten a donut in 20 years. That requires a tremendous amount of discipline.When you look at athletes like, you know, the Jerry Rice’s (ph), and the Nolan Ryan’s (ph) and Roger Clemens (ph) and stuff like that, I mean, you know, do you take anything from them? How much do you admire those guys for being able to succeed in their field like you have in yours at an age where you’re not supposed to?

BERNARD HOPKINS: You know, Bernard, you missed one name, and it’s one important name that I mentioned over the 14 years you’ve been writing about – writing about boxing, and I might be cheating you out of a year or two, but it goes back – I’m going to name a fighter. You named some important people, don’t get me wrong, especially J. Rice (ph), but I’m going to name a fighter that I always mentioned to you. When I took a page out of his book of discipline, of always coming in shape, never having an excuse, no one ever expected any guy like him to not be in shape whether he won or lost a fight, and that’s the great marvelous Marvin Hagler. The most disciplined fighter of my era; the most profound work habits that this guy had.When I watched Marvin Hagler in my era – Ray Robinson, of course, but in my era. That was history of old. But Marvin Hagler, I come out watching guys like him, I come out watching Marvin Hagler take on a young strong John “the Beast” Mugambi from 11 hard rounds, conditioned, experienced, and who wanted it the most won that fight. And that’s the page that I took my work habit from 15 plus years ago, Mr. Great Marvin Hagler.

ADAM SENZER, LAS VEGAS REVIEW: Hey, Bernard, quick question, yesterday in a conference call, Winky Wright said you were a “dirty fighter”. What kind of response do you have to that?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I mean, what am I going to do? – what I’m going to do, argue and plead that I’m not or that I am? I mean, to me anything that I do to a person that he feels that he got the right to do it bet, I mean, we are fighting and boxing. We are doing anything that fans want to see, a clear fight, and that’s what they’re going to do.To me, this is an excuse to try to, I guess, send a subliminal message out there that if things get rough and if things get tough, that he’s going to be a bitch that and he’s going to start crying and he’s going to want to touch gloves, and he’s going to want to act like this is a friendly outing. But, you understand? The thing is this, I don’t get into it when people say things about Bernard Hopkins till a point where it becomes something I have to really like defend. Because I’m a dirty fighter, and you mean to tell me that my history is based on filth? That my history and what I’ve established in boxing is based on being a dirty fighter? It’s an excuse that he wants to put out there so when he start doing what I say he was going to do, that the word I used, the four-letter word, then he wants to be able to say to everybody that because I beat his body up, because he has a four-inch waist band, the hottest ribs in his – like he’s wearing a girdle, then that’s all Winky Wright.I’m not going to say anything about Winky. I think Winky does a lot of things that he shouldn’t do, but it ain’t my job to say what he’s doing. It’s the referee job and its people who watch it. I mean, I’ve been called worse names than “dirty”. I take – I take it as a compliment.

ADAM SENZER: Well, that’s obviously one way to look at that. I appreciate that. And then also, you’ve admitted that you think Winky is a talented fighter and he’s a unique …


ADAM SENZER: a good fighter. Have you been doing anything different to train for this fight?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I’ve done things differently based on Bernard Hopkins being in L.A., Bernard Hopkins training with Freddie Roach for this particular fight and John David Jackson. I’ve done things different as, you know, being in L.A., knowing that the three-hour difference won’t be a factor now because I’m on the same time that Vegas is on. But as far as Winky style and what do I have to do different, he’s not the slickest soft pole (ph) that I fought – I fought many of them. I think I got nine knockouts out of 10. I had one of the most oldest slickest soft poles (ph) in my camp who’s the second trainer, John David Jackson. I’ve seen every soft pole (ph) that I could imagine on tape or even in the ring, and Winky Wright is not one of the slickest ones. He’s one of the adorable ones. Oh, he’s takes a licking and he keeps on ticking. Winky Wright has the ability to absorb a lot of punishment, and that’s where you’ll see a reincarnation (ph) of Bernard Hopkins and William Joppy, because I will never stop punching, but his face will change from round one, to round two, to round three or whenever his corner (ph) and the referee feels that he had enough .

EDDIE GOLDMAN (ph), SECOND VAULT RADIO: You know there are a lot of critics of this fight who were saying that even though you and Winky Wright are two of the greatest fighters still active today, they don’t expect it to be much of an exciting fight. I know you think differently. Could you answer those critics of that?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, I mean, what are you going to do? You can never please the critics. They say that me and Tarver (ph) fight. These are the same people that say that me and Tarver fight was going to be boring. But I guess they could say that it’s going to be boring because Bernard Hopkins worked hard every round and I almost knocked him out, and I guess, you know, then you would see it’s not being adrenaline. It’s taking it a little further than beyond that.I think that, you know, people have opinions and they’re entitled to it. You know, they always say that everybody has you know what, so everybody has that opinion. Critics of mine have been doubting me for years, but if they want to do themselves a disservice and their cable’s bill is paid up, and they show up July 21st and see what the fight’s going to pan out to be – pan out to be, I think it’s going to be, as a matter of fact on my end – on my end I’m bringing heat in the light heavyweight division like I said, in this new body, repeat myself, in this new body. I’m going to show that Bernard Hopkins is going to be very missed when he leaves, and that’s the statement I’m going to make.I’m definitely going to outdo June 10th of 2006, and I don’t have to tell who name that was because you’re only good as your last fight. But you thought you seen something last summer. This guy got the best beef into the world, right. Remember, everybody, I want you all to write that. I want you to understand what you all – believe what you all write, but then you’ve got the day after. And I’ve been – I’ve been always on my game of reminding you all, you know, that last press conference after the fact. Remember what you all said, and he has this. The best defense in the last 10 plus years of boxing, Winky Wright, I agree. Remember you all said that and then look at his face.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: And in this face, I believe he’s going in as the betting favorite at this point, any comments on that?


EDDIE GOLDMAN: Which Tarver (ph) was also and Felix Trinidad was also.

BERNARD HOPKINS: So what do you want me to answer?

EDDIE GOLDMAN: What’s your comment on that?

BERNARD HOPKINS: That’s the way it supposed to be written, ain’t it? I mean, you want me to comment on something that I – I mean, you want me to – maybe I had something to do with the underdog. I operate off that.I mean – I mean, that’s what – I mean, I think – I think – well, I know what the question was but I think it would be a situation would be like, well, Bernard, you’re the favorite this time. How do you take this one? I mean, come on, man, you know my history, Eddie. You’ve wrote about me for many years. You’ve been doing this …


BERNARD HOPKINS: for 10 plus years. Come on, man. I was the underdog – I was the underdog in my personal life. I mean, what else is new? Don’t you think you should know me by now to say well, damn (ph), this time he’s not the underdog? I’m that cartoon – I’m that cartoon character that had the cape on with the glasses, that little mouse that runs around and say he’s the underdog, he come to save the day.


BERNARD HOPKINS: What else is new? This is what I like. I mean, I wouldn’t be comfortable if I wasn’t the underdog. This is where I need to be. I need to be the underdog. I need for you to remember what everybody wrote, and this ain’t, you know, to get on anybody. I want you all to write this. This man has the best key sense in boxing. No one can figure it out. His elbows is low, he keeps his hands up, he has to be – those jabs like 100 times a round. Remember you all said that. Remember what you wrote and I’m going to remind you of it come July 22nd – 21st, the day after because it’ll be 12:00 a.m., so the fight would be gone. It would be Sunday.

KELLY SWANSON: Operator, before we take the next question, I just want to mention to everybody, which I was supposed to mention earlier in the call, that this Saturday, July 14th, is the premiere of “The Countdown to Hopkins-Wright”, an excellent show that will come on right after the Margarita-Williams fight on HBO. So again, it’s this Saturday, July 14th, immediately following the HBO live telecast of Margarita-Williams. Thank you and I’m going to turn it back to the call.

JOHN COTY (ph), ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, FLORIDA: I wanted to ask, there’s been a lot of talk about Winky’s style and how he’s been coming forward lately, and then his camp has said that they’re going to come forward and they’re going to press the action. Do you – have you seen a change in his style over the years? And, of that coming forward, do you want him to do that? Does that suit you? Is it – if you had – if you had it your way is that what you’d want in this fight anyway?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, they say he’s coming forward, but he’s doing the opposite. You know, you can never believe (ph) the enemy at war so he’s going to come right to you. They normally come the other way. But I’m prepared for it – I’m prepared for anything that they’re going to do. They got to be prepared for what I’m going to do.You see, the Winky Wright style has changed, but that’s the question you asked me. See, I know Winky from the DC days. St. Peters (ph) his second home, but he’s a DC guy. And so, let me – let me tell you something about short – real short – it ain’t going to be long.


BERNARD HOPKINS: Winky Wright used to be a boxer. Winky Wright used to move from side to side, box you, box you, box you. The days (INAUDIBLE) before that – a little bit out of the amateurs. Winky Wright in the last say five plus years or whatever, Winky Wright has adopted a style because of his balance, which is terrible. Two people in boxing has the worse balance and the worse stance in boxing where they want to just hit you but not hurt you, and that’s why their knockout rates are so low, is Jermain Taylor and Winky Wright. They like to hold (ph) pogo sticks. They’re never in position to hurt you but to peck you and that’s why you see the Winky Wright ratio when it comes to knockouts, because he don’t want – because he don’t want to do that – he don’t want to do that. He don’t want to do that. He wants to be comfortable on his own.What everybody got to be aware of, because I’m letting you all know this early so you all can’t say I played Monday morning quarterback, is that I’m going to make him get out of character and force him to drive a different way, to spear a different way, to fight a different way. I’m going to force him to run. That means he got to be coming after me, because when he come after you got to go back, you got to retreat. And if you haven’t done that in so long, forget the five, six weeks of trying to do because you know the heat’s coming. That’s what he’s working on. Running because he’s so used to coming forward, that means the opposite. So you want to see Bernard Hopkins bring the old Winky Wright back to you all. The old Winky Wright is going to be right in front of your face and that’s not going to help, but he’s going to relate – he’s going to – he’s going to go – he’s not relating, he’s going to go back to what he used to do years ago and that was a more boxer, puncher, and not a guy standing straight up trying to block everybody, wait for you to stop and counter you while you’re standing right in front of him.So that’s not a plan that I’m giving up. That is the facts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at Winky and see what he do. Some have called him bored, some have called a guy that, you know, why fight him, he’s a bad style. That don’t come from him being the opposite. It comes from being what he do – do what he do. It’s Bernard Hopkins who’s going to bring the show on, who makes the show what it is, and that’s what people is going to come to watch, and that’s why people are interested. The ones that are interested in the fight is going to be coming to see what I do more or less than what Winky do. They know what Winky do. Winky going to be Winky. Nothing changed, why should it change now, but I’m going to make it change and that’s when you’re going to see the change of the fight, and that’s when you’re going to see the domination of the fight and that when the fight becomes over.

JOHN COTY: Now I’ll ask you quickly about, you know, the build up to this fight, did you know (ph) that most Winky fights are generally it’s very passive conference calls, everybody’s complimentary and this and that, and you’ve kind of taken it to Winky a little bit.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, Winky’s a passive guy.

JOHN COTY: Right. But I mean, is there – is there an art to that? I mean, do you think that has an effect? Are you trying to have an effect or is that just the way it is and you then, you know …

BERNARD HOPKINS: Listen, it’s called personality. My personality is not like Winky, my upbringing is not like Winky, Winky upbringing is not like Bernard Hopkins. I think I’ve been through a little bit more than Winky. Whether it’s self-inflicted or not, I think that when you talk about Winky and the press conference that you’ve been on with Winky since you’re the same news guy that Winky is more passive and he’s more this, I’m not in a passive game.

JOHN COTY (ph): No, I’m talking about the guys he fights being more passive.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Whatever, but Winky’s not – I’m not in the passive – I don’t have a passive job. And so, I fight the way I talk and I talk the way I fight, and I mean what I say, and I go in that ring and I give myself that thousand and million percent chance of doing what I say. I don’t like being wrong. I don’t like being on a stage and telling you what happened and what didn’t happen. I like to tell you what I said I told you prior to it happening – premeditated. That’s how I like to take things. Some people ain’t comfortable on telling you what they’re going to do and live and guide (ph) by that. Some people just don’t have it. I’m not saying they’re bad people, it’s just not in them.They want to have – they feed off – their foot on first and try to get second at the same time. I would run off second, first to try to get second and risk – and risk being counted – being counted out for glory, for victory. So, you know, you’re dealing with two different – I’m making this show here. You don’t – Winky Wright tries to be out of character and I want him to be out of character because I want to let people know that I’m fighting a person that’s a fighter and not some guy that’s home that nobody knows about. I mean, he got to put his voice out there, so we need that, but then when it comes to proving what you say, July 21st, the date they’ll tune in or they’ll come to Mandalay Bay in Vegas and watch.

ROBERT MORALES, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Hey, listen, at your retirement party, I believe it was back in September, there were a group of us sitting around the table, you know, having things that whole thing before it started, and one of them was a certain HBO announcer. And we were all in agreement that none of us could remember a more impressive final act than your victor over Tarver, you know, going into retirement with something like that. Why did you decide to not let that stand and come back for another fight against a very difficult opponent?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I do remember the party, and don’t think – I haven’t – they won’t give me another one. It was a – it was a great time because I think, you know, you have a retirement party for one time; nobody’s going to go for it the second time. So, no more parties for Bernard Hopkins.But, I say this to you, when you, you know, you go through the winter, I mean you go through the rest of the summer, you go through the winter and you go through the top of the new year, which was 2007 and, you know, you’re in the boxing game and you’re promoting, and you’re traveling, and you’re meeting fans, and you’re greeting fans, and you’re doing other stuff outside of that. You know, people are asking, are you coming back? And they’re asking, won’t you come back? And then you realize that I’m not trying to save the world and I’m not trying to say I can fight, and I know I can’t physically or whatever reason, you analyze all these things and then the most important thing, you go to your siblings, you go to your wife, you go to the people who you know will tell you the truth not for a buck, not just to have the ride again, not just to go through the, you know, the fame and fortune of being at this elite level. I think when you analyze all that and then the most important thing, which is important just as well as asking the people that you love whether they sanctioned it, that’s listen (ph). How do I feel, how do I look, how do I feel, and what do I have left? At this stage of my life in my career, and this new body that’s not (INAUDIBLE) little package where it can’t come out because you’re making history at 160. You made that happen with flying colors. That record would stand for a very long time, and to realize that I can go on at this weight class, I cannot – I don’t have to deprive myself for all these years anymore. Why tease myself and leave? Yes, for others it was a great outing. Yes, for others it was perfect, it was the perfect ending, but I have to be comfortable and I have to be in a position where I say to myself, five years from now, when I won’t be back, three years from now, when I won’t be back. I have to be able to sit back and say to myself, well into my 40’s, and say that I was satisfied completely with my career to the end. And if you have a fight in you, if you have fight in you and you’re not in denial of what’s there in front of everybody’s eyes that you can fight on; no one is saying you shouldn’t fight. They’re saying, why are you coming back when you ended so brilliantly. A lot of athletes cannot have that type of dialog when they leave the sport that they’ve been in for so many years. Most of the time we’re saying, for your health, the way you look, you don’t – you’ve done everything and physically you don’t have it anymore, so enjoy me while I’m here. More or less, why didn’t you stay in retirement? Because I think I don’t save boxing by coming back. I think that I give boxing a new look when it comes to the promotional end of it, the business side of it, the athleticism when it comes to taking care of yourself and being at 42 going on 43 just six month ahead, I think that it shows that you get those type of athletes in any sport. Instead of you saying, why, say, wow, that this man can do this. Based on June 10th, 2006 we’ll see this week – next week. We’re going to see what every pool gives. If you have anything to go by, as you said when you sighed and said, wow, to yourself, mentally or facial wise or however you said it, be prepared to realize. Be careful when you ask for because when I do go, this must be a time when you say, we wish Bernard Hopkins was around at least for a sound byte, because if you can do it and you can do it with pride and you can do it with dignity and not embarrass yourself, your family and your sport, fight on, fight on, fight on because everybody don’t get the luxury of doing that. And I’m blessed – I’m blessed, man. I’m blessed. No one can make me think and feel physically that I’m 40 because they got a constantly remind me of it. Trust me, continue to keep reminding me of it. I’m going to keep reminding everyone else how unique, how rare and how special I am.

ROBERT MORALES: Very good. I appreciate that.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Just keep – just keep reminding me.

ROBERT MORALES: Hey, considering Freddie Roach’s medical condition, are you amazed at him?


ROBERT MORALES: He works hard, I mean, that dude works hard. I’ve seen you work…

BERNARD HOPKINS: Let me – let me – let me tell you something, I work with a lot of guys with mitts, including John David Jackson, I think boxing and being on top of your game, mitts, sinking, strategy, that keeps Freddie Roach intact, man. I think that, you know, all that he do in that gym in that ring, not only with me but with all of (INAUDIBLE) fighters and all the fighters you got in there, I mean, this guy, he sleeps on top of the gym. He’s got his own place. That man never leaves. Hey, man, I – he, you know, he make me at this stage of my career, want to win even bigger for him. The man ain’t two-time Trainer of the Year for nothing. When an athlete wants to impress and wants show that the teacher is the boss and the guy that they want to do all they can to make everybody shine what makes it all great for me.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN: Hey, Bernard, how are you? Just to follow up what Robert said, remember you’re 42.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Got to routinely remember that.

DAN RAFAEL: Yesterday we were on a conference call with Winky Wright to talk about the fight and one of the things that he mentioned, you know, he wasn’t too corny about it either. He flat said, “Bernard Hopkins is a dirty fighter”. I know you’ve heard those sorts of things in the past. You know …He didn’t say good fighter, he didn’t say …

DAN RAFAEL: Oh, no, he gave you credit – he gave you credit.

BERNARD HOPKINS: So I’m a good fighter and a dirty fighter?

DAN RAFAEL: I don’t remember exactly how he phrased how good you are. He clearly gave you credit for your abilities and what you’ve accomplished and all that. But he did also say he thought you were a dirty fighter. And I just you’ve heard …

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, what do people think? I can’t, I mean – I mean, is he saying that because he’s afraid now? I mean, you know, Winky Wright, you know, he comes out saying things later on but when he’s in front of me he’s totally different. I mean, I don’t – that’s his opinion. I mean, no matter what, I’m going to kick his ass. So, I mean, whether I’m a dirty fighter, whether I’m a clean fighter, a nice fighter, a passionate fighter, I mean to me it’s not his job to worry about nothing but fighting. That’s why we have – that’s why you have people. I mean, what does he want, to tie my hands up? What does he expecting to get gained out of telling people what he thinks that I am? I mean, what does he try to put you on notice? What does he – people have been watching me for years. You’ve watched me for years.


BERNARD HOPKINS: People that’s listening on the phone have watched – they’ve watched me for years. Hey, you know, they watch fights in the 50’s and the 60’s. I mean, if you think I’m dirty for whatever reason, then I think you should – you should throw in a Rocky Marciano (ph), or throw in a Benny Brisco tape, or go back in the 40’s and 50’s when they was fighting real fighting.I think that some boxers, and I’m not going to say all, have became wussies (ph), and I didn’t mess the word up. I put a “W” on there because I know kids might be listening, they became passionate to the point where they think this is like golf or something. I mean, you know, this is not golf. Boxing is – boxing is a rough sport – boxing is a rough sport. People do think that they feel – they feel that they need to say to, I guess, you know, to make another guy look like he’s not worthy of his position and in a stoic (ph) way of boxing.And so if he feels that I’m that, then fine. Then Winky has the right to defend himself any means necessary if he feels that I’m doing something and I think he’s just trying to put people on notice for him to start crying when things don’t go his way.You know, his people they complain and I’ve noticed something that Winky has that I’m not – I have no concerns about. Look at his waistband. He wear his waistband extremely – four to five inches. I’ve never seen a fighter that have a waistband that long and that wide like a girdle (ph).So – but I know why fighters do that because when you – when you got the defense that Winky has with the long elbows, you sit your elbows on top of that. It’s in your mind, it’s in your brain. You’ve been program to have that style so you keep your elbows on top of your high waistband so anytime it comes around, a body punch or anything, around that waistband where normally your name be at, you can always complain or act like you’ve been hit low. And if a referee or somebody got, not bad vision, but if they don’t see, see, see it to where they might have questions, then it could become a nagging problem. So I know why Winky wears those high waistbands. I know why he keeps his elbows slow close to them so you want to take the body away from the fighter. I’m old school. I know all the tricks of the trade, and so when he tells you all this, he’s telling you this in a way of knowing that the execution time is over. It’s time for him to meet his maker, and that is Bernard Hopkins on July 21st.So, he right now, he right now wants to plead his case.

DAN RAFAEL: That’s all he wants to do. Thank you for that answer. I have another question for you.Obviously everybody who has watched you fight or Winky fight, knows you’re outstanding defensive fighters, you’re great counter punchers, have won many fights using that style. I wondered when the two styles match up with each other, who takes the lead in this fight?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Whoever wants to win takes the lead.

DAN RAFAEL: Well, I assume both of you want to win the fight.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I can’t assume what he wants to do. I can assume what I want to do. Whoever wants to win take the lead. I tried to answer the question quick. I didn’t want to give you a long one.

DAN RAFAEL: I like that, I appreciate that.

BERNARD HOPKINS: When I do make a quickie, you don’t like it. Sorry.

DAN RAFAEL: Well, I’ll remind you again, you’re 42?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I’ll be – 42-and-a-half come July.

DAN RAFAEL: OK, we’ll give you the extra couple of months. Are you – you know, you had a lot of the experience in the world, you’ve fought so many top level fighters. You obviously won like the vast majority of your fights. I wondered though, at your age even in great physical condition, are you still equipped to fight three minutes of every round or do you have to use your smarts and take your spots (ph) win to actually mix it up.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I think it’s the opposite when I was in middleweight compared to light heavyweight. When I was in middleweight, I had to reserve certain things because of certain things that I couldn’t – had to deprive myself for, for so many years. Now that I don’t have to do that, the blueprint is June 10, 2006, I came out blazing, came out boxed and fought every round and I didn’t have to do this. This is one of the reasons I’m back. One of the reasons I’m back because, I just found a new body. Somehow I just realized that, you know, that man, I feel so strong. And, you know, six-foot-one, you know, light heavyweight, you know, I gained a couple of inches around the waist, only two. It was 28 and now it’s 30, 31, sometimes it’s 31. I felt so – I mean, it feels so great that now that I can step back on a gas pedal and not have to worry about, you know, I’m going to take him in deep water, I’m going to get him here and I’ll pick my spots here. I can go full blaze, I can go full blazing, and if you believe what Winky says he’s coming right after Bernard Hopkins, then trust me, you will see come July 21st that I’ll have a high ox (ph) punching out – punching what they call it, computer box (ph) whatever the figure out every round how many rounds …

BERNARD HOPKINS: … that’s what they’re going to see.

DAN RAFAEL: Bernard, do you think, you know, before you fought Antonio Tarver, I mean, we found this out later, you had told us, I think your training camp, that the way to do it was to go and get, you know, a good amount above 175 and then bring yourself down to 175 as opposed to just eat your way and make 175 when you were training to get ready. This fight is at 170. Is it actually going to be difficult for you to make 170?BERNARD HOPKINS: No, man. Truthfully, I believe I’m a 168-pounder naturally. I mean, you got to understand, I fought – in 1988, I fought at light heavyweight, believe it or not, Clinton Mitchell (ph).

DAN RAFAEL: And lost.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Right – at light heavyweight, right. In between those years, I floated with super middleweight and middleweight, and then I took myself down to middleweight because that’s where it had to happen at and been there for over many years.So, to me faster, quicker, more explosive at 68. At 75, my talent and my ability and my speed that never leaves me will make me compete and win against any light heavyweight and some slower cruiser weights. So I had the luxury, man, of not destroying what I have by five, or four, or three pounds. I’m not going to go higher than that because you’re in a danger zone. I think it’s one of Roy Jones biggest mistakes.But with me is that you got to understand, the body that I have between 68 and 75 and in some cases in cruiser weight and my ability behind that is a unique thing. Don’t even try to figure it out. Just sit back and enjoy. Sit back and enjoy. Don’t even try to figure it out because it ain’t normal. I’ll just let you see it and enjoy.

RAMONE RODRIGUEZ, BOXINGTALK.COM: Average sport fans believe boxing is a dying sport. What does this fight mean to it, the fact that the two smartest fighters in the game are facing each other? Would you say it’s reminiscent of the 80’s when smart fighters like Hagler and Hearns or Duran were facing each other?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I think – I think absolutely. I think that great fights, great matches brings attention to the sport of boxing. As far as boxing dying, if they mean boxing don’t go away or they mean that boxing is not being looked at, or boxing is not being taken seriously, I think that boxing is always going to be here no matter what we think or what we say. As long as you have ghettos in America, as long as you have poor people that lives in ghetto in America, you’re going to have boxing, and that’s just the way it is. So, boxing will be here way after me and you are gone. And then, third – second or third, but is the thing where – that matches – boxing matches, fighters fighting fighters, that the fighters fighting fights that means something to people in the world brings the fight. Perfect example, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, Golden Boy – again, this is a bias statement but it’s a true statement. Golden Boy Promotions have put on in the last – conservatively last year-and-a-half to two, some big major fights, whether it was fighters fighting the same fights from the same company or fighting other fighters, the matches of two individuals makes the big fight. And I’m glad to be a part of a situation where we’re putting a big fight together, and this is another one.And so as long as other promoters understand that it’s a race for time to make great matches, then you’re going to see the Guererro. You’re going to see these fights now. You’re going to see great fights, and that will bring back that fanfare, that excitement of big fights. And then you have also the 24/7, that episode, or that sitcom, or that documentary. And also the one that’s coming up this Saturday, the Margarita fight, you will see, you know, things from my end personally behind the scenes and you’ll see personal behind the scenes of Winky Wright. You understand, we only get what we put out. So, this is everybody’s calling. This is everybody from promoters, TV networks, from everybody. If they want to bring boxing like the good old days, if we really want that, then these are the things that is being done right now. And I see boxing staying here for a long time, not going anywhere and getting back to the big fights, and I think that is right now happening at least with Golden Boy and other matches that’s being made outside of Golden Boy Promotions that’s going to be made in the next six months to a year.

RAMONE RODRIGUEZ: All right, Bernard, and I have one last question, just been thinking about this fight, you have nothing left to prove. You’ve submitted your legacy by making history in different ways throughout your career.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I always have something to prove. I wouldn’t be taking this fight if I didn’t have anything to prove. Shit, I wouldn’t be on this phone if I didn’t have nothing to prove because that’s what keeps me going is that I’ll always have something. Where there’s a personal – where there’s a personal agenda or goal, I’ll always have something – to you all it may seem like that I’ve done everything that I don’t have nothing to prove. But every time I step in the ring, I fight off of something to prove.

RAMONE RODRIGUEZ: What does beating Winky Wright at this point of your career mean to you and what does it do for your legacy?

BERNARD HOPKINS: First, it means – it means to me beating Winky Wright who hasn’t been beaten since, you know, if you want to debate the Vargas fight, I’ll say eight years, 10 years or whatever. Beating a guy that, you know, no one else seems to be able to beat legitimately, if you want to count the Jermain Taylor fight. Beating a Winky Wright to me is like at this age of 42 that I still continue to do it my way and beat the top fighters no matter what my age is at the time of July 21st. To be able to still do it at the level and go away when I feel there is need to go away, and challenge Winky Wright and whatever comes after that if anything comes after that. If they want me to leave, they got to make me leave, beat me there – beat me to the point where no one wants to see Bernard Hopkins. That’s the challenge. That’s the challenge I have on myself. I have something to prove. If Bernard Hopkins don’t have anything left, then prove it.And so I think – I think I don’t want it to become an embarrassment beating up the young guys and then make boxing look like, you know, so dead where you got a 42-year-old senior citizen, you know, beating up guys that shouldn’t be beaten, and I’ll leave if it – if it embarrass boxing, but I doubt it. I think it will show something real unique, and I think it would be really a great accomplishment for me and a lot of other people that say 40 years old is not a death sentence no matter what you do if you’re Bernard Hopkins.

KELLY SWANSON: OK, the champ’s been on the line with us for one hour, so we are going to take one more call and we are going to let him go train. So, operator …

JOSE SANCHEZ, PUERTO RICO: Alongside your (INAUDIBLE) your other nickname you share with, of course, Winky is Tito Trinidad, who recently announced his return to the sport, have you been contacted by his representatives about a possible rematch or has Duncan spoken to De La Hoya about it?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Rematch for you?

JOSE SANCHEZ: With Trinidad (ph) who’s saying he’s going to fight Roy Jones in January.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Listen, man, what do I have to gain fighting Trinidad (ph)? I mean honestly, what do I have possibly to gain? I’m not trying to – I’m not trying to have nobody’s life on my hands, am I like that? What do I gain fighting Tito Trinidad? Honestly? I mean, seriously, I know, you know, you’re from Puerto Rico and I have a lot of fans there.

JOSE SANCHEZ: No, I understand perfectly.

BERNARD HOPKINS: But trust me, what do – did you see his fight with Winky Wright?


BERNARD HOPKINS: It doesn’t help boxing and it doesn’t help my legacy or my career. It doesn’t do anything for me – it doesn’t do anything for me but make me look like a bully.

JOSE SANCHEZ: How about – do you think, if you – you’re saying – you commented his career has been – seem like the opposite of yours. I mean, you’ve matured with age. One of your best fights came after your – you were 30 years old. Whereabouts, these last couple of years he’s seem to be taking more punches. He wasn’t as small (INAUDIBLE) do you think (INAUDIBLE) a comeback now at thirty-somewhat years is ill-advised for Tito (ph)?

BERNARD HOPKINS: You talking about Tito (ph) has been taking more punches?JOSE SANCHEZ: I mean, it would seem that in the …

BERNARD HOPKINS: Listen, let me ask you a question, how long have you been on the phone?

JOSE SANCHEZ: For about an hour.

BERNARD HOPKINS: You’ve been on the phone for a whole hour to ask me about Tito (ph) and I got to fight Winky Wright on July 21st. I’m trying to promote my fight, man. I don’t care nothing about Tito, I don’t care nothing about where his future is in boxing. I think – I think he’s a great legend of his people and of boxing itself. He made his history. His time was a longevity time in boxing. This is my time. I’m not going to cheat it with Tito conversation.

July 21st you will see Bernard Hopkins destroying Winky Wright to school and this is not about Tito (ph). This is my time. It’s unfair for you to sit on the phone for an your to talk about Tito Trinidad (ph) who I destroyed a year 911 (ph). It profound of me, you know, I know you probably didn’t mean by it, but I don’t know. To me it’s just ludicrous. I mean, you know, forget Tito. Tito right now is history. He’s one of the great victims of “the executionist”, period. We want to talk about Winky Wright. We’re can talk about Winky Wright and we can talk about July 21st.

JOSE SANCHEZ: Well, thanks for your answer, Bernard, and good luck on the 21st.

KELLY SWANSON: Yes, we’re done and just, please as a reminder, the Countdown Show for Hopkins-Wright will air immediately following the Margarita fight this Saturday live on HBO.


Winky Wright Conference Call Transcript

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, PRESIDENT, GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS: Thank you. Thank you, Kelly. Thank you very much all the media for participating on this call with Winky Wright. As you know, he will be facing Bernard Hopkins July 21 at the Mandalay Bay, which will be – which will be a very, very intriguing card (ph), not just the main event that we all know will be exciting, but the three televised fights will give you lots of entertainment starting with a 12-round WBO internal lightweight championship. Michael Katsidis from Queensland, Australia with a record of 20.0 with 20 knockouts will be facing a tough Filipino fighter, who, as we all know, they all come to fight. His name is Czar Amonsot, and on the second (ph) event, we have a 12-round WBC featherweight championship fight Oscar Larios defending that title against Jorge Linares from Venezuela who’s 23.0 (ph) with 14 knockouts, and they’re calling him the next great thing in the Featherweight division.

And let me tell you that the tickets are going amazing. Tickets are selling really fast. We are way above what we’ve been projecting in the last few weeks, and tickets are starting at 850, 650, 450, 250 and 100, and like I said, people, they’re really selling out really fast, which the fight will be televised on HBO pay per view beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, six Pacific with a projected retail price of $49.95.

And without any further ado, let me introduce to you going for the “Ring” Magazine Light Heavyweight Championship, which is probably the most – or in my eyes the most prestigious title you can – you can fight for, not only because you don’t pay any sanctioning fees, but because the “Ring” Magazine has the history of many years being recognized as the top belt to fight for in boxing.Without any further ado, from St. Petersburg, Florida, with a record of 53-1, 25 knockouts, Winky Wright.WINKY WRIGHT: Hey, what’s up, everybody. Thank you all for coming out. Thank you for calling in. Let’s do the interview.

RAMON ARANDA, 411 MANIA.COM: I spoke to Dan Birmingham just a couple of days ago, and he had mentioned that you were training specifically for Bernard Hopkins, that your training camp was a little bit different from what you guys were – have done before. Now, could you elaborate a little bit on that as to what maybe what kind of things you been doing in the gym or what kind of maybe different kind of sparring partner you’ve been training with to prepare you for Hopkins’ style?

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, you know, Bernard got a couple of different guys. You know, there’s one side, that he’s always going to be a dirty fighter period. You know, we’re just – we’re just trying to be in shape and fight our fight. You know, I mean I feel that I’m a much better fighter than Bernard. You know, I feel that I’ve got more skill. You know, Bernard’s just – he’s a tough fighter, he awkward, and you know, he do a lot of dirty things in stages, but we’re going to be very …

JOHN COTY (ph), ST. PETERSBURG TIMES: Hey, can you talk a little bit about how your style has evolved? I mean, you know, a lot of people’s, including me, you know, seem to see you as a guy who throws a lot more punches now than you have in the past, maybe more coming forward as opposed to, you know, the traditional stick and move type of thing. Could you kind of talk about how you’ve kind of evolved in that direction, maybe why and how that’s worked for you?

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, I guess I moved to that kind of fighting because, you know, the network. Back in the day, I was a slick boxer, stick and move, you know, dance around and win the fight easily, and nobody could touch me, and you know, the network was, well, you know, it’s not exciting because nobody can touch him, and this and that, you know, but any kind of style flows (ph). But now, you know, I mean I just wanted to change it up and be more over a more mobile fighter, where I guess the fans can enjoy it, where, you know, I give people a chance to hit me. When they’re pawing, they’re really not hitting me, but it just look like it. So you know, there’s more just heightened for the fans and, you know, for me, it’s enabling me to get closer to the just hit them a little harder to the body, and it’s more of an enjoyable type of fight.

JOHN COTY: Do you think that style suits you better as you get older?

WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, definitely because I don’t have to move around as much. I don’t have to use much energy. But at the same time, you don’t want to, you know, be out there and getting hit because you’re getting pummeled with a lot of punches. So, you know, you always have to prepare for anything and be ready, you know.

JOHN COTY: And the last question. This fight as far as, you know, you’re going to make a lot of money or, you know, possibly win a title, what does it mean as far as your – you know, how you’ll be remembered? Do you think about that now? Do you want to be in the Hall of Fame? Is this important to you in that regard?

WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, it’s definitely important for me to be in the Hall because I feel that I – the things that I had to do to get to where I’m at today, a lot of fighters wouldn’t have been able to do that, you know what I mean? Go over these, and you know, just take all of the – you know, the network’s not really working with you, to be promoted and not working with you but still work hard and persist and came out, and now that I’m looking at one of the best fighters in the world. So, you know, I feel I earned my respect, I earned my place in boxing.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN: Winky, you mentioned in some of your earlier comments about that you consider Bernard Hopkins to be a dirty fighter. Can you elaborate a little bit on that? When you watch tapes of him, what do you see, or when you stand ringside and watch him fight, what have you seen that makes you view him as a dirty fighter?

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, just the way he uses his head, the way he hits you on the cup or hits you on the leg, and you know, he’s just a dirty fighter, point blank. You know, there ain’t too much that I can say about him.

DAN RAFAEL: OK, well, I mean using, you know, head or hitting, you know, he doesn’t – you think he hits a little below. Do you think these are things he does on purpose, or is it just the savvy bear (ph) in him that kind of can get away with stuff?

WINKY WRIGHT: It’s definitely things he do on purpose, and he know he can get away. He – like I said, he’s been fighting for so long he know when to do it and when the referee on the other side he hit too low, and you know, that’s just – that’s how he fights. You know, he – and as always, I’m going to be prepared for all of that.DAN RAFAEL: Winky, how do you combat that?

WINKY WRIGHT: By being me, you know what I mean? I’ve never been one that will cry about anything, you know what I mean? My job is to go in the ring and dominate my opponent, and that’s what I’m going to do for Bernard. You know, he’s going to be a lot bigger and a lot stronger, but you know, he’s going to stay dominated from round one, break him down, and you know, he’s going to go back to the retirement home because he should’ve stayed there.

DAN RAFAEL: What’d you say? Go back where?

WINKY WRIGHT: To the retirement home. He should’ve stayed retired. He ended his career with a great fight by beating Antonio Charles (ph). Now he going to mess that up by getting beat by me.

DAN RAFAEL: Can you talk about the weight situation here? Why did you want this at 170, or maybe it wasn’t you. I know the fight – you know, it’s a light heavyweight title back, but it’s not at the natural 175 historical weight limit. What went into the thought, and how did you determine that would – where your camp and, you know, your capability to negotiate in the fight determining that 170 was the magic number?

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, basically, let me tell you like this. It wasn’t me. You know, Bernard Hopkins and Golden Boy, they call Winky Wright, and you know, I’m always looking for a challenge, and Bernard Hopkins was the best challenge I did that was offered to me, you know. You know, he just went up to light heavyweight to fight Charles (ph), so I guess he didn’t want to lose the weight to come right down, you know, the super middleweight, and that’s, you know, he wanted to be a light heavyweight. Light heavyweight sounded, you know, good at that, and for me, it’s just to proving that I’m one of the best fighters out here, and I’m not a world weight, you know what I mean, and I wanted to prove to the world, to everybody, that no matter what weight, you know, if we can get close, then we can fight. And he called me up, and I took the challenge.

DAN RAFAEL: So are you saying if he had said 175 you wouldn’t have done the fight?

WINKY WRIGHT: Yes, I couldn’t have. One seventy-five, man, way too much weight. I’m not – I’m not a light heavyweight. I’m not a super middleweight. I’m a middleweight, g (ph) middleweight, you know what I mean? This fight just go to people to prove that, you know, I can beat him. He want to run his mouth, and I’m going to close it. That’s all that is. I’m not – I did this fight once. I won it at him going back down to middleweight, and hopefully during middleweights, you know, hopefully Oscar come back out and give me that fight I so deserve from beating everybody else.

DAN RAFAEL: Well, Oscar’s on the line, Winky. We cannot get him to comment on it …

WINKY WRIGHT: I know Oscar on the line. I know Oscar on the line. Yes, I want Oscar, you know what I mean? I feel that, you know, I’m the only fight that he hasn’t fought. I’m the fighter that beat everybody that beat him except for Floyd, and you know, that’s the next biggest fight I just hope I don’t really see anyone else out there for him but me that, you know, with the credibility that could really, that could bring him to the big fight that he wants.

DAN RAFAEL: OK, so just to make clear here. This is a one-shot deal for you on light heavyweight, correct?

WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, this is a one-shot definitely. I’m not a light heavyweight. I’m not campaigning as light heavyweight. This fight is just to prove that I can beat Bernard Hopkins. We both – a long time ago, we talked about it and it never came about, and now it came about. Let’s do it and put it behind me and move on.

MIKE PRATT, BOXING THING.COM: Ronald, do you feel in a way that the title of this fight, which is Coming to Fight, is an insult to you and Bernard? I mean of course you’re coming to fight. You’re not coming to play chess, which I think is the name behind the title. You know, people were expecting a chess match from you guys.

WINKY WRIGHT: Not really. I don’t think it’s an insult. I just – I think it’s telling them what it is. We’re coming to fight. You know what I mean? A lot of people want to say that we’re both methodical, we both think a lot, and you’ve got to think a lot in the ring to have longevity in this game, and you know, we both proving that we both have longevity in the game. But now, you know, it’s time for us to come and fight, you know what I mean? He talking a lot of trash, and I want to shut his mouth, and like I said, the 21st, it won’t be a lot of playing around. We’re coming to fight.

MIKE PRATT : So you think it’s going to be a lot more exciting fight than some of the experts believe?

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, I can’t – I can’t say what the experts want to believe, but I know my last bull fight, all my fights have been exciting, and you know, Bernard is Bernard. I have nothing – I can’t be troubled with Bernard Hopkins. I’ll always come to fight. So, you know, I can’t say what he’s going to do.

MIKE PRATT: OK. Ronald, do you have any history John David Jackson, who’s working with Bernard?

WINKY WRIGHT: No, I have no history with him. You know, he used to be World Champion for a little while in the U.S. You know, I have nothing but respect for him. You know, he never did anything to me. He’s training Bernard. That’s cool. It don’t matter who Bernard gets to train him. It doesn’t matter who he spar with, but he ain’t sparring with Winky Wright. So no matter who he try to get, it ain’t going to be the same as me.

MIKE PRATT : So I mean I know John David did a pretty good job, apparently, of getting the Bernard Tips on how to beat Tarver …

WINKY WRIGHT: Me and Tarver (ph) are two totally different fighters. Tarver (ph) depend on his left hand. You know what I mean? I don’t – I depend on everything. With Jeff (ph), I’m just an all-around fighter. So, you know, whatever you’re told, Tarver (ph) is not going to look the same against me. Like I said, it don’t matter who he get. He did like (INAUDIBLE). They want to beat it all. What happened? Nothing. You know, me – so you can’t – you can do all you can to prepare for Winky Wright, but until you get in the ring with me it’s not the same.

ADAM VINZLER, LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL: OK, quick couple of questions, here. First off, I need a mention to feel everything you’ve done to get where you are. Do you feel that you still have something to prove after all of the early years in your fighting, where you were sort of flying in under the weather then that you didn’t get the recognition and attention that you thought you deserved early in your career?

WINKY WRIGHT: No, not now. Now I feel that the fans really respect, the fans give me a lot of credibility for what I have accomplished. I feel that I don’t have anything to do. I want to prove to myself that, you know, I’m one of the best fighters of my generation. This is what this is all about is beating – if I beat all the fresh fighters in my generation around my weight plays, then you can’t do nothing but say I’m one of the best fighters of my era.

ADAM VINZLER: A minute ago you called out Oscar de la Hoya about that potential fight. What would you say if Bernard Hopkins were on the fan list right now?

WINKY WRIGHT: I’m going – I’m going to kick his ass, point blank. Like I said to him, he can talk to all the trainers, tell him the truth. I never wanted to be a talker – I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this. I know when I get in the ring, and I handle my business then. It’s 20-30 …

RAMON ONEF (ph), COMCAST: I got to admit that I wasn’t much of a believer in you at first, but you made me believe, just like you just said. But, you know, I’m impressed by your boxing skills, and I’m a big fan now, and I want to know are you worried about maintaining your speed and your stamina throughout the fight? You may have answered this already.

WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, no, man. We are training very hard. I’m ready for this fight, 12, 15 round – whatever it is, I’m ready. Like I say, you know, is it a couple of things that we’re going to have to figure out inside the ring just because Bernard is so awkward, and I can’t get anyone that will train or fight just like him. I can’t get anyone to train just like me, so you got to be prepared to adapt inside the ring, and you know, that’s what we’re ready to do.

RAMON ONEF: Definitely. I noticed that every fight that you had that you’re able to last and keep your wind throughout every fight.

WINKY WRIGHT: That’s right. I always come to fight. People say what they want. I train hard because I know that, you know, the real – sometimes that I think that the boxing, you know, that certain people want to get rid of Winky Wright because I’m in the way of so many big fights. But now that I am the big fight, you know, they can’t do nothing but accept me.

RAMON ONEF: No, that’s right. That’s right. You came out of nowhere. Keep doing what you’re doing, Winky, and good luck on the fight.

WINKY WRIGHT: I appreciate it.

TK STEWART (ph), BOXINGTHING.COM: Yes, hi, Winky. My question is what’s been the secret of you and Dan Birmingham staying together all of these years?

WINKY WRIGHT: Just trucking, oneing up, you know what I mean? We both – you know, everybody got their faults and errors, and everybody make mistakes. So, you know, you got to be able to have somebody in your corner that you can trust to tell you that, look, you know, we don’t – you doing this wrong, man, and it’s not working. You got to do something else, and with him too, if he tell me something that he thinks is going to work and I say it ain’t going to work, and I tell him that’s not going to work, I can see something else, and he say, OK, then – let’s do it. You know, I mean it’s we as a team. It’s not he dictates to me what I do and I do it. As a team, we work together.

TK STEWART: All right, great, and then the other question I had for you is, you know, it’s come to light that you and Felix Trinidad have become very good friends. Did you give him any advice on his comeback plans, because apparently he’s planning on coming back.

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, you know, I told him if he says he want to come back, man, come back because I feel that he just underestimated me. I feel that he got a lot more fight in him – he just underestimated me, and that was a bad thing, and I just took clear advantage of it and dominated the fight. But if he want to come back, I’d love to see him come back. I’d love to see him give some fights and prove to people that he still, you know, got it.

EDDIE GOLDMAN, SECONDSOUT RADIO: A question I want to ask is you’re obviously very confident going into this fight. I think you might even be the favorite in the odds, although I’m not sure on that. Can you tell us why you’re so confident that you’re going to be able to beat Bernard Hopkins?

WINKY WRIGHT: I just feel I’m going to beat whoever I get in the ring with. It ain’t so much just Bernard Hopkins. Whenever I get in a fight, whenever I take a fight, I feel that I’m going to beat you, and you know what I mean? There’s always a way to beat somebody, and I always train hard to do that, and you know, I just always accommodating my own skills and my heart and my determination to win.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: You said he’s very crafty, and also he has a tendency to be a dirty fighter. How are you going to be able to adjust to that during the fight?

WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, we’re going to be able to adjust to it, you know. We’re going to be able to do a lot of things to adjust to it. But like I said, he going to have to adjust to me. It’s going to be a fight like he never fought. He never fought anyone like me, so he can say he beat so many left-handers, he got – he beat 20 left-handers. That’s cool, you know what I mean? I beat 40, 50 right-handers. So you know, it’s – but they not you, and the fighters you won were definitely not me. So, you know, we got to wait and see on the 21st. That’s why the fans need to be – if you can’t be there, you can maybe get it on pay per view because you’re going to miss the fight for the ages. You know, I mean no disrespect to my man, Oscar de la Hoya, who is on the phone – I mean who is on the phone and Floyd. Oscar came to fight. Floyd came to just win. He came to just, you know, stop-shot him. You know, people didn’t want to really see that. They stayed with (INAUDIBLE) fight, and you know, I’m telling the people that you’re going to expect a lot out of this fight, and you’re going to get it.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: All right. You want to make a prediction for the fight?

WINKY WRIGHT: I’ll win. I never – I never been a man to say I’m going to knock somebody out, and I’m never going to start doing it. I’ll always tell you I’m going to win, and that’s what I’ll do.

ANWAR RICHARDSON, TAMPA TRIBUNE: Hey, Wink, you know, over the many years that you’ve fought, you usually pretty much have liked everybody. You liked Sugar Shane Mosley. You and Felix became friends after the fight. You were maybe a little different towards Jermain Taylor and you liked Ike Quartey. Is it the first time you’ve fought someone in a while where you maybe just do not like this person?

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, to tell you the truth, it isn’t really that I dislike Bernard. I don’t dislike Bernard. You know, he’s got his way of approaching the fight, and he like to do little things to try to get under somebody’s skin. But he don’t get under my skin because I know he’s just tough. You know, at the end of the day, no matter what he say, he got to respect me for what I did in his game, you know what I mean, and you know, after the 21st he’s definitely going to respect me.

ANWAR RICHARDSON: So tell me what – you know, you’ve had two close friends of yours. You’ve had, you know, Jeff lose a major battle, you know, about a year and Changigone (ph), and of course Antonio, you know, lost his last battle against Bernard. You know, talk about the essence of boxing, of being on the top one day and being down low and how that kind of motivates you when you look at your close friends, who, you know, have had to take a step back in their careers?

WINKY WRIGHT: Well, actually, you know, people don’t realize boxing is you’re going to have a winner and you’re going to have a loser, you know what I mean, and fortunately I’ve been on the winning side most of my career, and you know, you train to win. You know, people have setbacks. You know, Antonio, Tobb (ph) and Jeff Lacy – they fought and they lost. You know, that’s cool. They did that and come back, you know, and also is on how you lose, you know what I mean? I want to – I want to – when I fight, I want to win every round and win the fight, you know what I mean, point blank, and when a person fight me, that person come out of that fight saying, man, that was one of the hardest guys I ever fought in my life. I want to fight him again, and you know, it’s very rarely that I get somebody who want to fight me twice.

PHILLIP PASTRANO, BOXINGREALM.COM: I just had a question, and this kind of maybe has already been asked in different ways throughout this conference call. But, you know, not only experts, but just fans alike, you know, you read it on the web site and whatnot, thinking that it’s going to be a very defensive fight, maybe not a whole lot of excitement. But, you know, the title of the fight is Coming to Fight. As Dan Birmingham said in the last conference call, that there’s going to be pressure, and you’re going to put pressure on Hopkins, and that’s the way you’re going to come out. There’s a lot of basically attacking him, you know, coming out to fight. It doesn’t sound like the typical Winky Wright strategy. Is this something unusual, or is it something you’ve progressed over the last few fights?

WINKY WRIGHT: No, if you look at my last couple of fights, I’m always coming forward, you know. With Jermain Taylor, I came forward. Ike Quartey, I came forward. Trinidad, came forward. So, you know, people just see me because my beef is so good they think that I don’t punch. You know, I throw a lot of punches. I throw a lot of good punches. I don’t go for the knockout. I prefer to beat you up with 12 rounds, and you be like, man, I ain’t fighting him no more. But I can punch. If you notice, you don’t see fighters just running in on me. If I couldn’t punch, they’d just come right up to me because they know I can’t hit. But I can hit, I got a great defense, I’m a smart fighter, and I come to win.

PHILLIP PASTRANO: What is this victory against – you know, well, it’s, you know, assuming the outcome is the victory against Bernard, what does it do for your career? How – have you ever looked at maybe looking at a Chad Dawson on your next …

WINKY WRIGHT: No, definitely not. I’m not a light heavyweight, and Chad Dawson is a friend of mine. You know, we spar a lot of times. You know, he came up to congratulate me on winning the title, but I’m not a light heavyweight. So don’t put Winky Wright in a light heavyweight division, this or that. I’m a middleweight, GU (ph) middleweight, you know what I mean? This fight is to prove to the people that I can beat Bernard Hopkins, and I feel I just want to be the best out of my era, you know I mean? This fight don’t define my career. My career is already defined for what I accomplished, for being an undisputed junior middleweight champion, for going up to middleweight, beating the middleweight champion but not getting a decision (ph). So you know, this fight can’t define my career.

PHILLIP PASTRANO: I see. Well, just one last question, Winky, and I appreciate it. You know, there – you mentioned earlier that, you know, the – maybe the network has kind of put a little bit of pressure in determining – kind of change the style of fight that you’re fighting. Can you tell us a little bit about that? I mean what kind of pressure would the network put on you to kind of alter your style?

WINKY WRIGHT: You know, back in the days when I was like boxing everybody, you know, I was number one in the world, but I couldn’t get the network to, you know, give me a site on HBO on this and that, and they were like, well, you know, you got to – you should, and you know, and it’s nothing to be excited about it and they don’t want to see it because they can’t get to you and this and that. You know, boxing is a (INAUDIBLE) let somebody hit you and touch your chin if you can take the biggest punch. You know, but at that time, that was what would happen, and there were a lot of big heavyweights out there with big punches but no skill, and now with the heavyweight division you ain’t got fighters that have no skill. Everybody just want to throw the big punch.

PHILLIP PASTRANO: Right. Well, thank you very much, Winky, and good luck on Saturday, July 21. Bye-bye.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN: Thank you very much. I had a question if Oscar’s still on the line. Oscar, are you there? Is Oscar on the phone?

DAN RAFAEL: Hey, Oscar. You were very silent during Winky’s discussion about the possibility of wanting to fight you. I wonder if you had any thoughts about eventually facing Winky Wright, you know, should he prevail against Bernard?

OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, I mean of course I’m going to be silent. I mean he’s got a – you know, this is a fight that is a serious fight that, you know, people obviously don’t want to miss, and it’s going to be a great fight, and you know, but that would have to – that would have to be a separate conference call.

DAN RAFAEL: You don’t even any opinion about the possibility? You’re not the one fighting next week. It’s Winky that’s fighting. So I know your mind is clear.

OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Exactly. I mean, you know, this is going to be a great fight, and Winky’s in great shape, and Hopkins is in great shape, and you know, like I said, I mean the title Coming to Fight, yes, he’s – both fighters are coming to fight. You know, it’s not – it has nothing to do with their style, it has nothing to do with the past or the future. It’s about now. It’s about a good fight, being an exciting fight that, you know, because the fans are tired of seeing the fights that don’t live up to the expectations, and so that’s why we named Coming to Fight because these two guys are going to come to fight.

DAN RAFAEL: I agree with everything you just said. But you didn’t answer my question. My question was do you have any notion about the prospect of in the future of your own career of fighting Winky Wright if he’s the winner?

OSCAR DE LA HOYA: No, not at this point.

KELLY SWANSON: OK, great. Well, thank you, everybody, for joining us. Oscar, if you’d like to make a closing comment?

OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Yes, we will be there all week promoting the event, and again, it will be at the Mandalay Bay. Tickets are almost selling out, and you can watch it on HBO pay per view beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

WINKY WRIGHT: All right. You all take it easy.

KELLY SWANSON: All right. Thank you. Thanks, everybody.

Hopkins vs. Wright “Coming to Fight” is for Hopkins’ Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight belt and will take place Saturday, July 21st at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. “Coming to Fight” is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Winky Promotions, and sponsored by Southwest Airlines, Tecate Beer and Rockstar Energy Drink. The Hopkins vs. Wright pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT, has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry.