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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???

Prediction

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

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5 comments:

Chick said...

Winky Wright is the Former Undisputed Junior Middleweight Champion, Super Welterweight

Also: IBF Light Middleweight Title (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
WBA Light Middleweight Title (2004)
WBC Light Middleweight Title (2004)
WBO Light Middleweight Title (1996, 1997, 1998)
NABF Light Middleweight Title (1995, 1996, 2000)
USBA Light Middleweight Title (2000)

I guess you're not as great as you think you are. Plus, Winky will knock Hopkins out in the 5th.

Chick said...

NOT Super Welterweight

The Great One said...

Chick, that is one BOLD prediction on your behalf, knowing that Winky Wright has not won a fight by a stoppage of any sort in the last six years - and Hopkins has never been knocked out! He was only knocked off his feet ONCE - at the hands of Sergundo Mercado. Bold prediction! I'd like to see that. Nonetheless, I think I'll stick to my pick. Okay, Light Middleweight if that's what you choose to call it. Light Middleweight. Jr Middleweight. Super Welterweight. It's all the same thing. 154LBS!!!! There we go. LOL. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Wow, not bad, you picked a winner.
Clear favourite was Wright.

How do you see Vargas fighting in Nov 2007?

B. Bradley said...

Should Vargas fight Mayorga in November, I would have to go with Vargas based on the fact that he has more skill than Mayorga. This fight is totally insignificant under any circumstances. The only purpose it serves is providing fans with a battle of machismo that could set off fireworks in a blazing fight. The fight itself should be entertaining, but from a significance factor, the fight is really meaningless. Against Mayorga, I expect Vargas to look better than he has in previous outtings over the last two years. Going from the Mosley of 2006 (twice) as the man in the opposite corner, to the one-hit wonder Mayorga (two totally different fighters and styles), will showcase my point beautifully.