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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.

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