Too bad that Wright is the wrong stuff
Ten reasons why Winky Wright’s victory over Shane Mosley last Saturday was and is not all right:
1) Cup one hand behind your ear and listen carefully. That sound you just heard was the world’s biggest toilet flushing down the extra $10 million Mosley would have made fighting Oscar De La Hoya for the third time.
Yes, Mosley reportedly pocketed $2 million in losing the WBC-WBA-IBF 154-pound unification bout, and while he is to be commended for fighting Wright and standing by his principles by not letting De La Hoya receive the lion’s share of the purse in another rematch (by virtue of his two victories over the Golden Boy), $12 million minus $2 million still equals minus $10 million and no sense.
2) Now cup the other hand behind the other ear. That other sound you just heard was the world’s second largest toilet flushing down untold millions more, as the proposed Mosley-Felix Trinidad fight is as dead as a dinosaur.
Styles make fights and “Tito’s” entertaining and aggressive forward style would have provided a great counterpoint to Mosley’s brand of boxing and would have been worth paying Charter Cable to watch. Timeout while I dry my eyes.
3) I’m back and before you say, “But now Winky can fight Trinidad for big money,’ I’m afraid it’s my duty to break out the fire hose and put out that fire you have going.
Yes, if you log on to fightnews.com, you will see stories where Trinidad says he wants to fight Wright now, but if you believe that, you also have to believe that there are long lines of men everywhere who can’t wait to get a colonoscopy.
Wright’s style is all wrong for everybody. He’s a southpaw, he’s got excellent defense and nobody has yet to give him a beating in 50 professional fights (he’s now 47-3, with 25 knockouts). Trinidad and, more important, his promoter Don King know this. It isn’t going to happen.
4) Wright’s victory over Mosley wasn’t as exciting as Mosley-De La Hoya, or about as exciting as watching two snakes mate. That Mosley had the sense to make sure he had an automatic rematch clause in the pre-fight contract means there will be a Wright-Mosley II. And if Mosley can somehow solve the riddle that is Winky Wright, it will mean a rubber match. Oh god, please no.
5) Worse yet is how lethargic and lifeless Mosley looked. Yes, most of it had to do with Wright, but it begs a set of disturbing questions: Is Mosley shot? Were the rumors of steroid use well founded, hence his sudden lack of hand and foot speed, energy, quickness and strength? And what about his heart?
Vassiliy Jirov was in far worse shape against “Baby” Joe Mesi earlier that night, being outboxed, outsized, overpowered and outhustled. But Jirov came back in the last two rounds and knocked down Mesi three times, nearly stopping the “Baby.” Why? Because Jirov has a big heart. Does Shane? Mosley’s future doesn’t look so bright and without him, boxing will suffer.
6) And what about Wright’s future? Hey, let’s give the guy credit. He finally got the break that was originally taken away from him when the judges gave Fernando Vargas the decision in their December 1999 IBF junior middleweight title tilt. Wright’s determination is a shining example one of the little guys breaking through and you can’t help but be happy for him.
That said, what do you think his chances are of ever earning a huge paycheck now that he shut down Mosley? Even Mosley doesn’t seem to be clicking his heels at the prospect of a rematch. Trinidad will be told he’d be better served beating up a couple of no-hope middleweights while he awaits a mega-payday with De La Hoya or undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins. De La Hoya already knew what he’d be up against or else he and Wright would’ve already fought. And if Hopkins beats De La Hoya, will he want to hang around for Wright for a mediocre paycheck?
Wright may be too good for his own good. Trainer and ESPN2 Friday Night Fights analyst Teddy Atlas said it best before the fight: Wright doesn’t do any one thing great or any one thing poorly, but he has a way of making you fight his fight. Outside of up-and-coming junior middleweights who are starving for a title fight, who would want to take the risk of fighting Wright?
7) Wright’s plight just goes to show how unfair the sport is. The only boxers who make the $10-, $20- and $30-million paychecks are De La Hoya – the chick magnet, Mike Tyson – the freak factor, and once in a while, Roy Jones Jr. – because he has on occasion been that darn good.
Guys like Wright are as unappreciated and underpaid in relation to boxing’s big boys as teachers, police officers and firefighters are in relation to major league baseball players.
8) And then there are the endorsements. Oops. I mean the lack thereof. Mosley is one of the most engaging guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to interview. Did you ever see him pitching 7-Up, Old Spice, milk or underwear?
Wright is another nice guy, but he’ll find out what Mosley and many other boxers already have: When it comes to television commercials, you’ll see a golfer or someone from NASCAR long before you see someone from boxing.
9) Wright reportedly earned only $800,000 for one of the more significant victories in the sport lately. But by the time he gets through paying taxes, his trainer, and sanctioning fees for all three belts, it’ll be closer to half that amount. It’s a crime. And his promoter – Roy Jones – was out cutting another (c)rap record and wasn’t even there to watch his fighter. Another travesty.
10) Finally, even though Wright will be called THE 154-pound champion of the world by this reporter, THE RING magazine and any right-thinking fan, the WBO will still have a “world champion” named Daniel Santos, the WBA will continue to somehow label Travis Simms as its “regular” world champion (Winky will be its “super champion”) and the WBC will still recognize Francisco Javier Castillejo as its “interim” world champion.
He may be deserving, he may be nice, but when it comes to Winky Wright, it’s all wrong. And that’s too bad.
Contact Mike Houser at firstname.lastname@example.org.