Winky Wright: ‘We definitely want this—Pavlik has the title’
by Geoffrey Ciani - When we last saw Winky Wright inside the squared circle he struggled in a losing effort against Paul Williams. That was the first time he fought in nearly two years. Now, almost a full year later, Winky has his eyes set on another return, but this time he plans to do things right. Ultimately, Winky has a three fight plan that culminates in a title shot against middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. I was recently afforded the opportunity to have a nice chat with former champion. Here is what he had to say:
Q: Winky, you were recently rumored to sign a deal with Top Rank. What happened with that?
A: We were just talking with Top Rank, seeing what kind of fights could they offer and what kind of things could they offer in the future. We were trying to work out a deal with Bob (Arum). We never really got that finished. We just sat down one quick second. He wanted to try to get me to the fight that I want, and I was given the opportunity and we can come to an understanding on I guess what we both wanted. We can work out the deal, but we never even got to that part of business yet because Bob’s been running around. He’s got (Manny) Pacquiao coming up on all of that so he’s got stuff he had to do and I told him that’s cool, finish your business and we’ll talk. So we haven’t even talked business yet..
Q: Other rumors that went along with that possibility of you signing with Top Rank revolved around a three fight plan that ultimately ended with you having a fight with Kelly Pavlik. That you haven’t worked out a deal or anything, I’m just curious, do you still have a similar plan like that and if so, what exactly is your plan?
A: Well that’s the plan. We definitely want this—Pavlik has the title. So we definitely want to try to fight whoever’s got the title. Pavlik’s got to fight (Sergio) Martinez, and if he wins then maybe that can happen, and if not, then we have to look other places but right now, because he does have the title, we are looking to try and do a deal where we fight—we get a deal where we get to fight Pavlik in a three fight deal. I don’t mind doing the deal with Bob if it’s right for everybody. If everything’s right for me and everything’s right for him, we both can prosper off this deal.
Q: When can fans expect to see you back inside the ring, Winky?
A: Man, I’m trying to get back in the ring as soon as possible. The problem is, trying to find the right person to get back in the ring with, trying to get in the ring and just get on TV and maybe if I can’t get on TV then I got to just fight off TV. So all of that kind of stuff is what’s holding a lot of things up. Hopefully, me and Bob can come up with something and if not, like I said, we’re still good friends with Golden Boy. There’s not bad blood there. It’s just that right now they couldn’t the fight that I want, and Bob got the fighters that I want so we’re just trying to make the best fight for me.
Q: When you fought Paul Williams, you were coming off a period of inactivity and a lot of observers noted you looked a little rusty.
A: Of course.
Q: Do you think if you had remained active going into your fight with Williams that you would have performed better and had more success?
A: Oh, most definitely! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away from him. He fought a great fight, but like you said, I was off almost two years and he was fighting every other month, you know what I mean. So of course he was going to be sharper and plus, he’s just an awkward person to fight, but you know the time off and everything—definitely my timing was off. That was it, but like I said, I don’t take anything away from him. He came in and did what he had to do, but if I definitely was fighting more, it definitely would have been a different fight.
Q: Going back to ultimately wanting a fight with Pavlik for the middleweight title, how many fights do you think you’ll need to be ready for that?
A: I just want to get to two fights. I want to get a nice little fight to get back in. It’s still been almost a year coming up now—again. So, get a fight, get back and get the rust off and then get another fight with a tougher opponent, and then go in there and get Pavlik.
Q: Now Kelly Pavlik is slated to face Sergio Martinez. I’m curious, what are your thoughts on that fight?
A: I think that’s going to be a good fight. That was my first time seeing Martinez against Williams, and he looked great. You know, I thought he beat Williams. He’s real slick, elusive, a good counter puncher—it’s going to be a tough fight for Kelly Pavlik so Kelly’s got to go in there and see if he can win that fight before we can try to talk about a fight with me and him.
Q: Now Paul Williams is slated to have a fight on May 8. He doesn’t have an opponent scheduled yet, but rumors that I’ve heard have suggested he might face off against Kermit Cintron. I’m curious what your thoughts would be on that one?
A: Oh, that would be a good little fight. Both fighters are tall you know what I’m saying. Paul throws a lot shots, Kermit throws a little harder shots, but you just got to see the heart factor—who can hurt who. Paul throws a lot of punches. His best thing, he throws a lot of punches, is he’s tall and awkward but he’s fighting another guy that’s tall with him and this guy’s been fighting. You know, I’m taking nothing away from Paulie. He fought me at the right time and he got a win and I’m happy for him. I take nothing away from him.
Q: I know that you recently had a promotional event in New York City with Winky Wright Promotions. I’m wondering if you could tell us a little bit about how you first got involved in doing that?
A: We’ve had the promotional company, but every time we tried to do an event something always came up. Whenever I tried to do a Winky promotional event, something’s come up where we had to cancel it. Something happened with the fighters or we can’t get the fight going or something, but this time in New York everything went through and I want to thank the commission in New York for helping everything run so smoothly. They stayed on top of it and made sure we had everything in place and I definitely want to give them a big ups. Like I said, we just wanted to come out here and give everybody a good show and I think that everybody enjoyed the show. It was a great show, great fights, and I’m looking forward to coming back.
Q: That was dubbed as the “Knockout Fight Club” and the unique thing about that is that it mixes professional boxing bouts with live musical performances as I understand.
Q: That’s an interesting idea. How did that come about?
A: Well we wanted to do something different. I know a lot of music people and a lot of them love boxing. We just thought that we would try something different and do some boxing and some music and just give people a different type of entertainment instead of just a boxing match. We didn’t really get to do the entertainment this time because of things that happened, but it was a great show anyway.
Q: I just want to get your opinion on a couple of upcoming fights. Sugar Shane Mosley is fighting Floyd Mayweather Junior. I’m curious what you think on Shane’s chances in that one?
A: Oh, I think he’s got a very good chance. I think it’s going to be a great fight. You can’t bet against Mayweather. He’s undefeated, a great fighter, but I think Shane’s got tools that can deal with a lot of thing that Floyd does. I’m not saying that he’s going to win, I’m just saying that it should be a great fight. I’m not going to say that Floyd’s going to go in there and beat him. I think it’s a pick’em fight. Whoever comes out there and dictates their will on the other person and makes what they want to do work early is going to win the fight.
Q: Now another former opponent of yours, Bernard Hopkins, is slated to have his long awaited rematch with Roy Jones Junior and a lot of people are actually surprised that this one came to fruition because…
A: Roy got beat.
Q: Yeah. I’m curious, what are your thoughts on this one?
A: (laughs) Well, you know, Bernard’s a tough, tough crafty old vet and Roy’s an old vet, too, but still with a lot of talent and a lot of speed. It’s kind of hard to really just say who’s going to win. I think it’s going to be a good fight. I think Roy’s really going to have to come out and fight because Bernard’s going to try to test his chin because he ended up getting knocked out a few times. But if Roy fights like the old Roy and sticks and moves like we saw against Jeff Lacy, it could be a tough fight so it’s really hard to just say who’s going to win.
Q: How much longer do you envision yourself boxing for?
A: Not much longer. Not much longer, to tell you the truth. I just want to go out with a belt, so once I get the title and give whoever I beat the title from a chance to get it back then I’m going to be done.
Q: Do you have any major regrets in your career, and if so what are they?
A: No, I don’t have any. What’s about me I love that my career was done how I wanted to do it. I didn’t let anybody dictate what I do. Some people attribute this and stuff to other what other people did for me. The hard work I put in, and yes my team was there, but I’m saying as far as promoting and all those things like that—I did it my way. It was the hard way, but I did it my way and everything I got I earned, so I’m happy with my career.
Q: Winky, for my final question for you—is there anything else you’d like to say to all your fans out at East Side Boxing?
A: I just want to say thank you for always supporting me, man. Real boxing fans know real fighters so they support what they believe in and they always know Winky Wright always fights for what he believes in and he always came to fight and I appreciate your support.
Q: Great. Winky, thank you very much for the nice conversation and I wish you the best of luck.