21.06.06 - By Geoffrey Ciani That Saturday night’s middleweight championship bout between Jermain Taylor and “Winky” Wright ended in a draw was somewhat disappointing. Regardless, I thought it was the right decision; in fact, I scored the bout a draw, myself. So too did one of the four individuals I watched the bout with, while the other three scored the bout for “Winky” by the slimmest of margins. Indeed, this was a close bout which could have been scored other way..
Article posted on 22.06.2006
That it was ruled a draw is an entirely acceptable outcome. What would be unacceptable would be if these two didn’t square off again in an immediate rematch. There is unsettled business between these two pugilists and it needs to be settled in the ring. A rematch between the two is most certainly required!
First and foremost, when a championship bout ends in a draw, a rematch should be automatic, but sadly, it isn’t. A somewhat recent example would be the heavyweight championship battle between Chris Byrd and Andrew Golota, which also ended in a draw. This was a very entertaining fight for the heavyweight championship. For twelve rounds, Golota and Byrd entertained the fans in a fairly evenly matched fight. Incidentally, I scored the bout in favor of Golota 116-112, but that’s of very little importance; what’s of major importance is that the judges saw this one a draw in what amounted to a very good fight which could have gone either way. There was unsettled business here, and sadly, it was never settled when it ought have been.
A less recent, but perhaps more practical example, would be the first fight between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. Unlike Golota-Byrd, this bout was for all of the marbles, that being, the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. That the bout was inexplicably scored a draw (in a bout that was clearly won by Lewis) is of little importance. Again, what’s of major importance is the fact that the judges (blind as they may have been) scored this one a draw! An immediate rematch should have been required, and in this instance, luckily for the fans, one was forthcoming to help “settle matters”. In the rematch, Lewis was awarded a unanimous decision, and matters were more or less settled, despite the fact most observers felt this bout was closer than their first. What’s important was that both fighters recognized the importance of a rematch.
To reiterate on the theme of this article, it is imperative that a title fight ending in a draw ought to have a rematch, and more specifically, an immediate rematch. This should be a “golden rule” in professional boxing, without exception. Well, actually, one exception – but that exception has already passed, and for the sake of boxing fans around the world, let us hope we never encounter such a dreadful exception again. Of course, I’m referring to the ugly trilogy between Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz. The last of three uneventful match-ups between these two ended in a draw, and I don’t think any fans wanted to be put through another such miserable experience. But this exception doesn’t change the fact that this “golden rule” ought to apply in any other circumstance, and clearly, the “Winky” versus Taylor bout is a far cry from the unusual circumstances following that lackadaisical trilogy.
Aside from the fact that championship bouts which end in a draw should automatically result in an immediate rematch, there’s another reason that a return bout should be a requirement in the case of Taylor and “Winky”. Simply put, they are undoubtedly the two best middleweights on the planet! (Of course, this presupposes that Bernard Hopkins shan’t be returning to fight in the middleweight division, but at present, that appears to be a pretty safe presupposition.) Who else are either of these two supposed to be fighting if not each other? The same held true in the scenario of Lewis and Holyfield: at the time of their disputed draw, they were clearly the top dogs in the heavyweight division, bar none. It’s only logical that “Winky” and Taylor square off again, because each represents the other’s toughest challenge at this juncture (again, presupposing Hopkins is done fighting at 160).
Beyond this, their first bout proved much more interesting than most fans and experts alike had anticipated. Many people suspected that this would be a very slow and boring bout, being dictated by defensive prowess as opposed to offensive fireworks. However, this wasn’t the case at all, and what actually unfolded in the ring was an intriguing match-up of styles and a very exciting fight.
Taylor was attempting to impose his power and strength upon “Winky”; “Winky” was trying to utilize his defensive prowess by blocking punches. What transpired was that both fighters succeeded. “Winky” was able to consistently block Taylor’s power shots, and Taylor was still able to impose his size and power upon “Winky”. It was truly a marvel to watch. Whenever they fought in the center of the ring, Taylor dominated the action; whenever “Winky” managed to back Taylor into the ropes, he was dominating the action. Both fighters exerted so much will and energy in this bout that neither had much left in the tank by the time the championship rounds had arrived.
Clearly, the rematch becomes even more intriguing. Now that each fighter has had a taste of what the other has to offer, it will be interesting to see which fighter is capable of making the necessary adjustments to win the second time around. Will Taylor be able to keep the fight in the center of the ring, which clearly favored his style of fighting? Will “Winky” be able to find a way to neutralize Taylor’s power? Will a rematch look anything like their first bout?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. All I know is that these fighters owe it to the fans to do this once more. Not only that, but they owe it to themselves as well. There is unfinished business between Jermain Bad Intentions Taylor and Ronald “Winky” Wright. These matters need to be settled in a rematch – the sooner, the better.