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Wright-Mayweather bout appears on the radar
A deal could be made as soon as today for what could be one of the year's most interesting matches.
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published July 20, 2005
Winky Wright couldn't get the old No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the ring.
But the new No. 1 is awfully receptive to the idea.
Floyd Mayweather, atop most of the pound-for-pound lists now that Bernard Hopkins has lost, is interested in moving up from 140 pounds to battle Wright at 154, promoter Gary Shaw said.
Shaw said Tuesday that he was close to a deal for the fight, which would be one of the biggest of the year.
"Negotiations are ongoing," he said, adding that he would have to present the deal to Wright and his adviser Jim Wilkes for approval.
He did not provide any details, but a contract could be agreed upon as soon as today or by the end of the week.
Shaw is negotiating with Mayweather promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank and Don King, who has an option on Wright's next fight as part of the deal in lining up Felix Trinidad in May.
Mayweather made it clear Saturday that he wants to fight Wright after the two were seen together at the Hopkins-Jermain Taylor fight. Skipping ahead a weight class is considered risky, especially since Mayweather is 3 inches shorter and when between fights, at least 25 pounds lighter.
The fight likely will be made at 154 pounds, where Wright won all the major belts before being stripped of his titles after moving up to 160.
"I want to be the best ever, and to do that, you have to take risky fights, fights people think you can lose," Mayweather told the Las Vegas Journal-Review. "Well, after everyone saw how he dominated Felix Trinidad, that would be a risky fight for me, wouldn't it? But I'll still take it."
Mayweather has a Nov. 12 pay-per-view date reserved with HBO, while Wright has a Nov. 19 date. The proposed fight would be on one of those dates.
Mayweather, a bronze medalist in the 1996 Olympics, decisively beat Arturo Gatti on June 25 for the 140-pound crown. He has won at 130 and 135 pounds.
Because Wright wants to establish himself at middleweight, a fight with Mayweather would be little more than a big payday and almost certainly be worth more than the $5-million he made for beating Trinidad.
"It's not my dream fight," Wright, of St. Petersburg, said. "It's just another fight."
Wright, generally ranked No. 2 on most pound-for-pound lists, has been pursuing a big-name fighter but was having little luck with Hopkins, Oscar De La Hoya and others.
The Hopkins camp is reportedly interested now that new champion Taylor will not be able to make the Oct. 1 rematch date because of a cut suffered in Saturday's fight.
However, Wright may already have found the fighter - and payday - he was looking for in Mayweather, who is 34-0 with 23 knockouts.
"I think it will happen," said Wright's trainer, Dan Birmingham. Reminded that De La Hoya flirted this month with the possibility of fighting Wright before negotiations came to a hasty and fruitless conclusion, Birmingham said there is no comparison.
"No, no, no, this is for real," he said. "It's not just talk. You're going to see that fight made."