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Who's next for Winky?

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published August 23, 2005


A look at who might be Winky Wright's next opponent. Fighters are listed according to latest Ring Magazinerankings:

STRONG CHANCE

FELIX STURM, NO.3 MIDDLEWEIGHT: Only loss (to Oscar De La Hoya) was highly debatable. Fight makes perfect sense, pitting two of the best jabs in the division, and Sturm is the best available fighter.

DANIEL SANTOS, WBO JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMP: The 154-pound champ is one of the few who actually wants to fight Wright. Bonus: promoted by Don King, who has the option on Wright's next fight.

IKE QUARTEY, NO.4 JMW: Took almost five years off after loss to Fernando Vargas in 2000 before latest comeback. Other loss was to Oscar De La Hoya in 1999. Still has good name recognition. HBO would accept him.

GOOD CHANCE

RICARDO MAYORGA, WBC JMW CHAMP: Popular fighter, was destroyed by Felix Trinidad, who was destroyed by Wright. Still, has a belt and is a good TV fighter.

ROMAN KARMAZIN, IBF JMW CHAMP: The little-known Russian beat Kassim Ouma to win IBF title. Can St. Petersburg vs. St. Petersburg sell a fight?

SLIM CHANCE

KINGSLEY IKEKE, NO.7 MW: The last guy to beat a Dan Birmingham fighter when he dominated Antwun Echols this year, but has beaten no one else.

SAM SOLIMAN, NO.8 MW: Rated No.1 by IBF. Seven losses and only 12 KOs make him a safe alternative. Has won 19 straight fights. Just don't ask us to name any of them.

FERNANDO VARGAS, NO.9 MW: The best low-risk, high-reward guy out there. Wright hates him, but after watching him fight Saturday, this is easy money. Vargas probably not stupid enough to risk payday with Oscar De La Hoya in 2006.

MASELINO MASOE, WBA MW CHAMP: Has 25 knockouts in 26 fights, but hasn't beaten anyone of note. Is desperate for a fight, and has a middleweight belt (though considered a paper champion).

CORY SPINKS, RANKED JMW CONTENDER: Would make a dreadfully boring fight with Wright, but has name recognition.

2006?

JERMAIN TAYLOR, MW CHAMP: Has December fight against Bernard Hopkins.

BERNARD HOPKINS, NO.1 MW: A Jermain Taylor injury, like soon, could make this a reality in December. If not, look for a meeting in February/March.

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, NO.6 MW: Taking rest of the year off as wife has baby, but says he will fight Wright next year. Yeah, whatever.

KASSIM OUMA, FORMER IBF JMW CHAMP: Had he successfully defended his crown against Roman Karmazin, would probably be fighting Wright Dec.10. But he looked terrible in the loss and probably will seek a rematch.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER, WBC 140-POUND CHAMP: Big talker priced himself out of possible Nov.12 fight after calling Wright out.

ZAB JUDAH, WBA, WBC, IBF WELTERWEIGHT CHAMP: A long shot, but Wright's people have thought about it. Just brash enough to think he could knock Wright off, and moving to 154 small jump.

FELIX TRINIDAD, RETIRED: Wright and Co. still pine for his return. Sure, he's retired, but this is boxing.

ANTONIO TARVER, LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP: After fight with Roy Jones Oct. 1, not much left to conquer at light heavyweight ranks. No one wants to see a third match between Tarver and Glen Johnson. A battle of the Bay (Tampa vs. St. Petersburg) would sell, giving both fighters the big payday they seek.

DON'T CALL US, WE'LL CALL YOU

Arthur Abraham (No.4 MW)

Howard Eastman (No.5 MW)

Chad Dawson (No.10 MW)

Verno Phillips (No.5 JMW)

Travis Simms (No.6 JMW)

Javier Castillejo (No.7 JMW)

Rodney Jones (No.8 JMW)

Kofi Jantuah (No.9 JMW)

Alejandro Garcia (No.10 JMW)