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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Wright gets Quartey on home turf
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published October 11, 2006
TAMPA - When the idea of Winky Wright fighting Ike Quartey came up, Golden Boy-turned-promoter Oscar De La Hoya was all for it.
He had it all figured out: He'd get HBO on board, line up a casino to hold the fight and start arranging rooms for the fans.
Wright had only one problem with that plan: It wasn't in Tampa.
"I have to admit, my idea was: Okay, we're going to take this fight to Las Vegas, to the MGM, because this is that type of fight, that type of event," De La Hoya said.
"And then Winky convinced me it should be here."
It may have taken a little bit of arm twisting, but Wright will get his wish Dec. 2 when he takes on Quartey in a homecoming fight that was made official Tuesday in a news conference at the site, the St. Pete Times Forum.
Wright shared the stage with longtime friend Jeff Lacy, who will also fight an opponent to be named. "This is amazing," said Wright, who hasn't fought in Tampa since 1992.
His days of fighting in local hotel ballrooms and the USF Sun Dome long over, Wright said he was pleased to come home and fight in a venue that did record numbers last year hosting two big cards.
"When I left, I thought (if I came back to fight) it would be in the Sun Dome, but that was never really set up good for boxing," Wright said. "This is perfect for boxing, and Jeff and Antonio (Tarver) proved it last year."
De La Hoya said he understood Wright's eagerness to take this fight home.
"As a fighter, that's when I step in and say, 'Yeah, I understand that,' " he said. "Now, if I was just a promoter and only a promoter, then we're going to take it to Vegas and make all the money in the world."
Though the undercard has not been finalized, St. Petersburg's Darrell Woods is expected to be on the card along with Oldsmar's Carlos Rivera and a number of fighters promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Winky Promotions.