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Hopkins vs. Wright

A Fight of the Year candidate? Or more like a snoozer? We'll find out Saturday night.

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published July 19, 2007


3 reasons to spend $49.95 to watch it

1 It's two great boxers squaring off, one a certain Hall of Famer Hopkins and another (Wright) who appears on his way. In a day and age where getting two top guys together gets tougher and tougher, it could be a treat.

2 The same reason most boxing junkies buy PPVs - fear of missing the Fight of the Year. Some people think this will be a candidate, with both guys engaging each other at close quarters and putting on a lesson in tactical fighting. Some people, we said.

3 Remember how every time the Eagles play the Bucs, or the Flyers take on the Lightning, the Philly fans generally make a nuisance of themselves with their obnoxious bravado and condescending attitudes? Well, Hopkins is from Philadelphia. Just saying.

3 reasons not to

1 Chances are, it will be free on HBO next week.

 

2 It's going to be a snore-fest. These are two tactical fighters known mostly for their defense and, especially in Wright's case, of going the distance. So yeah, the potential is there for the two to come out and stare at each other for a good portion of the fight.

3 They are just fighting to be fighting. Yeah, we know, the Ring Magazine title is on the line, but they invented a new weight class (catchweight at 170 pounds) for the fight, one that Wright says he will abandon immediately afterwards. Eh.

4 questions for Jermain Taylor, who beat Hopkins twice and drew with Wright:

So, who you betting on?

It's a toss-up, man. I mean - because they both are great fighters.

Can Winky win this thing?

If Winky comes out with the attitude, with the same kind of fight that he used with me in the first round, if he comes out fighting like that, I believe he'll win, but if he don't, and he lets Hopkins dictate the fight, it's going to be Hopkins' fight.

How do you break down their styles?

Hopkins is hard to defend because he throws his head and his hands at the same time so you don't know which one to block. But as far as Winky, he throws his punches, not a lot but he's accurate with them. And the punches he does throw, he lays them pretty good. He don't waste a lot of punches. Hopkins don't waste a lot of punches neither. I think they both have great offensive skills, but the better offense skills might be with Hopkins because, you don't know what's coming.

Who hits harder?

They both hit about the same, you know what I mean? And neither one of them has ... knockout power.

Predictions

Golden Boy Promotions solicited some predictions from newspaper and Internet boxing writers, and the final tally had 11 picking Hopkins, 9 going for Wright and one fearing a draw. ¶ Here are a few of them:

For Wright

Wright by decision. At this stage he (Wright) is more active, and will shut Hopkins down. - Michael Katz, Boxingscene.com

I like Winky. Winky will win in a 12-round decision. Not to discredit Hopkins' last win over Tarver, but Winky is younger and in his prime, while Hopkins is not. - Doug Krikorian, Long Beach Press Telegram

This is probably the most difficult fight to predict in the past three years. Bernard Hopkins is the bigger, stronger guy, but at 42 his skills can disappear at any moment. Winky Wright, on the other hand, has never fought professionally above 160 pounds - the extra weight might be a problem. One thing is clear, Wright has much more to lose. A possible fight with Oscar De La Hoya looms should he win. With a De La Hoya fight hanging in the air, Wright could be a little more motivated. Prediction: Wright by decision. - Franklin McNeil, Newark Star-Ledger

Winky is going to win. He has a good chance at out-boxing Bernard, and (Winky) will win by decision. Bernard has fought one too many times. - Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press

For Hopkins

Both fighters will end up in the hall of fame, but Hopkins' display will be fancier in the tour room - much more exclusive. The two are great fighters, but Hopkins is just greater. Hopkins is sweet. At 42 years old, he still has a lot of tread on his tires. Hopkins will win by unanimous decision. I am looking forward to this fight. - Bernard Fernandez, Philadelphia Daily News

Bernard Hopkins by decision. It's a great fighter against a really good fighter. - Thomas Hauser, Secondsout.com

Hopkins 12-round decision. I just think he can do more things than Winky Wright. - Tim Smith, New York Daily News

Bernard will win by decision, it will go all 12 rounds. Bernard just has too much experience and in his last few fights he has been fighting a lot more intelligently. He is going to counterpunch Wright into oblivion. - Joe Santoliquito, Ring Magazine

Hopkins Big wins

Antonio Tarver (UD12, 2006)

Oscar De La Hoya (KO9 in 2004)

Felix Trinidad (TKO12, 2001)

Glen Johnson (TKO 11, 1997),

Losses

Jermain Taylor (UD12, 2005)

Jermain Taylor (SD12, 2005)

Roy Jones (UD12, 1993)

Clinton Mitchell (MD4, 1988)

Wright Big wins

Ike Quartey (UD12, 2006)

Felix Trinidad (UD12, 2005)

Shane Mosley (MD12, 2004)

Shane Mosley (UD12, 2004)

Losses

Fernando Vargas (MD12, 1999)

Harry Simon (UD12, 1998)

Julio Cesar Vasquez (UD12, 1994)

What's a catchweight?

Wright, a middleweight who prefers fighting at 160 pounds, and Hopkins, the 175-pound (or light heavyweight) champion, are far apart in weight. So to make this fight, something had to give. Hence, a catchweight of 170 pounds, an agreed-upon weight by both camps that cuts the difference between the two fighters just about in half. Ring Magazine, which has Hopkins listed as the light-heavyweight champ, says its belt will be on the line in this fight, so at least something is at stake other than a fat payday.

Times each fighter has weighed in at more than 160 pounds

Battle of the resumes

Hopkins by unanimous decision

Record of past 10 opponents when they fought them

(Includes Saturday's fight)

Hopkins

347-22-3

Wright

356-31-5

Hopkins: 21

Wright: 0