By JOHN C. COTEY
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 10, 2000
Ronald "Winky" Wright took another title from Bronco McKart Saturday night in Chester, W.Va., winning the North American Boxing Federation super-welterweight championship by unanimous decision and, more important, gaining the No. 1 ranking in the International Boxing Federation.
In the fight televised by HBO, Wright opened cuts over both of McKart's eyes with a steady and hard right jab to win 10 of the 12 rounds. Two judges had it scored 118-110 and the third scored it 116-112.
Wright beat McKart in a much closer fight in 1996 for the World Boxing Organization title, his first world championship. The 28-year-old St. Petersburg fighter tried to return the belt he won Saturday to McKart in a symbolic gesture because the big prize was the IBF's No. 1 ranking. That makes Wright the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Felix Trinidad-Fernando Vargas fight on Dec. 2.
After the decision was announced, Wright looked into the camera and said, "Trinidad, that's for you baby."
Wright and McKart engaged in a tight fight through six rounds before Wright's jab started to wear down the champion. Wright landed 119 jabs to 20 for McKart, and was able to block most of McKart's power shots in the early going with a typically strong defense.
Wright initiated virtually every exchange between the fighters. The few times McKart came in with hooks to the body and head, Wright countered with his jab and left hook.
"The first six rounds I had to figure him out," Wright said. "I saw I could box him and catch him coming in so that's what I did."
THE JONES SHOW: Roy Jones Jr. had a lot riding on his fight against Eric Harding in New Orleans late Satruday. If oddsmakers were to be believed, his title wasn't one of those things.
Jones was a 30-1 favorite to beat Harding (19-0-1, 6 KOs). The odds were also long on whether Jones would make any money from the title fight.
With so many questions about Harding's worth as a challenger, Jones (42-1, 34 KOs) was counting on fans wanting to see his trademark of speed and style, no matter the opponent:
"It's a Roy Jones-type fight. Roy will be the show."
Getting people to tune in was important.
Although Harding was guaranteed $600,000 for the fight, Jones opted to take a percentage of the profits in his final fight of his HBO contract.
Promoter Murad Muhammad said expenses, including Harding's purse, were about $3.5-million.
Jones gets between $15 and $17 of each $34.95 pay-per-view purchase. It was estimated the fight would have to attract a minimum of 60,000 for Jones to break even.
"I'm a champion and I do what a champion does, I defend my title from whoever's there," Jones said. "People are going to see a boxing lesson. They're going to see a great fighter doing what he does better than anyone else. Roy Jones will be the show."
- Information from Times wires was used in this report.