In Boxing News: Winky Explains Why Wright-Taylor Is Off
There's been a strange twist of events in the on again, off again Winky Wright–Jermain Taylor saga – the sum total of which is that the mooted and much anticipated middleweight showdown is off again. As is often the case, it appears it may be boxing fans who are the big losers.
The St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday that Winky Wright fired promoter Gary Shaw late Monday night, just moments after the promoter and Lou DiBella – Jermain Taylor's promoter – had finalized a deal for Winky Wright to face Taylor in June. According to The Times, Gary Shaw said the contracts were ready to be signed, with the middleweight title fight boxing fans are waiting for scheduled for Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, live on HBO, but when presented with the deal, Wright declined. The Times also quotes DiBella: I'm stunned. Gary (Shaw) and I had the deal completely done. I've been trying hard to keep everything under wraps, but he has all the I's dotted and the T's crossed. We agreed on everything. Then I get a call from Shaw telling me he no longer represents Wright. DiBella said he would call the WBC and request a purse bid, which will require Wright to take 40 percent of the winning purse, far less – said DiBella – than Wright would have received under the deal Shaw negotiated. I can no longer let Jermain Taylor or the life of DiBella Entertainment ride on what Winky Wright is doing,” concluded DiBella. We're going to be doing what's in best interest for Jermain. I'm done with him. Winky Wright, I like him, but you can't rely on him.
Not surprisingly, Winky has a different take on events. After Shaw had promoted Wright's fight against Felix Trinidad, Wright established Winky Promotions and informed Shaw they would now work on a fight-by-fight basis, but as co-promoters. I can't fire people who don't work for me. Gary Shaw didn't work for me. We worked on a fight-by-fight basis as I established Winky Promotions. People are trying to paint a bad picture of me, but all I'm trying to do is show my business mind, establish my business and create a life for me outside of boxing. What's wrong with that? I'm trying to get Winky Promotions running and want it to be seen as a viable promotional company. I couldn't do that because people kept thinking everything was a Gary Shaw Productions. Winky also confirmed that as long as he is required to take less money than Taylor, the Jermain Taylor fight is a non-starter: I don't need Jermain Taylor. He needs me. I'm always the one have to take the least amount of money. Why do I always have to be the one to take less money to make a fight? From now on, everyone else will have to take less. I'm not signing anything right now. I have a lot of fans behind me and many people are glad to see me doing my own thing. One can see Winky's point. He's paid his dues, why should he take the short end of the stick? On the other hand, a lot of boxing fans are Winky Wright fans, at least in part, because he has always been chasing the tough fights, the big fights. Now, whether he's justified or not, he's embroiled in the negotiating quicksand which threatens to suffocate the fight game.
Floyd Mayweather faces Zab Judah for Judah's IBF welterweight crown on April 8 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. As usual, Mayweather is in a confident mood: I have been here before. I have fought on major pay-per-views. I know about big fights. I may be going in as the challenger but I will be fighting like a champion. You will never see me in the ring unprepared. He is the best in the east and I am the best in the west. Now we are going to see who the best of the best really is. Zab is fast and strong but he has no chin. No way he will be able to take my punch. Despite Judah's loss to Carlos Baldomir, it's an interesting fight. All the same, it's hard to argue with Mayweather's logic.
Chris Byrd returns to action and defends his title against Wladimir Klitschko on April 22nd in Germany (HBO). Klitschko is doing his best to promote the fight: It's a great feeling to fight for the world championship again. I did beat [Byrd] five years ago on points, but Byrd is stronger and more experienced today. His victories against top people like Evander Holyfield, Jameel McCline and David Tua speak for themselves. Of course, this is untrue. Byrd is not the fighter he was five years ago and it seems a bit odd that Byrd, as the champion, would go to Germany to face Klitschko. An Emanuel Steward-trained Wladimir Klitschko is a tough matchup for Byrd. Maybe Byrd has decided to cash his chips in after years of frustration at not getting the big paydays his status within the division merited. Bottom line, it's hard to see him winning this fight.