Winky Wright hadn't been in the ring for real since April 11, 2009. It would have been a real-deal stunner of a comeback story if Winky shed the layers of rust and got it done against Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, the smack-talking New Yorker on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center. Alas, Wright, while by no means shot, wasn't the version who was a pound for pounder back in the day; Quillin had him down in the fifth, hurt in the eight, and convinced the judges that the younger man was the better man, by scores of 97-92, 98-91, 98-91.
Quillin afterwards told Jim Gray that Wright put his heart on the line in this middleweight scrap, but the win doesn't compare to his dad's exit from Cuba to the US decades ago. Wright said he was rusty, and a bit of Father Time got to him. He said the knockdown was a flash knockdown, that Quillin wasn't a bomber. Is this the end? "We'll see, we will think about it," he said. "I did think he won." Wright said Quillin was a bit big, and that he would have liked to have fought at 154.
Wright (age 40; entered at 51-5-1 with 25 KOs) looked in fighting trim in the first. He wanted to establish his jab, while Quillin looked completely at ease in this step-up bout. He looked to have the edge in hand speed.
Eric Brown was in the captain's chair, while Freddie Roach aided him in the Quillin corner. Brown had to like Quillin's explosiveness on his feet. He exploded into Wright, and then backed off to safety. Wright smiled in the third as Choc threw and backed off. Quillin (age 28; grew up in Michigan, lives mostly in NY; 26-0 coming in) defended well, with his feet, and slipping punches. Wright's timing improved some in this round. "Keep the heat on this guy!" Brown said after the round to Quillin. He did so, enough, anyway, to win the round. His punches had more oomph on them than did Wright's.
In the fifth, a right put Wright on his behind. The right half-hook came behind a camouflage jab. He was now into putting combos together. Brown asked Quillin why he was letting Wright steal rounds after the sixth, asking him to step it up, and pull away. Wright started the seventh with a clean left. Quillin was looping his shots just a tad to get around Wright's tight D.
Wright was hurt at the end of the eighth. An uppercut buzzed him, and then Winky was in a full shell, as Quillin threw bombs. Wright smiled and said come to me, I wasn't hurt. He knows the best defense is a good offense, so Wright pumped the jab more in the ninth. In the tenth, Winky didn't go balls out like he needed a KO. Neither man tried to close the show with ultra urgency. We'd go to the cards.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV