Beloved former world champion and one-time Bernard Hopkins opponent, Ronald "Winky" Wright is in camp in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, serving as a training advisor to former light heavyweight champion "Bad" Chad Dawson, as Dawson prepares to face the current WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Champion Hopkins on Saturday, October 15, at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.
Dawson vs. Hopkins, an evening of elite professional boxing entitled "Believe it or Not", will be presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T and Ripley's Believe It or Not. It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.
Dawson had been training with the legendary Emanuel Steward for his last fight, a victory over Adrian Diaconu, but geography forced an ending to their partnership and a reunion with former trainer John Scully.
"It wasn't an ugly separation by any means," explains Dawson's promoter, Gary Shaw. "I have a world of respect for Emanuel and I know he's top-notch, but we couldn't get them to travel to one another, so there was no other choice but to move on. Chad's training camp is in Pennsylvania. He didn't want to train in Detroit again for this fight. But with all of his commitments and responsibilities, it wasn't feasible for Emanuel to stay in the Poconos that long. So they've parted ways amicably and John Scully is back in, with Winky Wright providing his expert eye."
So is Wright planning on retiring and becoming boxing's newest high-profile trainer?
"No way," he laughs. "I'm still a fighter. I don't feel like being a trainer. I don't know how to tell somebody to train. I can tell you what you're doing wrong and stuff like that, but as far as telling them when to get up and run; I'm not really into that. I'm here to just fine-tune little things that John and I feel he needs to work on. John is the coach and we are working together very well."
Wright, who will not be in Dawson's corner on fight night, says he likes his friend's chances in this fight. "Bernard is sneaky and crafty, but I think that Chad has a style that can beat him. He's tall and quick, with a good defense and hand speed. He can move, but he's not scared to get in there and fight. Bernard wants to try and take you out of your fight. Chad doesn't need to do that. He needs to do what we're showing him and make Hopkins fight our fight. We can win this."
Dawson says the one/two training punch of Scully as head coach and Wright as an advisor is exactly what he needs at this time. "Everything is going great. I couldn't ask for anything better. I'm in a great position right now. Not only to fight with Bernard, but to work with John Scully who is very underrated as a trainer and Winky who I think beat Hopkins when they fought and is still a great fighter to this day. I'm very excited. I have great sparring partners and it's going great."
According to Dawson, the reunion with Scully will bring about a renaissance in his career. "Scully knows how to go to get me in shape. With him in my corner, you will see a return of the Chad Dawson from 2007/2008 in this fight. I am the best light heavyweight in the world and I'm going to prove it."
Scully says even though it came as a surprise, he's overjoyed to be back to guiding Dawson.
"I was very happy, of course, to be asked to come back to training Chad. I've always said that training him was one of the most positive experiences of my career and I always felt we had a very good working relationship."
He adds that Wright's presence in camp is very welcome and the two are working together in harmony.
"Winky is here to lend support to a friend in the boxing game in Chad. As a former champion and a great southpaw, Winky's knowledge obviously speaks for itself, plus he's been in the ring with Bernard and knows all the little tricks Bernard will try. He has a special insight into the boxing game, and into this fight in particular, that can't be overlooked. He's a very good guy, very respectful, doesn't step on anyone's toes. He speaks up if he sees something that needs to be spoken about. Everyone here in camp with us plays a vital role. It's a team effort and everyone here is working towards that one common goal."
According to Scully, Dawson is showing his hunger to get his title back. "He's looking perfect in camp so far. He's a champion at heart and knows what needs to be done to get ready for a fight like this and he's doing it.
In addition to this championship main event showdown, the televised pay-per-view undercard will also feature Antonio DeMarco vs. Jorge Linares in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Lightweight World Title and Kendall Holt vs. Danny Garcia in 12-round bout for the vacant NABO Junior Welterweight Title which will also be an eliminator for the number one rating by the WBC and the number two rating by the IBF.
Tickets for Hopkins vs. Dawson, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $25, are on sale now and are available for purchase online at www.staplescenter.com , www.ticketmaster.com or via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800)745-3000.