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Winky Wright-Peter Quillin deal close
Updated: March 14, 2012, 4:04 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN
Former undisputed junior middleweight champion Winky Wright, who has not fought in three years, and rising middleweight contender "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin are poised to meet in a crossroads fight May 26, Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Schaefer tried to finalize the middleweight bout for the May 5 Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto pay-per-view undercard, but was unable to. However, he said that both sides are now committed to the fight and, although the paperwork is not complete, they would meet on Showtime on the undercard of Antonio Tarver's cruiserweight fight against Lateef Kayode at a venue to be determined.
"They're both in. I don't have it signed yet but both sides have agreed to it," Schaefer said.
It is an important fight for each of their careers. Wright, one of the era's finest pure boxers and defensive wizards, hopes to show that he is still a viable contender coming off a long layoff at age 40. Quillin, the energetic and strong 28-year-old, wants nothing more than to etch the name of a potential Hall of Famer on his resume to make a case for a title shot.
"I think it's a fascinating matchup," Schaefer said. "With Winky Wright, you have one of the biggest names in the sport and for him to come back and not take some sort of a tune-up fight, but to go into a fight with one of the top rated guys at 160 pounds in Peter Quillin, it just shows you Winky is serious about giving it another run.
"For Peter Quillin, it's the most dangerous and biggest fight of his career. For both sides it's a very intriguing and interesting matchup."
Quillin (26-0, 20 KOs), of New York, scored his most notable victory in November when he made his HBO debut and stopped Craig McEwan in the sixth round in Cancun, Mexico on the James Kirkland-Alfredo Angulo undercard.
Quillin, who loves to talk about as much he loves to fight, is anxious to fight an opponent with a recognized name.
"I'm super excited about the fight," Quillin said. "I want to get closer to fighting good fighters and making some good paydays. I will put loads of leather on his ass, make sure every punch lands and that none are wasted. Or I will be the better boxer against Winky Wright. I don't fight just one way. My job is to train to destroy him. No other way around it."
Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Fla., is vastly more experienced and has defeated superstars. He twice outpointed Shane Mosley in 2004, unifying titles to become the undisputed 154-pound champion in their first fight. He also easily outpointed former three-division titlist Felix Trinidad in 2005 and fought to a disputed draw against then-middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in 2006.
"I think he's a perfect opponent for Winky coming back after being off for a long time," said Damian Ramirez, Wright's adviser, who added that he was still waiting to see a draft of an agreement from Golden Boy. "I just feel that it's a good opportunity for Winky to make a statement with because, with all due respect to 'Kid Chocolate,' his best opponent is not on the same level of Winky's worst opponent. But I take nothing away from the kid. He's young and strong."
Despite all of Wright's accomplishments, he not won since December 2006 -- mainly because of inactivity -- when he outpointed former welterweight titlist Ike Quartey, and has lost two in a row to elite opponents.
In July 2007, Wright challenged lineal light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins at a 170-pound catch weight and lost a decision. A 21-month layoff followed before Wright returned and lost a near-shutout decision to Paul Williams, sending him into this latest period of inactivity.
"This is not a tune-up fight," Schaefer said. "It's a serious fight. Winky knows what's at stake. If he beats a guy like 'Kid Chocolate,' then he is back. And he is a big name and he basically wants to use this fight to start the final chapter of the Winky Wright story. He let his body rest, he's been out for awhile and he is coming back in a meaningful fight.
"But if Peter Quillin can put Winky's name on his résumé that is a big win for him. I think whoever wins this fight will certainly come out as a bigger name in the 160-pound weight class. I really don't know who is going to win."
Said Quillin, "Richard was right about Winky being a name on my record. This fight right here gets me closer to a world title. I respect Winky Wright. He has not taken a lot of punishment in his career, but stepping into the ring with me, he will take a lot of punishment. I don't have nothing to worry about other than to go in there and be the best I can be. If Winky thinks the same way then it will be a good fight for the fans and that's what I want to give to the boxing fans.
"I'm just looking forward to getting in the ring with Winky Wright and it will be my pleasure to tangle with him. He'll be a good name for my record."
Quillin said he is already in Hollywood, Calif., training with Eric Brown at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym. He will have his third day of sparring on Wednesday. He has wanted to fight a top opponent but has been unable to get anyone to accept his overtures. So he is happy that Wright is a willing opponent.
"If Winky Wright is the only guy right now to give me exposure, fine," Quillin said. "That's all I'm worried about. I want to make some money, I want to win the title, so what I want to do is when Golden Boy or (adviser) Al (Haymon) call me I just want to be ready. That's my job."