By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com has been advised by a source close to Winky Wright (51-4, 25KOs) - that an agreement has been reached for a fight with WBO interim-junior middleweight champion Paul "The Punisher" Williams (36-1, 27KOs).
Last I heard, the fight date appears be April 18 on HBO. The date of April 11 has also been mentioned. The fight will take place at the middleweight limit of 160. The most interesting piece of information is Wright agreeing to a 50-50 split with Williams. Wright holds the reputation of being one of most difficult fighters in the sport when it comes to negotiating a split of the money. Wright's stubborn behavior when it came to his monetary demands is one the main attributing factors to his inactivity.
Reports vary, but I've heard that HBO put up $2.75 million for the fight [another source told me $3 million]. Wright taking a 50-50 split may be a sign that he's hungry to get back in the ring. He last fought in July of 2007, dropping a decision to Bernard Hopkins at the catch-weight of 170.
It's a very dangerous fight for both. A lot more danger involved for Williams, who didn't have to take the fight. People point to Wright's age and inactivity. Those same people pointed to Hopkins' age and inactivity when he agreed to fight Kelly Pavlik last October.
Wright has only lost once in ten years and that was to Hopkins. To make that fight, Wright had to move up by almost two weight divisions. Wright, like Pavlik, appeared to be sluggish at the weight. Remember that he also did better against Hopkins than a much younger Pavlik. No fighter has really dominated Wright or had him in any kind of serious trouble during the last ten years. During those same ten years, Wright has beaten Shane Mosley twice, Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey, Sam Soliman and a host of other contenders. If you ask around, most had Wright as the winner in his 2006 draw with Jermain Taylor. A lot of people also saw him as the winner of his majority decision loss to Fernando Vargas in 1999.
Williams has been jumping around from welterweight to middleweight and most recently to junior middleweight. Williams is no stranger to middleweight. A few of his early fights took place at middleweight and he returned to the division last September to knock Andy Kolle out in one round. Wright will be a tougher challenge, based on his style, than Antonio Margarito. Williams is one of the most active fighters in the sport. He could throw 100 punches per round with ease. He needs to use that activity to place constant pressure on Wright. The weight could be an issue, but not for Williams. Wright is reportedly walking around heavy. He always walks around heavy but I've heard stories of 200 or more pounds.