Winky Wright: Wright Ring Conspiracy
Patience is not without its
consequences. Following his close July 2007 loss to Bernard Hopkins, Winky
Wright was still considered one of the Top 5 Pound for Pound fighters in the
sport. Then suddenly Wright stopped fighting, claiming both lack of suitable
opponents and financial compensation for a fighter of his caliber. Now 21
months after his last fight, the former undisputed junior middleweight has
finally found a foil in the similarly avoided Paul The Punisher Williams. But
at 37 years old, will time finally run out this Saturday (April 11, HBO Sports)
on the elite former champ?
AllHipHop.com: Thank you for making time out of your training
schedule. First question is the one that everyone has for you. After the
Hopkins fight you were still considered a Top 5 Pound for Pound fighter. What
reasons kept you out of the ring for so long?
Winky Wright: No problem, my brother. Well, nobody wanted to
fight. It was just that simple. And it wasnt that I didnt want to fight or anything
I just couldnt get anyone to fight. So I just had to wait until somebody
wanted it. [Editors Note: During the last
two years, potential fights with Kelly Pavlik, Jermain Taylor, and Vernon
Forrest all failed to move forward]AllHipHop.com: The one person that has come in is Paul
Williams. Hes had a history already in his young career of being avoided by
marquee fighters. Was he the only fighter that stepped up, or did you have
other fighters in mind before you made your final decision?
Wright: It was pretty much [just] him. HBO gave us some names. All the
fighters they wanted, didnt want to fight. Paul was the only one that would
accept that fight. Thats how it came about.
AllHipHop.com: In your last few fights, youve been opening up
more offensively, and its caused your fights to be a lot more exciting. Are you
going to continue that trend against Williams, or try to be more
Wright: Im going to do whatever I have to do. Im gonna go in there and
be Winky Wright. Were going to adapt inside the ring [to Paul] and use
whatever works for us.
AllHipHop.com: How has your body been responding to training
since youre coming off a long layoff and moving back down from 170 to 160
Wright: We definitely had to work to get in shape. Like you said, its a
different weight class and being out for so long, we had to work hard [Editors Note: During the layoff, Wright was
reported to have weighed as much as 193 pounds]. Were ready. Im looking
forward to the opportunity to show the fans what theyve been missing.
AllHipHop.com: Looking at your career, most people point to
your wins over Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad as your most dominating
performances. If you had to select one fight for a fight fan thats never seen
you perform, which bout would it be that epitomizes what Winky Wright is
about in the ring?
Wright: Hmmm. I like my [Julio Cesar] Vasquez fight. A lot of people
didnt get to see that. It was the first time I fought for a world
championship. [Editors Note: 1994 WBA
junior middleweight title bout]. I fought overseas in France. I had some
shoes that were slippery and really couldnt keep my balance. And I was still
boxing the light out of him, but every time I would slip and fall they would
call it a knockdown. But it showed the heart and determination I had to keep
fighting and keep digging down to try and win the fight. I thought it was a
great fight for me.
AllHipHop.com: Youve had some highly disputed decisions that
have gone against you .
Wright: Yes! From Vargas, to Hopkins, to Taylor a lot of bad decisions!
AllHipHop.com: [laughs] Which one would you say was the worst
and bothers you the most to this day?
Wright: Hmmmm. I would have to say [Fernando] Vargas because of the
timing. I was just coming on the scene and that was a fight that I definitely
AllHipHop.com: Outside of the ring, you have Pound 4 Pound
Records. How are you approaching that endeavor since the music industry is
changing its model of distributing music and artists?
Wright: When I first started my label I, was just trying to get into the
R&B and Rap side. But like you said, its so tough out there. Ive moved my
vision outward. I have this rock band thats trying to do their thing called
Radio Reset. Thats who were backing right now, trying to crossover and get
into that side of the [music] industry.
AllHipHop.com: Your face has been seen in a lot of Hip-Hop
videos over the last 4-5 years. Youve worked with 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Jamie
Foxx, J Prince, and others. When developing your business plan for the label,
did you seek out any of their advice, or was everything done on your own?
Wright: I pretty much did everything by myself. I got good friends in
them guys like you said. They would let me know if I was going in the wrong
direction. I got with Chris Lighty management-wise, so when I need to know something
I can ask him and find the best way of doing it.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people werent aware that you had an
intriguing web-series starring Jadakiss, Jamie Hector, Egypt, and Shyheim
called Winkys Spot (www.winkysspot.com).
Whats the status of that and the soundtrack you were working on?
Wright: That was a nice little thing that came at the wrong time. The
money aint flying around for a lot of new ideas anymore. Winkys Spot was a
good look, we were trying to do something different. The timing was just bad
with the recession and everything going on.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of the recession, what is your opinion
on the way boxing has been moving since youve been away from the ring?
Wright: The money hasnt been really hurting boxing. Whats hurting
boxing is not putting the best fighters in with each other. You have certain
individuals, networks, and managements that are working together. Theyre
getting advantages over other people that deserve to get fights. These
relationships are getting in the middle of it and preventing the best fights.
Thats why a lot of people are watching MMA and UFC, because theyre just
throwing those guys in there. You want to fight each other? Boom, then fight.
And people pay for what they want to see. But when you put a fighter in with
someone you know hell beat, why would you watch it? You know whos gonna
AllHipHop.com: Youve been calling out Oscar De La Hoya since
about 1999. Was there ever a point where he actually approached you about a
fight, or has he always brushed you off?
Wright: There was sometimes where he said hes looking forward to the
fight. But its never happened yet. He pretty much just dances around the
question. Thats why I mean when you talked about the best fighters out there
[not fighting]. Im talking about legends that dont want to fight me. Thats
what causes problems [for boxing].
AllHipHop.com: You have numerous endeavors outside the ring,
along with various legends on your resume. What is driving Winky Wright to
still continue to box at age 37?
Wright: For myself. Theres about two more fighters out here that I
really want to fight. I dont want to call no names right now. Ill handle my
business on April 11, and hopefully well get these fighters. And like youve
said Ive accomplished a lot in the boxing game, and then Ill move on to other
AllHipHop.com: Is boxing promotion a possibility for you?
Wright: Oh yeah. I been had Winky Promotions with my partner Chris
Lighty. The networks are like the rap game. If you dont know or are not down
with that certain person, its going to be hard for you to get into the
limelight. Boxing promotion is the same thing. The networks have been giving
the push to the same old people theyve always been giving it to. And that keep
AllHipHop.com: Who do you enjoy watching perform in the ring?
Wright: I like Cotto, little [Andre] Berto. I also like watching [Juan
Manuel] Marquez, those kinds of fighters.
AllHipHop.com: Any closing thoughts?
Wright: I got to run and do this physical [for the fight]. But thank you
man for this.