Boxing: Wright fight for Hopkins
Wright, of St. Petersburg, Fla., trains in Las Vegas. Hopkins, a partner in Golden Boy Promotions, was there playing host to the Golden Boy-promoted welterweight title fight between “Sugar” Shane Mosley and Luis Collazo, won by Mosley. Hopkins, 42, held at least onepiece of the middleweight championship for 10 years before he lost all four belts via split decision to Jermain Taylor in July 2005. It was somewhat controversial in that most ringside observers had Hopkins winning. Taylor again emerged victorious via narrow unanimous decision in a rematch fivemonths later. But six months after that, last June, Hopkins moved up to light heavyweight and beat people’s champion Antonio Tarver with a lopsided decision. Hopkins announced his retirement. But it didn’t last long. “It’s going to be an interesting showdown,” Schaefer said. “It’s Bernard fighting another big fight. For him, it’s fighting one of the best fighters again, one who hasn’t lost in a long time. For Winky, a win over Hopkins, think what what would do. Then he would actually be the only fighter who fought and won against the three guys Oscar lost to. So, it is a very interesting fight. A very big fight.” Wright has two wins over Mosley and a win over Felix Trinidad Jr. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, said Wednesday that Hopkins and Winky Wright have signed contracts to fight each other July21 at a site to be determined. “It’s signed, sealed and delivered,” Schaefer said. “We signed it (Saturday) in Las Vegas. Different sites are interested. Las Vegas is interested.” Bernard Hopkins, one of the great middleweights in boxing history, recently announced that he wanted to come out of a short retirement. Speculation immediately began as to whom he would fight. Now, the speculation is over. De La Hoya has losses to Mosley, Trinidad and Hopkins. Wright, 35, is the former junior middleweight champion and currently a top-ranked middleweight. He has not lost since 1999. Wright and Hopkins will meet at a catch-weight of 170 pounds, two pounds over the super middleweight limit. Hopkins, of Philadelphia, is 47-4-1 with 32 knockouts. Wright is 51-3-1 with 25 knockouts. Also: Manny Pacquaio was honored as fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, while his trainer, Freddie Roach, was the trainer of the year. Pacquaio won three times in 2006, stopping Erik Morales in two of the fights. Roach was in the corner for all three fights for the 130-pounder from the Philippines. The 122-pound bout in France between Somsak Sithchatchawal and Mahyar Monshipour last March 18 was named fight of the year. Muhammad Ali was honored by the BWAA with the Pat Putnam Award for Perseverance. Other award winners included HBO’s Larry Merchant for long and meritorious service, and Showtime’s Steve Albert for broadcast excellence. Publicists Lee Samuels and Ricardo Jimenez of Top Rank shared the Marvin Kohn Good Guy award. The awards will be presented at the 82nd BWAA annual dinner in June in New York. … Israel Vazquez will defend his WBC super bantamweight championship against Rafael Marquez on March 3 at Home Depot Center in Carson. Vazquez will take a 41-3 record with 31 knockouts into the bout against Marquez (39-14-3, 23 knockouts). The title defense will be the third for Vazquez, who has won nine in a row including seven knockouts. He’s coming off a 10th-round knockout of Jhonny Gonzalez last September. Marquez, the IBF bantamweight champ, has won 15 straight, including 12knockouts. Vazquez, a native of Mexico City, lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Cudahy. Marquez lives in Mexico City. Also on the card, IBF flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan (26-0, 21 KOs) faces Victor Burgos (39-14-3, 23 KOs). Associated Press contributed [email protected] (562) 499-1338 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!