Boxing is back in Las Vegas on July 21st when the fight between Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins and Ronald ‘Winky” Wright takes place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. This matchup doesn’t possess the excitement that the lackluster fight between Oscar ‘The Golden Boy’ De La Hoya and Floyd ‘Pretty Boy’ Mayweather brought to Las Vegas on May 5th. What this fight is certain to bring to Las Vegas and the boxing world is an exciting and hard fought bout that we did not have the privilege to see on Cinco de Mayo.
Both fighters are similar in the fact that they are counter punchers who like to dictate the pace of the fight. Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KOs) is a fighter that is past his prime, but is out to prove that he still has what it takes to still be a champion. Wright (51-3-1, 25 KOs) is considered by some as the best fighter in boxing. Both fighters are certain that they will be the victor come Saturday.
“I’m back and my record speaks for itself,” said Hopkins, the former undisputed middleweight champion. “I was champion for over 10 years, had 20 defenses and a win over a man they said was the best light heavyweight in the world, Antonio Tarver.
“Winky Wright is a good fighter, but I am a great fighter and I will prove that once again on July 21st.”
Wright is currently a $1.45 favorite (bet $145 to win $100) over Hopkins, a $1.25 underdog (bet $100 to win $125). The betting line opened with Wright as a $1.30 ‘chalk,’ and the line continues to go up with the public backing Wright.
“I’m glad that Bernard stepped up to the plate to fight me when no one else wanted to and I respect him for that,” said Wright. “But that will all go out the window when we step into the ring on July 21st.
“I’m younger, faster, stronger and better than Hopkins and he knows it.”
With most highly publicized fights, there are several proposition wagers to choose from. Hopkins is a $1.40 underdog to win this contest via decision, and is the longest shot at +10.00 to prevail by a knockout, technical knockout or disqualification. A draw is also a big payday at +10.00.
Wright is ‘even’ money (bet $100 to win $100) to win the fight by decision since he is the favorite, and +$9.00 to finish the fight by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification.
Everyone seems to agree that the fight will go the distance. To bet that the bout will last longer than 1:30 of the 12th round has a heavy price tag as the $5.50 favorite, while wagering that the fight will be shorter is a $ 4.25 underdog.
Hopkins could have rode off into the sunset when he moved up from middleweight to light heavyweight and dominated Antonio Tarver in June of 2006. Hopkins won easily and retired after the fight.
As we all now know, Hopkins could not stay retired. After consulting his family and friends, he asked himself three things. How do I look, how do I feel and what do I have left?
We will soon find out how much he has left in the tank when he takes on the younger and very polished southpaw. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, we must respect Hopkins for taking a chance when he could have retired with one of the most compelling exits in boxing history.
Hopkins will be fighting at a more natural weight of 170 pounds for this contest after fighting all but two of his bouts at 160. That means the current Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion and will not have to pace himself to conserve energy. Bernard will try to use his size and strength to muscle ‘Winky’ on the inside.
Wright will be in unfamiliar territory at 170 pounds for the first time. Hopkins has fought 10 left-handers to his credit, knocking out six of them, and can use his right-handed lead to work inside and stay away from Wright’s strength which is fighting on the outside.
‘Winky’ has a tight, almost impregnable defense. Trying to break through Wright’s defense is somewhat like trying to break into Fort Knox. Wright will use one of the best left jabs in the business to keep Hopkins away and outwork him from the outside.
Wright has never fought at this weight, and will not possess the power to hurt Hopkins who is a bigger and stronger opponent. Wright has opened up a little bit in his last two fights, Taylor and Quartey, leaving himself vulnerable to being hit by Hopkins on the inside.
Hopkins is a 42-year-old fighter who is not as fast as he once was. Hopkins will have to get inside on Wright if he is to have any chance in this fight. For a tall fighter, Hopkins has trouble fighting outside and must get through Wright’s tough defense.
In order for Hopkins to win this fight, we need to see the Hopkins that fought Tarver and not the Hopkins that fought Taylor. Bernard will need to be active and attack inside to stay away from Wright’s jab. If he stays outside, ‘Winky’ will pile up the punches and points and will win rounds at will.
Wright will win this fight if he uses his jab and keep Hopkins on the outside where it’s his fight. ‘Winky’ must stay active and try to outwork the older Hopkins. If Hopkins is able to fight on the inside, Wright better be ready for a dirty whatever -it-takes matchup to come out the winner of the bout.