Paul Williams v. Winky Wright Fight Preview

April 10, 2009

On Saturday night Paul Williams (36-1), one of boxing's true pound-for-pound top fighters, will take on Winky Wright at 160 pounds. Among true boxing fans, this is a very intriguing matchup between two forgotten southpaws.

Paul Williams is in the prime of his career at 27 years old. With a freakish 82-inch reach he has fought anywhere from 147 pounds to 160 pounds. His only loss, to Carlos Quintana, was quickly avenged with a 1st Round KO. For all the big names that are natural welterweights or have previously moved up to 147 lbs (Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Joshua Clottey, Ricky Hatton, and Manny Pacquiao) none of them ever mention fighting Williams at that weight. For good reason. They would be the underdog.

So what can Williams do? Fight any big name willing to fight him, even if it's not at his ideal weight. Enter Ronald "Winky" Wright.

Winky Wright (51-4-1), now 37, has been one of the most avoided fighters throughout his Hall of Fame career. Wright's "peek-a-boo" style has time and again frustrated opponents who have been unable to get past his defense. This style became his signature and unfortunately the major reason he was unfairly labeled a "boring" fighter. Truth be told, Wright's defense and jab were so effective, he made other fighters look bad. Victories over Ike Quartey, Shane Mosley (twice) and Felix Trinidad were indications of his ability.


From Williams we can expect a great deal of energy and a high punch output. The talented lefthander will continue to throw punches in bunches and is highly motivated to not only win, but look good in doing so.

If Wright were fighting 5 years ago, he would be the favorite despite Williams' potential. As it is, it is very unclear how good Wright still is. He last fought nearly 21 months ago in a sloppy, unattractive decision loss to Bernard Hopkins. The fight against the great Hopkins was competitive but neither looked particularly good. Based on that fight, one would have to question what Wright has left.

However, there are reasons to believe that fight should not be indicative of anything. First, Wright was forced to fight at 170 pounds (because all at 160 were ducking him), 10 pounds more than ever before, and it definitely slowed him down. Second, Hopkins, now 44, went on to look much better in subsequent fights and the same may be true of Wright. That fight may just have been a stylistic disaster for both fighters. Finally, unlike Hopkins, Paul Williams is an aggressive, offensive fighter who plays right into Wright's hands.


I believe Wright will perform better than many people will expect. He will block most of Williams' shots and despite his reach disadvantage land some good jabs of his own.

However, the Punisher hits harder than some realize and he will continue to throw punches that pound Wright's guard (much the way Jermain Taylor did). These punches will have some effect over the course of the fight and will create openings in the latter half of the bout. Williams' activity will also help win rounds.

Both fighters take punches extremely well and I don't expect either to be knocked out. Wright will show he has something left, but Williams is ready for the next step.

Prediction: Paul Williams by Unanimous Decision

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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