It used to be that Winky Wright had trouble finding opponents because many didn't want anything to do with him. Now, he has other issues.
It comes on the heels of his first loss since 1999, and it can be traced back to that December 4th night, eight full years ago, when Winky dropped a controversial majority decision to a young, unbeaten Fernando Vargas -- a fight that I feel Winky won, and many still agree.
After that fight, everyone saw just how damn tough Winky Wright was to beat. And while Winky would go on to reclaim junior middleweight world titles, it would take five years for him to get another truly marquee fight, when "Sugar" Shane Mosley stepped up and gave Wright his fair chance.
Winky beat Mosley. Twice. And the first time, it wasn't even close.
After conquering Mosley, Wright got a fight with Felix Trinidad. He so thoroughly dominated and humiliated Trinidad that Tito left the sport two days later.
Since then, it's been hit-and-miss. He had some trouble with Sam Soliman, fought to a draw with Jermain Taylor, owned the ring against faded old friend Ike Quartey, and lost a valiant scrap against Bernard Hopkins.
What's there to be ashamed of there? Absolutely nothing -- taking the red-hot, younger, stronger, more athletic Taylor to a draw was another fine example of Wright's intellectual superiority in the ring. He beat Soliman and Quartey, tough guys if not quite world-class these days. And losing to Bernard Hopkins isn't a big deal -- plus, that fight was closer than the scores indicated.
And now, five months later, Winky Wright still has absolutely nothing in the works as far as anyone knows.
He wants, badly, to fight Oscar de la Hoya. There are a few things standing in the way of that, I believe. While de la Hoya and Wright have done business together, I don't think Oscar wants to spend time trying to promote a fight against Wright, who may be likely to revert to his old turtle shell defensive style after gassing late against Hopkins when trying to press action for the entire fight. The money for Oscar-Winky is just not at all the best that Oscar could do. Not even close, probably.
Then, there's the issue of weight. "The Golden Boy" wants to end his career at 147 pounds. Winky said he'd cut down to 147 for a bout with de la Hoya, but that's pretty unrealistic. Winky fought Hopkins at 170, has been campaigning at 160 for years now, and hasn't fought at 147 pounds in 15 years, since he beat Delfino Marin in 1992.
The fight, really, just does not make any sense, even for Wright's side. Sure, he'd make his biggest payday ever, but can you imagine how feeble Wright could be cutting down to 147 pounds?
Taylor is busy with Pavlik, the new middleweight champ, who is in turn busy with Taylor. A Hopkins rematch wouldn't even be too bad of an idea, but Bernard is 42 and wants to cram as many significant fights in as possible, and he's already defeated Wright.
A rematch with Tito, should Tito defeat Roy Jones, Jr.? Hell, a fight with Jones should Jones beat Tito? Calzaghe, if Hopkins decides to back out, would be very welcome in my view, but all signs point to a somewhat disappointing Calzaghe-Woods fight should the Hopkins bout not come off, and really, Winky should not be fighting over 160 pounds anyway.
Arthur Abraham wants to come to the States, but Abraham-Wright would be tough for HBO or anyone else to sell -- King Arthur is an almost complete unknown to most American fight fans, and Wright has never been a big drawing card.
Maybe Winky is best off just waiting. Waiting to see if Pavlik tops Taylor again, which could open the doors for him to get another crack at the middleweight championship. Waiting to see the fallout of Jones-Trinidad. Waiting to see if maybe, the Calzaghe camp knocks on his door if they fail to land Bernard Hopkins.
Or, hell, there's always a fourth fight with Bronco McKart.