ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reports this evening on the mother of all non-surprises, at least as pertains to the current boxing schedule. Winky Wright has pulled out of his April 9 PPV fight with Matthew Macklin, leaving the Englishman without an opponent with barely a month to go before the fight.
Wright, 39, injured his hand sparring with Keith Thurman:
"My hand swelled up a little bit. I went to get it checked out [on Friday]. It ain't fractured, but it's pretty sore and swollen and the doctor said wait about a week and then we'll see. But I'm near the end of my career. I can't go into the fight not at 100 percent. I can't be going in there with a hurt hand and half-trained. I want to go in there and show people I can be a champion and look good. If I lose a week, that's a problem. So I figured let's call it now and at least give Golden Boy a chance to get another fight."
Wright (51-5-1, 25 KO) hasn't fought since April 2009, and before that hadn't fought since a July 2007 loss to Bernard Hopkins, then reigning as light heavyweight champion. Wright's 2009 bout was back at middleweight against Paul Williams, and was a lopsided loss to a younger, far more energetic man. The famed Winky Wright defense seemed loosened, and he couldn't get off any counter opportunities against the busy Williams. I have long been a Winky Wright fan, but given his lack of activity and the fact that he was shut out in his last fight, he might be closer to the end of his career than even he thinks at this point. You just can't consider Wright an active fighter anymore.
As for Macklin (28-2, 19 KO), it's a big blow. At 28, he's as ready as he's going to get for a step up to the world stage at 160 pounds. He's been successful domestically in the UK and at European level, and Wright presented a good opportunity to get a big win over someone with some name value, which is sorely lacking in the middleweight division. There's no word on a potential replacement opponent, and it also marks the second time in three fights that Macklin's opponent has pulled out late. Last September, Macklin was set to fight Darren Barker, who canceled and left Macklin facing Shalva Jormadashvili.