Winky disappears in boxing
down cycle

Jun 8, 2004 1:23 AM

Whatever happened to Winky Wright? He beats Sugar Shane Mosley, signs with every promoter in the book, winds up with Don King and disappears?

Hey, it’s down time. We’re looking at an HBO double-header of little intrigue, certainly no betting value, so might as well just have some fun with other notes.

On June 19, Marco Antonio Barrera comes back against Paulie Ayala on that HBO card in Los Angeles. We might as well ask, Whatever happened to Marco Antonio Barrera and whatever happened to Paulie Ayala? Barrera has not been seen since November, when he was trounced and stopped by Manny Pacquiao.

Ayala, since moving up from 122 pounds and absorbing a beating from Barrera’s old dance partner, Erik Morales, has pretty much been semi-retired. It will be interesting to see how much zest Barrera still has, but it’s hard to imagine even a zestless Barrera having problems with the smaller Ayala.

On the same show, Jermain Taylor figures to continue cutting a swath through old junior middleweights by facing Raul Marquez. Taylor is supposed to be the next great middleweight. So why is he fighting older and smaller guys one after another? He looks marvelous, but what do his people know that we don’t?

Whatever happened to the heavyweight division? Thankfully, it’s gone away. Andrew Golota is not going to get an immediate rematch with Chris Byrd. The Foul Pole needed surgery on his left elbow following his April 17th draw with Byrd. He said he got his arm entangled in the ropes during the seventh round. Yeah, from the way he throws lowblows, it was probably the bottom strand.

Just love all those Guinness commercials. Beer in a bottle? Brilliant!

Who died and left Ring magazine boss? I mean, that’s the outfit that was involved in the 1977 Don King-ABC tournament scandals with phony ratings etc. Because of Ring, the TV networks, which were then heavily involved in boxing, needed some other "legit" imprimatur to present rated fighters. Thus Ring was directly responsible for the sanctioning bodies that it now is trying to replace by arbitrarily appointing champions and making ratings.

Sorry, can’t buy that. Especially since Ring editor Nigel Collins (whose idea of making Ring the Grand Arbiter probably saved the dying magazine) has stated champions will lose their titles only in the ring. They’ll never be stripped. It took Paulie Ayala, a gentleman, to step down as the magazine’s junior featherweight champion. (a) He hasn’t defended that title in years (b) Probably would have trouble making the weight. But until Ayala announced he was vacating, Ring kept listing him as champion.

Sorry, that champions have to occasionally face legitimate challengers. They can’t go 3½ years without fighting, like Jack Dempsey once did. Of course, the legit challengers should be ranked No. 1. Trouble with the sanctioning bodies is that they come up with guys like Morrade Hakkar, the frightened Frenchman who literally ran from Bernard Hopkins or Richard Frazier, the New York City cop who could walk the beat but not the walk against Roy Jones Jr.

Looks like June is NHL, NBA, Smarty Jones and major league pennant races. Boxing is going backburner, but July there are at least a couple of good cards on tap.

On the 17th, HBO is going to have a rare triple-header of Main Events kids facing tough opposition. Juan Diaz will challenge Lakva Sim for one of those sanctioning body lightweight titles. He’s from Mongolia, which meant I could ask his promoter, Dan Goossen, whether they conversed in Inner Mongolian or Outer Mongolian. Goossen has trouble understanding English.

Anyway, Lakva (no, it’s not a dessert) knows his way around the ring. On the same card, Rocky Juarez, a 2000 Olympian, faces Zahir Raheem, who was on our 1996 team, in a battle of undefeated featherweights. Juarez should handle this assignment easily.

But Kermit Cintron, a highly promising welterweight slugger, meets a tough test in the hard-hitting Teddy Reid. It’s almost worth a trip to Houston in the July humidity.

The week after, Arturo Gatti and Leonard Dorin should be a barnburner, despite Gatti’s vow to "box" the undefeated former lightweight champ. Francisco (Panchito) Bojado, on the same HBO card, faces wily veteran Jesse James Leija, who can still fight when he’s not bleeding.

Then, on July 31, there are, as of now, two opposing pay-per-viewshows. Would you buy Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley II (he goes by Kevin McBride and I’m guessing that it doesn’t happen). No, you’ll take Erik Morales vs. Carlos (Famoso) Hernandez in a matchup of 130-pound champs.

On Aug. 7, Showtime has a dilly in Acelino Freitas and Diego (Chico) Corrales. Then we all go to sleep for the Olympics. Hope no loud bang wakes us.