Wright Strategy, Wrong Decision
by Joon Lee
It happened again…to the both of them. For Jermain Taylor, he got schooled by another veteran—this time it was Ronald Winky Wright. For Winky, it’s twice now he’s been denied by the judges—just falling short on the scorecards. It’s the same old reasoning “You just didn’t do enough to take the title.” What BS.
But sure, Jermain Taylor did enough to lift the championship in the last four rounds of his bout against Bernard Hopkins? Yeah right.
But should we have been surprised? Boxing is the theatre of the sometimes unexpected, in this case, presumably expected.
After all, did anyone really expect Wright to win a close decision in Memphis?
From the opening set, the bout proved to be competitive. Taylor enjoyed his success in the center of the ring, while Wright was able to get off with combinations on close quarters. Pressuring and cornering the young champion, Wright employed his trademark double jab + straight left combinations. Fighting more aggressive than usual, Wright had success trapping the bigger guy against the ropes. Taylor bravely fired back, throwing straight rights and left hooks which sparked the crowd, but weren’t effective.
But Wright is a consummate professional. His ring generalship allowed him to dictated the pace, always keeping his jab on his less experienced foe. And opposed to Hopkins’ strategy (which failed twice on the scorecards), Wright fought his fight from beginning to end.
THE 12TH ROUND CONTROVERSY
If we learned anything from Felix Trinidad-Oscar De La Hoya, it’s that a fight is never in the bag, especially when the bout is seemingly competitive. On Saturday night that proved to be the case.
Implementing his masterful jab and his ever-tight defense, on my unofficial scorecard, Wright was up by one, giving Taylor a chance to tie it up in the twelfth. Apparently he did on the official scorecards, but what did he exactly do to take the final stanza?
The listless twelfth had many wondering, ‘How did you score that round?’
Well, even rounds aren’t generally given on scorecards unless you’re Larry Merchant, but it was quite suitable in this case. However, given the lack of effort by either fighter, still, I thought it was Wright who landed few jabs here and there opposed zero punches landed on Taylor’s part.
Perhaps it was Wright’s decision to back-peddle that cost him the round, but come on. Taylor’s attempt to steal the round, at best, was ineffective aggression.
And unlike Oscar De La Hoya who gave away the final four rounds on the ‘Legendary Night’ of September 18th, 1999, Wright fought a full eleven rounds.
According to two of the judges, Wright could’ve won the title via majority decision simply by winning the twelfth. By no means was it a decisive round for either fighter, but regardless, the two judges tallied it for Taylor, allowing him to retain his title via a 3-way split draw.
To be fair, the verdict wasn’t overly unjust.—considering the circumstances. It was a pro-Taylor promotion and the fight took place only 160 miles north to Little Rock (Jermain’s home town).
I sympathize for Wright and his tremendous effort, but be that as it may, the bout ended in a draw. Not a loss, but a draw, which usually demands for a rematch.
Winky was a no-show in the post-fight conference. Who can blame him? Some media members had the nerve to find that disrespectful, SHAME ON YOU.
Take into account the work put in the gym. Writers/critics/reporters often fail to show any signs of appreciation for hours of training and patience these fighters go through. It was a great performance by Winky, the belt should be around his waist. He's hurting. It was his dream, and they stole it. This wasn’t some club fight or a meaningless regional title bout. This was for the MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD.
Patience is a virtue? Says who?
Dating back to his 99’ win over….I mean ‘loss’ to Fernando Vargas, Wright seems to be the guy, who no matter what he does from here on out, will never benefit from the criteria of biased judging. Even Glen Johnson, got his own share of luck, when he eked out a split-decision against Antonio Tarver in their first encounter at the Staples Center.
I guess it’s safe to say that boxing defies many positive idioms or expressions for those who work hard.
As for Taylor, he took on the best fighter pound-for-pound in Hopkins, and to his credit, he did more than just holding his own. Against Wright, he fought the best challenger available and at worst, the second best fighter in the world. According to most observers, he fought on even terms with a great fighter.
Disregarding any disputes as to who really won those fights, it’s obvious that Taylor is among the elite performers in the game. All of this in just a one year span, it’s quite an accomplishment.
Taylor deserves his much needed break, but it goes without saying, I’m still waiting for the day when TAYLOR DEFEATS ‘<-insert any top fighter’s name’ WITHOUT ANY CONTROVERSY!!!!!
THIRTY SECOND JUMP ROPES
The walkout bout at the FedEx Forum featured the comeback of Freddie ‘Lil’ Hagler’ Norwood, taking on a journeyman whose name I don’t remember. As a matter of fact, I watched the first round then headed towards the post-fight press conference. Norwood would wind up winning a unanimous decision, but I’m sure I didn’t miss much. I did however, get a close look at the Lil’ Hagler at ringside, and let me tell you, the guy fights more like Lil’ Johnny Nelson than the Marvelous one. However, the facial resemblance to the great Hagler is almost immaculate. Who is T.I and what he has done? Elvis who? Enter the new king of Memphis, Tennessee, none other than yours truly. I’ve already taken over the REAL SIN CITY in Atlantic City and you know New York is dying to have me back. Call me the Beast of the East if you will, but I’ll never catch you on the Left Coast. VIVA LA COREA!!! Mark my words, South Korea will make it to the semi-finals in the World Cup, defeating the likes of Argentina and Italy in the process. Question of the week, will France score another goal in the world cup? If you had to think about that, then it goes to tell you how the mighty have fallen. SAY IT AGAIN, VIVA LA COREA!!!!