Wright’s Journey Continues, Beats Mosley In Rematch

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 22, 2004

“Winky” Wright

LAS VEGAS — Ronald “Winky” Wright’s repeat 12-round decision victory against Shane Mosley was no accident. It was simply a result of hard work and dedication for a very good fighter who was virtually shutout of big money opportunities.

Since starting his professional career in October 1990, Terry Norris, Pernell Whitaker, David Reid, Felix Trinidad, and Oscar De La Hoya all held a piece of the junior middleweight title. Not one fighter ever discussed the possibility of fighting Wright because he was a good southpaw (left-hander) with a great jab and he could box.

At one point, Wright, searching for quality fights and exposure, frequently in Europe (1993-1997). Wright was often considered too difficult a fighter to be “hand-picked” as an opponent by the other champions.

When Mosley defeated De La Hoya for the WBC/WBA 154-pound titles in Sept. 2003, Wright knew that an opportunity to fight Mosley had finally arrived. Had Mosley lost to De La Hoya, the “Golden Boy” would have never fought Wright because he was not interested in unifying the junior middleweight titles.

But Mosley was!

The first time Wright beat Mosley, it was a one-sided fight, as Wright controlled Mosley with his right-jabs and occasional flurries. Mosley was reduced to a one-punch, straight-head fighter and lost a miserable unanimous decision. Wright had unified the WBC/WBA, and IBF titles at 154.

The rematch was slightly different and more competitive. Mosley was more illusive, more flexible, and appeared to have more focus. But Wright was no fool. He continued to control the fight-tempo with his right-jabs. What was a closely contested battle for 12-rounds turned out to be a razor-thin, majority nod for Wright.

The judges scored the fight 115-113 (twice) for Wright, who improved to 47-3, 25 KOs, and 114-114 for Mosley, who falls to 39-4, 35 KOs.

Wright needed a repeat win against Sugar Shane Mosley. Had Mosley defeated Wright, everyone would have discredited Wright’s first victory over Shane by saying ‘Mosley had a bad night.’ Taking away the fact that it was Wright’s career best performance, as he unified the world junior middleweight championship.

After 14 years, Wright is in apposition to command big money fight opportunities against former world champions De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Fernando Vargas, and Bernard Hopkins, the undisputed world middleweight champion.

Wight can also settle an old score with Vargas dating back to Sept. 2002.

Vargas, was the IBF 154-pound champion. Wright, earning his first career world title shot on U.S. soil, did a clever job of out-boxing Vargas through 12-rounds. However, Vargas ended-up winning the decision and has since avoided giving Wright a rematch.

With Vargas suffering brutal losses to Trinidad (Dec. 2000) and De La Hoya (Sept. 2002), as well as having a back injury, Wight maybe willing to face Vargas again if he can work his way back into contention.

While a fight against Hopkins would be great, the undisputed world middleweight champion vs. the world junior middleweight champion, it is more realistic that Wright position himself against a fight with Trinidad.

Trinidad, following a 2½-year absence, looked terrific stopping former 147-pound champion, Ricardo Mayorga in October. Trinidad is eager to win another world championship. He has spent at least two-thirds of his career as a champion and thus, needs to win a title.

The question is whether Trinidad would agree to fight Wright for his belt at 154 or have Wright move-up to 160. Wright would have to vacate his championship at 154 if he agrees to a fight with Trinidad at 160.

The end of the road for Mosley?

Is this truly the end of the road for Mosley? Of course not, however, the last several years of his career has been plagued by inconsistent performances.

Since winning the WBC welterweight championship from Oscar De La Hoya in June 2000, Mosley has struggled to retain hi grasp among the world’s top fighters.

Mosley, once a great lightweight fighter (130-135), began stumbling following his surprise lopsided loss to Vernon Forrest during his fourth defense of the WBC 147-pound title in Jan. 2002. Mosley has tasted the canvas twice for the first time hi his career in round two.

The rematch would be no different, aside from the fact there were no knockdowns. Forrest defeated Mosley again by exhibiting another dominant repeat of his skills during the first encounter. Mosley could not escape Forrest’s left jabs and counter-right hands.

In March 2003, Mosley moved-up to 154 to fight Raul Marquez. The bout was ruled a no-contest. Mosley struggled, as a cut to Marquez led to the bout being stopped in the third round.

Mosley, in rematch against De La Hoya, appeared to be a one-punch fighter but fought more effectively in later rounds. De La Hoya would lose a very close 12-round unanimous decision by one round on each of the three judges scorecards (115-113). Mosley would earn the repeat victory against De La Hoya, but not without controversy, as De La Hoya called an investigation into the scoring of the fight, which tainted Mosley’s title-winning effort at 154.

Which brings us to the repeat losses to Wright. It is clear that Mosley has struggled since abandoning the lightweight division as an undefeated world champion. Of all the top fighters to have advanced from the lower weight classes to win a world title, Mosley is indeed one of the smallest fighters in history to win a title at 147 and 154 pounds after fighting as a lightweight (135). Mosley is in same company as the legendary Roberto Duran, Pernell Whitaker, and De La Hoya.

However, Mosley has continuously struggled fighting in the higher weight classes, as his record as a junior middleweight has fallen to 1-2-1. He’s obviously out of contention when earning big money fights against Trinidad and Hopkins, but he can rebuild/restructure his career by taking a series of off-TV bouts at 147. If he’s undefeated, then he’ll be able to seek a world title bout against a champion at least seven months to a year from now, but not at 154.