Tuesday, May 30, 2023  |



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Fighters Network

A lot of fighters say they’ll fight anyone. In the case of Winky Wright and Paul Williams, however, it’s probably the truth.

In part, that can be attributed to the fact that few fighters are willing to face them because of their styles, ability and southpaw stances. It’s also because they genuinely seem to want a challenge, which is refreshing.

Wright and Williams face each other on April 11 in Las Vegas.

“Coming off the long layoff, I could’ve taken an easy fight,” Wright said on a conference call Tuesday, referring to what will be a 1-year, 9-month hiatus. “… I want to fight the best, though. When I fight, I want to beat someone credible, someone who also has a chance to beat me.

“Paul comes in and throws a lot of punches. It’s an exciting fight. I’m looking for an exciting fight. I know he is too.”

Williams said Wright will be his toughest test to date.

“Most definitely,” he said. “(Wright) is the most avoided man out there. He has a good defensive style, a good jab. No one wants to fight him. He’ll be a puzzle I’ll have to figure out in the ring.”

Wright said he wanted to fight since his last bout, a decision loss to Bernard Hopkins in July of 2007, but no one of any stature would agree to face him. Richard Schaefer, his promoter, said HBO gave him six acceptable opponents and told him to make a fight.

Only one agreed to do it – Williams. The other names were Arthur Abraham, Vernon Forrest, Mikkel Kessler and the winner of the Jermain Taylor-Jeff Lacy fight in November, which turned out to be Taylor. That means that there were only five options, but who’s counting?

“It’s tough when no one wants to fight you,” Wright said. “I know how Paul feels.”

And vice versa.

“I’m grateful Winky gave me this opportunity,” he said. “If I wasn’t fighting him, I don’t know if I’d be fighting anybody.”

Williams-Mosley? Dan Goossen, Williams’ promoter, is pushing for a fight with Shane Mosley if Williams is victorious on April 11.

And for good reason: The matchup would generate considerable interest and money. Mosley is a hot commodity after he stopped Antonio Margarito and Williams, if he wins, will have knocked off one of the top fighters of his time.

One problem, though: Mosley has said he wants no part of Williams. Too tall, too awkward, too left-handed.

“I’d fight anyone,” Mosley said, “but I really wouldn’t want to fight him.”

Nothing doing: There is at least one fighter Williams refuses to meet, at least at the moment: Hot prospect James Kirkland.

Kirkland, THE RING’s No. 9-rated junior middleweight, is 25-0 (22 knockouts) but hasn’t earned the right to fight a star of Williams’ level, according to Williams.

“I’d blow him out of the water,” Williams said. “He’s not even on my level. If he builds his reputation up like I did or maybe gets a world title, then I might look to fight him. They have to build their reputations up.

“I’m not going to risk all that I have worked for against someone who’s not on my level.”

Kirkland is busy, anyway. He’s scheduled to fight Michael Walker on the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton undercard on May 2 in Las Vegas. If he wins, he would then face Sergiy Dzinziruk for Dzinziruk’s WBO junior middleweight title in July or August.

Then Williams might be willing to fight him.

Montiel-Darchinyan? Vic Darchinyan’s convincing victory over Jorge Arce last month didn’t sit well with Fernando Montiel of Mexico and his handlers. And he wants to do something about it.

Montiel, who faces Diego Oscar Silva in a bantamweight fight Saturday in Tijuana, Mexico, is looking at three possible future opponents – Eric Morel, Nonito Donaire and Darchinyan – according to Bob Arum, his promoter.

Fernando Beltran, Montiel’s manager, said his fighter would be happy to fight any of those big-name fighters but would prefer Darchinyan, who has made his living recently by knocking off top Mexican fighters.

He stopped the favored Cristian Mijares in November and Arce three months later.

“There are a lot of great fights out there for Fernando,” Beltran said. “After Darchinyan beat Arce, though, we want a Mexican to beat him. And we think that Mexican is Fernando. That’s why we want him.”

Montiel (38-2-1, 28 knockouts) must get past Silva (24-1-3, 12 KOs) first. The Argentine has never fought outside South America.

Cotto next for Pacquiao? Arum said he’ll try to match Miguel Cotto with Manny Pacquiao if they win scheduled fights, Cotto against Joshua Clottey in a yet-to-be-finalized fight in June and Pacquiao against Ricky Hatton on May 2.

“Cottley is a tough fight,” Arum said. “If (Cotto) wins, I hope to match him against Pacquiao.”

Arum, who promotes both fighters, said a Pacquiao-Cotto fight probably would be at 144 pounds.