After turning down a lucrative offer from Team Taylor for a rematch of their 6/17/06 draw, Winky stayed busy with a ho-hum twelve round decision win over former welterweight champ Ike Quartey. Winky controlled the fight, throwing a career high 1,011 total punches (14 of his fights tracked by CompuBox)- an average of 84 per round. He mixed in 41 jabs per round, preventing the counter-punching Quartey to mount any attack, as Ike averaged just 54 total punches thrown per round.
In his draw with Taylor, Winky outlanded Jermain 226-163 in total punches, bolstered by a 103-41 edge in jabs landed. Respecting Taylor's punching power, Wright averaged just 54 total punches thrown per round, to 59 per round for Jermain, who landed the harder shots. Wright landed 123 of 308 power shots (40%) to 122 of 395 (31%) for Taylor. Wright landed 31% of his 28 jabs thrown per round. Thinking he had the fight won, Wright threw just 32 total punches in the last round, to 37 for Taylor, who won the round on two judges cards to cop the draw. Had Wright won the last round, he would have won the title via majority decision. He made a similar tactical blunder in his fight with Fernando Vargas on 12/4/99, throwing just 25 total punches in round twelve. That was Wright's last loss (by majority decision)- he's 12-0-1 since, with his last eight fights (and 12 of last 14) going the 12-round distance. Winky got off his sick bed in December of '05 and decisioned Slinglin' Sam Soliman, who threw a CompuBox middleweight record 1260 total punches. That's the good news, the bad news is, he missed on over 1000 of those attempts. Winky had a 300-174 edge in total connects, averaging just 54 total punches thrown per round, but making them count, as he landed 46% overall and 57% of his power punches (non-jabs). Winky finished fast, averaging 64 total punches thrown per round over the last five rounds, including 70 in the last round (landing 25), his high total for the fight.
The Winkster did a total paint job on 9-5 favorite Tito Trinidad (a common opponent of his and Hopkins as is Taylor) in May of '05. How dominate was he? Tito landed in single digits in EVERY round and was outlanded 262-58 in total punches. Trinidad landed 55 total punches in the fifth round alone vs. Ricardo Mayorga. Winky totally neutralized Trinidad with his jab, landing 185 of 588 (31%- 49 thrown per round).
Wright used his size advantage to twice decision Shane Mosley in 2004. He outlanded Shane 250-166 in their first fight, averaging 35 jabs per round that enabled him to hit on 48% of his power shots. Mosley, a 2-1 favorite, landed just 27% overall, throwing 618 total punches (52 per round) to 761 for Wright (63 per round).
A 2-1 favorite in the rematch, he may have taken Mosley lightly. Surprisingly behind on two cards after nine rounds, he rallied to outland Shane 73-34 in total punches over the last three rounds to pull out a majority decision win. It wasn't so much about what Mosley did in the rematch (he actually landed 12 less total punches, throwing just 24 more), it was more about what Winky didn't do- as he threw 100 fewer total punches. Winky gave away round seven, throwing just 39 total punches after landing 24 of 52 in the previous round.
In May of '06, Hopkins bulked up to 174 lbs. and did what Rocky Balboa couldn't do- he shut down Mason Dixon, better known as Antonio Tarver. Despite averaging just 35 total punches thrown per round, the beefed-up B-Hop controlled the pace of the fight, outlanding Tarver 133-78 in total punches. That's a miserable seven total punches landed per round for Tarver- who landed in single digits in total punches in 10 of 12 rounds. Tarver was down for a flash in the 5th. Hopkins accented his victory by outlanding Tarver 42-11 in power shots over the last three rounds.
Hopkins' ten year reign, third longest in boxing history (only Joe Louis 11 yrs., 254 days and Johnny Kilbane, featherweight, 11 yrs., 103 days, reigned longer) came to an end in July of '05 when he lost a controversial split decision to Jermain Taylor. To say Hopkins started slow is an understatement, as he averaged just 19 (that's right 19) TOTAL PUNCHES thrown per round and five landed over the first eight rounds. Taylor landed nine of 38 per round, enough to win 7 of 8 ronds on one judges card and six of eight on another card. Then a fight broke out, as Hopkins outlanded Taylor 56-23 in total punches over the last four rounds, averaging 44 punches thrown per round, 14 landed. Despite having a 12-5 edge in total connects in the last round and hurting Taylor, judge Duane Ford gave the round to Taylor. Had he scored for Hopkins, the fight's a draw and Hopkins retains his title. Hopkins went 96 of 326 (29%) in total punches to 86 of 453 (19%) for Taylor. More importantly, the judges cards read: 115-113 T- Paul Smith; 115-113 T- Ford and 116-112 H- Jerry Roth.
In the rematch with Taylor, Hopkins averaged just six more punches thrown per round over the first six rounds and as a result found himself down six rounds to love on one card and 5-1 on the other two cards. He then stepped on the gas in rounds seven thru ten, outlanding Taylor 45-16 in power shots, sweeping those rounds on one card and winning 3 of 4 on the other two cards to pull within two points on all 3 cards. Then the pivotal 11th- he was outlanded just 13-12 by Taylor, but as was the case in their previous 22 rounds of action(?), Jermain was busier, throwing 44 total punches to 36 for Bernard. Taylor won the round on all 3 cards. Hopkins then landed 16 of 54 total punches in the 12th, his high totals for the fight- again, too little, too late. After twelve rounds he again outlanded Taylor in total punches 130-124, throwing 371 to Taylor's 391. The difference in the rematch was Taylor's jab. He landed 64 of 209 (31%) after landing just 36 of 264 (14%) in the first fight. Taylor also started slower, conserving his energy for the stretch. He threw 44 punches in round eleven and 40 in round twelve, his high totals for the fight. All cards read 115-113 Taylor.
In his showdown with Oscar delaHoya in September of '04, after four cautious rounds (sound familiar?), Hopkins got his jab untracked in rounds five thru eight, averaging 32 thrown per round after getting off just 19 per round in the opening twelve minutes. That jab enabled Hopkins to outland delaHoya 39-18 in power shots before the end came, from a liver shot in round nine. Overall, Hopkins landed 99 of 361 total punches (27%) to 82 of 315 (26%) for Oscar, who never effectively dented Bernard's armor. Scoring thru 8: 79-73 H (Moretti); 78-74 H (Smith) and 77-75 D (McDonald).
Hopkins derailed the Tito Trinidad express on Sept. of '01, landing 260 of 653 (40%) total punches to 129 of 329 (39%) for Trinidad. That's 71 more landed punches for Tito vs. Hopkins than he landed vs. Winky four years later, but Hopkins ko win much more devastating to the fresher Trinidad.
By CompuBox count, Hopkins is 10-0 in his career vs. southpaws. He's comfortable carrying around that extra 10-12 pounds. Winky began his career at 152 lbs and has never fought above 160 lbs, despite walking around at 180-185 between fights.
Hopkins averaged 31 total punches thrown per round in his two losses to Taylor and in his win over Tarver. Can Hopkins win this fight throwing that few punches vs. Wright, who averaged 64 thrown per round vs. Quartey, Soliman and Taylor?
Both can play some defense as well. Those three opponents landed just 20% of their total punches vs.Wright and Hopkins' three opponents landed just 23% of theirs.
Can Bernard make Winky fight as his measured pace from the opening bell? Tarver, Taylor (twice), delaHoya & Trinidad averaged just 34 total punches thrown per round vs. Hopkins after throwing nearly double that number in many of their previous fights. If he can, then he'll take away Winky's most valuable weapon- the jab. The above mentioned fighters landed just 4 of 17 jabs thrown vs. Hopkins. Winky must take advantage of Hopkins' slow starts and take the fight to Bernard from the opening bell, put rounds in the bank and make Hopkins rally in the later rounds.
Who gets the close rounds? Wright, who figures to be busier (or there's no way he wins the fight), or Hopkins, who's the harder puncher and may be holding some "Golden Boy" juice with the judges.
Too close to call, but look for neither fighter to land more than 30% of their total punches. Did someone say draw?