Former undisputed junior middleweight champion Winky Wright, once a face of Jay-Z’s Rocawear brand, revealed Monday (June 4) that he’s retiring from boxing.
The 40-year-old boxer told ESPN.com the new Monday, from a golf course in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, saying he’s moving on.
“I’m gonna call it a day. I’m gonna chill out and play golf and live life,” Wright said.
Wright’s last fight came on Saturday night (June 2) when he lost to younger and quicker rising middleweight contender “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin. The 26-year-old fighter scored a rare knockdown against Wright in the fifth round and went on to take a lopsided 10-round decision victory.
The loss cemented Wright’s decision to retire. His record fell to 51-6-1, but that loss was just one of three straight over the past few years — he lost unanimous decisions to Bernard Hopkins for the lineal light heavyweight title (170 pounds, way heavier than his best weight) in 2007, a near-shutout decision to a prime Paul Williams in 2009, and then Saturday’s fight against Quillin.
His last victory was in 2006, a unanimous decision win over former welterweight titlist Ike Quartey.
“I figured I’m 40 and if I can’t be champion again, I don’t want to do it anymore,” Wright told ESPN.com.
“I accomplished a lot. I want to be true to my fans. I don’t want to be fighting just to be fighting. I don’t need that. I got money, but if I can’t be champion again, I’ll do something else. I’m retiring from the ring. The ring didn’t retire me. If I wanted just to fight I would have come back with an easier fight. I always wanted to challenge myself which is why I took a tough fight like I did.”
Wright, known as one of the best defensive fighters in boxing history (in his prime), had a remarkable 22-year pro-career, where he was a two-time 154-pound champion and a regular on the pound-for-pound list from the late 1990s until the late 2000s.
However, early in his career, he lacked name recognition and didn’t earn big money until mid-2000s, after he finally got his big break when he faced Shane Mosley in 2004. Wright won a unanimous decision to become the first undisputed 154-pound champion in 29 years, when he defeated Mosley, and it changed his career. Mosley would invoke his right to an immediate rematch and lost a majority decision in November 2004, which cemented Wright’s place among boxing’s elite.
From there, he’d go on to fight Felix “Tito” Trinidad and win in 2005, and then, got a shot then-middleweight champion Jermain Taylor and fought him to a disputed draw in one of the biggest fights of 2006. Wright was offered $5 million for a rematch, but turned it down and never saw big money like that gain. He fought and beat Quartey six months later, which turned out to be his last win.
Now, with boxing behind him, he plans to enjoying life with his wife Pie and his four kids.