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Wright not returning to ring against a slouch

Either Winky Wright is crazy, or he knows something the rest of the boxing world doesn’t. The former junior middleweight champion hasn’t fought in more than three years, and he’s 40, yet he has decided to take on top 10-ranked Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin in Saturday’s semi-main event at Home Depot Center.

The Golden Boy Promotions card will be headlined by a 12-round bout between former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver and Lateef Kayode in the cruiserweight division, and televised by Showtime.

Not only is Quillin ranked as high as No. 5 by one major governing body, he is highly motivated.

“My dad came here from Cuba on June 2 of 1980, so that falls on the same day of the fight,” Quillin, 28, said after a recent training session at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. “So I’m fighting right there as saying, my dad came here 32 years ago fighting for an opportunity to fight for an opportunity.

“And his oldest kid in the United States is still fighting for an opportunity. Not just for him, for me.”

Wright seems to know what he could be up against in Quillin (26-0, 20 KOs). He referred to Quillin as “A good fighter. He’s young, hungry, tough. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Wright said he was just enjoying life the past three years, and never really announced his retirement. He said he didn’t fight because he couldn’t get any of the top names to fight him.

Well, Paul Williams was a top name and he won a wide decision

over Wright in Wright’s last fight in April 2009. That was on the heels of a decision loss to Bernard Hopkins, which took place in July 2007 – a year and nine months prior.

That means that Wright on Saturday will be in just his third fight during roughly the past five years. Even so, he sounds like he is convinced he can come back and again become champion, and he knows he can’t fool around with lousy fighters if he expects to be considered for a title shot.

“We’re glad to get an opponent like Peter Quillin,” Wright said. “I’m here to prove that I want to fight the best. I’m not coming back just to fight and get a win.

“I want to fight the best. I want to be champion. If I can’t be champion, there’s no reason to do this.”

Wright insisted he is dedicated to giving this one more go.

“I know that I’m still in great shape,” he said. “I’m still in great health and if I want to do this, I believe I still have the ability to do this. I put in the hard work and put in the training.

“Training is the hardest part of boxing. The fight night is the easy part. That’s just one night to get in there and do what you do.”

Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs) has had some fine victories in his career, but there doesn’t figure to be anything easy about him getting the job done against Quillin, who is eager to get at Wright.

“I don’t know if he’s seen my power before,” Quillin said. “Yeah, he fought the greats. Maybe he’s a little beyond his time. But sometimes you gotta be like, `Man, sit your old (butt) down.”

It was pointed out to Quillin that Wright’s forte is a peek-a-boo style defense that can be difficult to penetrate. He scoffed.

“How is that going to put punishment on me?” Quillin said. “If he’s not going to throw no punches or he’s going to be defensive-minded … I think any great offense will break any good defense.”

Rojas services

Funeral services for former featherweight world champion Raul Rojas of Los Angeles are today at All Souls Mortuary and Cemetery, 4400 Cherry Ave. in Long Beach. Visitation is from 10:30a.m. to 12:30p.m. with the funeral to begin at 1p.m.

Rojas, who died May 20 at the age of 70 of natural causes, won the championship with a 15-round decision over Enrique Higgins in March 1968 at the Olympic Auditorium. He then went 1-1 in two non-title fights before losing his belt in his first defense to Shozo Saijo in September 1968 at the Coliseum.

Rojas, who went 38-7-2 with 24 knockouts, is survived by two daughters and several grandchildren.

According to longtime promoter/matchmaker/publicist Don Fraser, Rojas was all action in the ring.

“He was an exciting guy,” said Fraser, who worked Rojas’ title fight victory over Higgins. “You always saw a good fight. He wasn’t a guy who would disappoint. He wasn’t a fancy Dan. He just came to fight.”



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