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Matchup breakdown: Hopkins-Wright

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

LAS VEGAS – Bernard Hopkins makes his comeback Saturday to fight Winky Wright in a light heavyweight bout at Mandalay Bay, about 13 months after announcing his retirement from boxing. Here is what each man must do to win:





Keys to victory
HOPKINS' KEYS WRIGHT'S KEYS
1. Control the pace. Wright is going to try to throw a high volume of punches. Hopkins should be the one who decides whether to push or slow the pace. . 1. Make Hopkins defend. Hopkins wants to punch in short, quick bursts, like Sugar Ray Leonard did against Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Wright would be wise to keep a high work rate to limit Hopkins'. .

2. Lead with the right. If Hopkins frequently leads with a hard, straight right, he can neutralize Wright's jab, which is one of his best weapons. 2. Avoid the clinch. Hopkins is a master at mauling opponents in the clinch. If he tries to grab Wright, Wright should parry and then fire a straight left. .

3. Stay off the ropes. Wright likes to set his feet to punch, so he's particularly effective when his opponent backs to the ropes. Hopkins thus should keep the fight in the middle of the ring. 3. Hook to the body. Wright should make Hopkins feel every one of his 42 years by committing to go hard to the body. Given the angles Hopkins fights at, the hook to the body will be an available punch..

4. Move the jab up and down. Hopkins needs to use his jab frequently, but he can create openings for himself by doubling up on it, starting to the body and then bringing it to the head. 4. Keep hands high. Wright always has a strong defense, but he needs to commit to it Saturday. Hopkins is bigger and probably stronger and Wright can't afford to be hit with too many clean shots.

Rating the fighters
Comparison of Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:
CATEGORY HOPKINS WRIGHT IOLE’S SKINNY
Punching power 7 7 Neither is a one-punch KO artist.
Jab 9 10 Ask Tito Trinidad about Wright’s jab.
Body attack 10 8 Hopkins is a master at going low, both legally and illegally.
Speed and
quickness
6 7 Both have seen better days in this area.
Defense 9 10 If this were an NFL game, it would be like the Ravens vs. the Patriots.
Chin 10 10 Neither hits hard enough with one punch to seriously hurt the other.
Stamina 9 9 Hopkins' remade body makes him more like 32 than 42.
Ring smarts 10 10 They, along with Floyd Mayweather Jr., are the three smartest active fighters.
Corner 10 10 Minute edge, since he's worked with Dan Birmingham his entire career. This is Freddie Roach's first fight with Hopkins.
Intangibles 9 10 Hopkins made his statement against Antonio Tarver; this is Wright's chance to make one against Hopkins.

Total 89 91 This fight will showcase technical boxing at its highest level. Hopkins is the naturally bigger fighter, but Wright might be slightly better technically. Look for Wright to win a decision in a taut fight that could be filled with controversy.