|Bernard Hopkins (left) weighed in with a scuffle against Winky Wright. (R. MARSH STARKS/REUTERS)|
Brawl before a fall?
LAS VEGAS -- Bernard Hopkins shoved Winky Wright in the face at the weigh-in for tonight's 170-pound fight, sparking a heated scuffle between their entourages.
After both fighters weighed in at exactly 170 pounds at the Mandalay Bay casino yesterday, they stood face-to-face for the usual post-weight photographs. But Hopkins, the 42-year-old veteran who renounced retirement to face Wright, became animated and waved his finger in Wright's face.
Wright then put his finger in Hopkins's face, and Hopkins shoved Wright's head backward with a shot to the forehead. Wright replied with a righthanded swing, and both fighters' entourages quickly jumped in to separate the fighters and exchange their own shoves and blows.
Hopkins quickly exited the stage to his fans' cheers, while Wright taunted Hopkins from the other side of the stage, to the delight of his fans. The scuffle eventually dissipated without too many serious blows being thrown.
Though only Hopkins knows what sparked the display, it can't hurt business. If any fight ever needed an element of danger to entice pay-per-view buys, it's this match between two respected fighters known more for their patience and tactical styles than for memorable knockouts.
Hopkins taunted Wright even before both fighters stepped on the scale, holding his forearms up to his face and skipping backward in a mockery of Wright's defensive stance. Hopkins and Wright have slammed each other as boring fighters, and both promise to knock out the other.
The 35-year-old Wright (51-3-1, 25 KOs) is making his first appearance as a light heavyweight to fight for the Ring magazine title awarded to Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KOs) after his upset victory over Antonio Tarver last year.
Both fighters agreed to a catch-weight of 170 pounds for the fight, with Wright adding 10 pounds to his favored 160-pound weight.