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· The Epoch Times·

Sports

May 30 - June 5, 2005

Winky Wright Seeks Big Pay Day at Last
Wright, who has a 49-3 winloss record, wants a purse like the $10 million paid to Trinidad, and does not care who he is matched against. “It’s just about trying to get the best money fight,” said Wright, who made about half of Trinidad’s purse and is looking to book his next fight in November or December. Wright paid his pugilistic dues over the years, plying his craft in France, England, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco and Argentina as he worked up the ladder after starting his professional career 15 years ago. A brilliant boxer, Wright relies on speed, defense and a stinging jab to overcome opponents. Some boxing observers feel his lack of punching power has kept him from attaining marquee status. Wright bristles at the notion.

Some Light at the End E of the Icy Tunnel?
NEW YORK, (Sports Network)— Hints of cautious optimism have been trickling out of the most recent collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Instead of a month passing between rounds of talking, Gary Bettman, Bob Goodenow and Co. have been sitting down at the table at least twice a week. Earlier this month was the most promising of the sessions, as the sides met in New York City. The sessions included an exhausting 22 hours spent exchanging ideas. There were two more days of chatter last week, and we’ll likely see more of the same as June begins. Now, there hasn’t been any kind of cap number agreed upon or anything like that, but the dialogue has been productive enough to hear talk that a June deal could be possible. Deal? Next month? Very recently thoughts like this would have been ridiculous. The NHL was too busy canceling the season and filing grievances with the National Labor Relations Board But since that point, Bettman and the NHL have backed off their threat to use replacement players in the fall if there is no CBA. That gesture has seemingly restored some semblance of good faith in the process, and the speed and regularity of discussions has therefore increased. Essentially, the pace and vibe is close to what we should have seen this time last year, when the thrill of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was dampened by the CBA expiration that was less than four months away. Of course, Bettman and Goodenow probably didn’t just magically realize that talking more than once every three or four weeks doesn’t make sense if you’re truly trying to come up with something. The NHL’s marketing and television partners likely had something to do with the new sense of urgency as well. It’s hardly a secret that ESPN is ready to move on if the NHL doesn’t get something done in a timely manner, but a Sun Media report over the weekend stated that some of the league’s top advertisers are in the same boat. The report mentioned that companies like Ford, Sony and Molson said they would take their ads to other places if the lockout doesn’t end by June 15. Actually, you have to give these companies, as well as ESPN, some points for being as patient as they have been. Considering the NHL product wasn’t necessarily a ratings-advertising-money magnet before this labor mess, they could have bailed the moment Bettman scratched the 2004-05 season. You’d have to think this reported threat would give the powers that be in the league and union the kick in the rear they needed, because without premier advertisers and that cable network, the revenue stats these negotiations have been based around would shrink considerably. Believe me, the NHL wouldn’t be making as much money if its top advertisers were Kia, Sanyo and some micro-brew from rural Alberta, and the games were shown on Spike TV. No disrespect to those companies, but they just don’t have the clout. I mean, I love the “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge” on Spike as much as the next guy, but c’mon. It’s hardly big-time, which is a realm the NHL is trying to get back into. So, we wait. We’ve been patient throughout this whole process, so what’s another month (let’s hope) or two. Hopefully by July we’ll be analyzing the huge free agent crop and wondering how they will determine the order for the next draft instead of reading yet another statement by Bill Daly or Ted Saskin.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

IN THE BIG TIME: Boxer Ronald “Winky” Wright, 33year-old former undisputed junior middleweight champion, hopes the big money purse will be within his grasp after his impressive victory over Felix Trinidad earlier this month. NEW YORK (Reuters)— Ronald “Winky” Wright hopes he has finally landed in the driver’s seat after a long, hard journey up the ranks capped off by a lop-sided victory over Felix Trinidad this month. Wright, who dominated middleweight Trinidad in a unanimous decision in Las Vegas, is being linked to big-pay bouts against Oscar de la Hoya, Fernando Vargas or the winner of the July 16 middleweight title fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor.

“It’s called boxing, not knockouts.”
“It’s called boxing, not knockouts,” said Wright, who has not stopped an opponent inside the distance since winning his IBF light middleweight defense against Jason Papillion in the fifth round. “The fans love the way I fight.” Wright outboxed Trinidad to such extent that one judge gave him every one of the 12 rounds, while the other two scored just one round each for Trinidad, who lost for only the second time in 44 bouts. Still, Wright insists he uses whatever style he needs. “I’m Winky. I’m gonna be me till the day I die,” said Wright, who was given his nickname as a kid by his grandmother. “I can box, I can slug, I can box inside, I can do it all, whatever the fight calls for.” Against Trinidad, the key weapon was his snapping jab. Wright, a natural right-hander, boxes from a southpaw stance, giving his jab unusual power. “The first jab I hit him with he buckled,” said Wright. “I never let him get set. He wasn’t ready for me. By the second round I said, “We got it. It’s over.”

Best in the Champions League
John D. Mchugh/AFP/Getty Images

VICTORY CELEBRATION: The Liverpool team holds aloft their newest trophy to the thousands of fans who welcomed them home on May 26, 2005, following their Champions League victory over AC Milan in Istanbul the previous day. Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

“It’s been a long road. It’s not about titles anymore.”
Or there could be a rematch with Trinidad, if the Puerto Rican boxer can be coaxed out of the retirement he announced after being thoroughly beaten by Wright. “It’s been a long road. It’s not about titles anymore,” the 33-year-old former undisputed junior middleweight champion told reporters last Thursday. “I’m on a straight money chase.”

White Says Longer Bans Won’t Deter Drug-Takers
OSLO (Reuters) — U.S. sprinter Kelli White, stripped of two world championship gold medals after admitting doping, believes drug makers are far ahead of the testers and doubts that stiffer bans would deter athletes from taking prohibited substances. White hopes to return to competition next year after a ban resulting from drug-assisted wins in the 100 and 200 meters in 2003. Guilt had started gnawing at her the moment she hit the tape and she felt she had betrayed her friends and family. “Once I crossed the finish line at the 200 I knew that ... something wasn’t right,” she said. “It didn’t feel good. I should have been happy, I should have been doing a victory lap but I couldn’t. I just had so much guilt.” White, 28, is cooperating with a U.S. investigation into the Bay Area Lab Co-Operative (Balco) in California which she said supplied her with drugs. Balco listed a string of other sportsmen and women among its drug clients. “The drug makers are very far ahead of the drug testers and that’s where the real issue lies,” she told a news conference last Thursday during a conference in Oslo on drug abuse in sport. White had a lawyer at her side who told her not to answer any questions that might implicate others. White was suspended for two

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DRUGS IN SPORTS: Kelli White of USA races in the women’s 200m during the IAAF World Athletics Final on September 13, 2003 in Monaco. White, who is currently banned because of using drugs, doubts longer bans will deter athletes from taking performance-enhancing drugs.

years on May 16, 2004, after admitting use of drugs including THG (Tetrahydrogestrinone) and the blood booster EPO. She said lifetime bans were not the answer. “I think a lifetime ban is very harsh, I think it’s too harsh. There are strong penalties. I wouldn’t say ‘increase that’ at all ... I’ve learned my lesson thoroughly. “I believe I can be made an ex-

ample of what not to do. She urged more publicity when athletes were caught to warn off others. “I know that there are other cases that have gone forward where athletes have been suspended but we don’t hear those things. It makes it seem as if there’s nothing going on out there, like there’s nobody being caught.”

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Sports Briefs
Venus Williams Beaten by 15-Year-Old Karatantcheva
PARIS (Reuters)—Former world number one Venus Williams suffered one of the most humiliating defeats of her career last Friday when she was beaten 6-3 1-6 6-1 in the third round of the French Open by 15-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria, ranked 98th in the world. The American, seeded 13th, was guilty of 52 unforced errors as she exited in one hour 24 minutes. celebrated their team’s return home last Thursday after the Reds’ thrilling Champions League final win over AC Milan in Istanbul. Supporters dressed in Liverpool shirts and hoarse from all-night celebrations trickled back to Merseyside looking tired but brighteyed following last Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out victory after extra time. Despite flight delays they remained jubilant, banging on drums and singing club songs, brandishing flags and banners of their beloved team, who had come from 3-0 down at halftime to draw 3-3 within 15 minutes of the re-start.

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Liverpool Keeps Party Going after Europe Win
LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters)— Deliriously happy Liverpool fans

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