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Wright gets it wrong as return flops

PAUL Williams asserted his claim to a major belt with a unanimous decision over former middleweight champion Ronald 'Winky' Wright in a non-title bout between the two Americans on Saturday.

Williams pounded at Wright's famed defensive posture from the opening bell at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, relentlessly breaking down the former champion, returning to the ring after a 21-month absence.

With so many punches to block, Wright didn't have time to land enough scoring blows against his taller, longer opponent. Williams barely appeared tired by the closing bell, chasing Wright up to the final seconds.

"I felt like I did in the first round in the 12th," Williams, 27, said. "That was because of my hard training, and running seven miles a day. It helped my breathing. I expected Winky to throw big shots, and he did. We went 12 hard rounds. I anticipated that it was going to be a tough fight. I would have loved to knock him out."

Judges Jerry Roth and Robert Hoyle favored Williams 119-109, while Adalaide Byrd gave every round to Williams, 120-108.

Williams threw a 1,086 punches, connecting with 23 percent, while Wright managed just 511. Nearly two-thirds of Williams' punches were power shots, taking an inexorable toll on the 37-year-old Wright.

In his first fight since losing a decision to Bernard Hopkins in the same ring in July 2007, Wright still had strong defenses - but they weren't enough. For every counter-punching shot landed by Wright, Williams replied with elaborate combinations, forcing Wright to retreat again.

Wright's left eye swelled nearly shut by the 11th round, making his corner's pleas for a knockout seem ambitious. "I just couldn't get my punches off," Wright said. "He was very tall and awkward with really long arms."


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