Looming as the biggest middleweight title match up since the glory days of Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard 20 years ago, Undisputed and Undefeated Middleweight World Champion Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor will put his belts on the line against Winky Wright on Saturday night, June 17th, at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. DiBella Entertainment, Gary Shaw Productions and Prize Fight Promotions will present the boxing extravaganza.
The victor in this compelling title encounter pitting Taylor (25-0, 17 KO's), the youthful megastar and favorite son of Little Rock, Arkansas against the veteran standout Wright (50-3, 25 KO's), pride of St. Petersburg, Florida, can lay claim to the title of best pound for pound fighter in world. HBO will televise the showdown live at 9:30pm (ET) / 8:30pm (CT) / 6:30pm (PT).
"We will equal Las Vegas as a fight town. The economic impact - $60 million is important to Memphis, this is not chump change," said Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton. "Jermain is good, Winky is good, may the best man win."
Taylor first captured the Undisputed Middleweight Championship against the legendary Bernard Hopkins on July 16, 2005 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with a 12 round split decision triumph, and defended the title for the first time in a rematch with Hopkins on December 3, 2005 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with a unanimous decision victory. Taylor has not tasted defeat in his pro career, upending the likes of Hopkins, William Joppy and Raul Marquez.
"Having held my last training camp there, and it being just two hours from Little Rock, Memphis is like a second home to me, said Taylor. "I can't wait to perform in front of my fans from Arkansas and my adopted hometown fans in Memphis. It's going to be a great fight. I have never seen anything like Winky's defense. He can defend all day, but we are going to have to eventually fight."
St. Petersburg, Florida's Wright has reeled off 11 straight wins, including a victory over Felix Trinidad, two victories over Shane Mosley and has not lost since December 3, 1999, which was a controversial decision to Fernando Vargas.
"Two great fighters will be coming to Memphis to show who's the best. I am here for one reason-to beat Jermain Taylor on June 17," said Wright. "He beat Hopkins, I beat Tito, now we will find out who the best middleweight is."
"Memphis has illustrated clearly that it is a boxing town and FedExForum is one of the finest arenas in the country. We look forward to the southern hospitality in June," said Lou DiBella president of DiBella Entertainment. "Jermain is the best fighter I have ever promoted. I am proud to be his promoter. He is my franchise. He is low maintenance champion. I think it is his toughest fight. Jermain will prove himself again to be the best middleweight."
"This will be a tremendous battle in a tremendous city, and the most important fight in the 160 pound division," said Gary Shaw, Wright's promoter. "This is a fight that Jermain truly has to win because Winky is the gatekeeper of the 160 pound division."
Said Prize Fight Promotions COO Brian Young: "This is the most significant middleweight championship fight in the last 25 years since Hagler vs. Leonard. The stakes couldn't be any higher in what promises to be the major fight of 2006. Two great fighters with one goal. I could not be more excited for my hometown to be the site of this epic battle."
Tickets are priced at $1,250, $1000, $750, $500, $300, $150, $100 & $75, with over 6,000 seats priced at $100 or lower. Tickets will go on sale today ( Wednesday, April 5th) and will be available at FedExForum Box Office (901-205-2640), all Ticketmaster locations, by calling Ticketmaster at 901-525-1515 or online at www.ticketmaster.com