‘Winky’ Wright, Paul ‘The Punisher’ Williams say fight about family pride

Winky” Wright and Paul “The Punisher” Williams want to beat each other up for their kids’ sake.

Wright tells me the legacy he’s working on is to make sure his kids can say he was a fearless victor who beat up this guy, and that one, and that one.

“I want people to say I was a fighter that was scared of nobody,” win or lose, he says, so his kids can hold their heads up high.

Williams — who faces off with Wright on Saturday at Mandalay Bay — tells me his goal is pretty much the same.

“My kids — they come out to the fight, and they’ve been telling everybody at school, ‘My daddy beat this guy, my daddy did this, my daddy’s gonna be fightin’ on TV,’ ” Williams says. “That motivates me even more, so they can look up to me.

“There’s gonna be some big fireworks in there” in the ring, Williams, 27, says. “I’m gonna be gunnin’ like I always do. (Fans) are not gonna spend their money and see no action. Don’t get no beer or no popcorn (during the main event), or you may miss it.”

Wright, 37 (full name: Ronald Lamont Wright), talks with just as much confidence, promising that after Saturday’s bout, “I’m coming right back” to the ring for another fight, whatever it may be, either for HBO or Pay-Per-View.

“We’re just gonna bulldoze everybody, just keep goin’,” Wright says.


Williams has one clear advantage over Wright, his brutal nickname, The Punisher. How’d he come up with it?

“Me and my manager were coming back from Waffle House one day after a sparring match. He said, ‘You know, you’re gonna need a nickname.’ We were going over all kinds of names, and ‘The Punisher’ came up, and we kinda stuck with it.”

Winky’s nickname was given to him as a baby by a grandmother, then a ring announcer started using it, and that was that.

I want to be clear that Winky could kill me with one finger, and there’s nothing wrong with “Winky.” Wright loves the name. But if you think about it out of context, as I told Williams, it would look incongruous to see a headline declaring, “The Punisher beaten by Winky.” Williams laughed.

“Well, I’ll definitely try to hold to that, and not get beaten by Winky,” Williams says.

Despite their self-assurance, both Wright (from Florida by way of Washington, D.C.) and Williams (from South Carolina) are soft-spoken southpaws who speak with formal respect. Williams addresses me and other journalists as “sir,” as in, “Yes, sir” and “I’m doing fine, sir.”

Williams says he may say to himself about Wright that “I’m gonna murder him in the ring.”

“But outside the ring, I just meet him like a human being,” Williams says. “If you gotta say you’re the best and huff and puff, you really ain’t. My thing is: Prove it in the ring. My momma taught me a long time ago, ‘Talk is cheap, so put up or shut up.’ “

They’ve been training for months. Wright is “tired of waiting” for Saturday. When not training, he’s spent downtime with his family, going to the movies and playing golf, rather than doing Vegas nightclubs or other night life. (“I’m not a club person.”) Although, it’s harder to golf right before a bout.

“When I’m training and getting ready for a fight, it throws my golf swing off. I’m used to punching. And doing all the push-ups and pull-ups kind of throws off your swing.”

Williams spent last week on light training.

“We just go to the gym, do a little speed bag — no heavy training, just tuning up everything. All the hard stuff is gone and over with,” Williams says.


Outside of boxing, The Punisher has been dabbling in real estate. He owns a pair of four-unit apartment buildings in South Carolina and two houses. The rotten economy hasn’t taken a toll on him.

“I’m not affected by it,” Williams says. “Everything’s looking good for me.”

Wright, meanwhile, is reportedly in business negotiations to spread something called New Poker in Las Vegas and possibly other gambling markets. He declines to talk about this, though, since there’s “more to accomplish” with the potential venture.

“I got involved with somethin’. I really don’t want to speak on that yet,” he says.

“I’m not a big poker player, but I know a lot of big poker players. I’m good. I can play. But I ain’t never played in the World Series of Poker yet. I may do that next year. They tell me every year I gotta play, but man, I ain’t got time for that.”

Wright is more forthcoming about why he helps an outfit called Urban Youth Racing School.

“It’s just helping kids learn about racing cars, and building cars, and that whole aspect of the racing industry. There’s a lot of money in that industry, and you don’t see too many urban kids, or African-American kids, in that industry. It’s primarily dominated by Caucasians.”

Winky got involved because he thought the school was a great idea to give kids another career outlet to consider, and that there are “ways out there to make money” in the world. Plus, his 13-year-old son loved racing go-karts.

“When they said my son could drive, it just got me more enthusiastic,” he says. “He’s ridden them. My daughter — she just turned 16, so she’s drivin’ now. They love playing racing cars, and driving.”

What’s more, I tell him, those kids he so dearly fights for ought to be safer if they’re driving with helmets on.

“Yeah!” he says and laughs. “Much safer.”

What do you think? Tell me at delfman@reviewjournal. com, or post your reviews and rants at reviewjournal.com/elfman. My column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

Entertainment Videos
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of theatre talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
Film prompted Carrie Hogan to found 2 farmers markets in Las Vegas
Carrie Hogan founded Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market in Las Vegas after realizing she had to do something about the influence of factory farms on the food supply. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seafood dishes being made at Pasta Shop near Las Vegas
Executive chef Edwin Martinez incorporates fresh pasta into Lobster Salmon and Saffron Shrimp Sauté at Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson, near Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
Home Front Page Footer Listing