Best Of 2005

BEST LOCAL ATHLETE: Winky Wright

Just a couple of years ago, we in the Best of the Bay laboratory would have been debating over which Buc — Sapp? Brooks? Barber? — would bag this prize. Or perhaps which skater: St. Louis? Lecavalier? The landscape changed when our football team tanked the last couple of seasons and the Lightning went out of commission due to an NHL strike. But we’re not giving Winky a default award. Last November, he beat Shane Mosley in a rematch (he won the first fight) in the 154-pound weight class. Then in May, he moved up to middleweight (160) and absolutely dismantled the heavily favored Felix Trinidad. Winky, who grew up in St. Pete and still calls the ’burg home, does not possess a dazzling style or knockout prowess. The guy just wins — wins with great defense, a relentless jab, ring generalship, quiet toughness and class. If we gave runner-up awards in this category, they’d go to Jeff Lacy and Antonio Tarver. Both are boxers as well.