State Of The Game: Kelly Pavlik

By Jeff Young


State Of The Game: Kelly Pavlik

Pavlik takes a risk by fighting Miranda

Kelly Pavlik has been told by Lou DiBella that he was not ready to face middleweight champion Jermain Taylor and that he needed to face Edison Miranda before even thinking about a possible title fight. Even though Pavlik feels that he is ready and that a Miranda fight should not be a determining factor, Pavlik has stepped up, along with Miranda, to accept the challenge. On May 19, on the same card as Taylor's defense against Cory Spinks in Memphis, Tennessee, The Ghost and The Panther will settle the question of who is more deserving to face the middleweight champion of the world. With the announcement of the fight, Miranda has turned his attention on a campaign to try to intimidate Pavlik. Pavlik, on the other hand, is confident of his place and the future outcome of the fight.

"This fight just shows that Miranda and myself are not scared to face anyone in the middleweight division," states Pavlik. "This is really the main event of the night because no one cares about Jermain Taylor facing another junior middleweight. This is the biggest fight in the middleweight division right now and after this fight, I will finally get my shot at Taylor."

Pavlik knows that the first step to Taylor is the power punching Miranda, but Pavlik has saw what many are saying about Miranda's power since coming to America. "I feel his power is some what overrated," states Pavlik. "I also feel his chin is a question mark as well. He was hurt by Howard Eastman, Arthur Abraham, Sherwin Davis, and was dropped by Allan Green. He cannot fight going backwards either. You have to force him back. Of course you do not want to let him have free shots at you by standing right in front of him, but you want to push him back. One thing is for sure and that is the winner of this fight is the number one contender to Jermain Taylor no matter what. We are not running from anyone in the division."

If this is the best fight in the middleweight division and with rumors of this possibly being Taylor's last fight at 160, the promoters of Pavlik and Miranda may want to consider asking the WBC to designate this fight as an elimination bout, but Pavlik is not concerned with that side of the sport.
"I would love for this to be a title fight," says Pavlik. "I do not know if that was discussed or not. I let the promoters and Bob Arum take care of that side of the sport."

But Pavlik should be concerned that Taylor may opt for a proposed mega fight with Roy Jones Jr. in September if win their next fights. "Well not really, because Roy Jones always has a fight scheduled with some one that never takes place," states Pavlik. "With this fight, the winner has to face Taylor because it is obvious that he is running. He is running from Miranda and myself. I am the number one contender in the WBC and Miranda is the number one contender in the IBF. I am in line to face Taylor now. Yet they are not fighting me, they are fighting Cory Spinks."

Being the number one contender and not getting the fight has to be a disappointment to most guys, but Pavlik feels that this is the last step and that there is a reason why Taylor has not faced guys like himself or Miranda.
"He has never faced a puncher," states Pavlik. "They put so much credit on his controversial wins over Hopkins and his controversial draw against Winky Wright. Lets face it, I thought Hopkins and Wright both beat him plus they are not big punchers. Hopkins is in his 40s and Winky is just as old as Bronco McKart who Dibella criticized me for fighting yet McKart has not been through what Wright has plus I stopped McKart and Taylor barley survived Wright. I am not taking anything away from Wright or Hopkins, but they are not punchers. Spinks is not a puncher, he has never been a puncher, Ouma is not a puncher, and their first choice of Sergio Mora is not a puncher. I am a puncher and Dibella is just doing his job and that is to protect Jermain Taylor."

Pavlik does not feel that it is a major concern if Taylor gives up the WBC title and moves up. "If he does move up, I will get the title anyway," says Pavlik. "I want to be the middleweight champion because I feel it will give my team more bargaining power when we move up. Jermain cannot continue to run. I know he is running and it is not the first time they have done this. I feel that by winning a world title, it will give me a better chance at securing the big fights at 168 and higher. You see, Jermain Taylor is not a draw. By selling only 10 thousand tickets in Little Rock proves this, and I think Dibella knows he has to have myself facing Miranda to sell Taylor's fight against Spinks in Memphis because facts are that he is facing a welterweight. Taylor giving up the title and moving up is not a concern, but if that does happen, it proves that Jermain Taylor is running."

On May 19, the world will know just exactly who is the number one contender to world champion Jermain Taylor, and after all the trash talk between Dibella, Pavlik, and Miranda, if Taylor does not face the winner of this fight it could be a major strike against him depending on who he fights instead. It is one thing to be battling weight issues and even Pavlik stated that "A lot of us are big middleweights, but we do what we have to do to make the weight. It is hard on a lot of us, but we fight middleweights not blown up welterweights."

There is a point to that, if Taylor is struggling to make weight than the best thing to do is move up and stop wasting everyone's time by facing smaller fighters. Move up and take on a bottom top 10 fighter at 168, because right now the middleweight division is on hold, especially if Taylor moves up after the Spinks fight and for Miranda and Pavlik that is unfortunate, but for Pavlik there are several options. For Miranda a loss may really push his status back, but there will always be a demand for a rematch with Arthur Abraham.

A Few Quick Notes

After the second fight between Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver, Tarver's trainer, Buddy McGirt explained to the press about how he tells one of his fighters it is time for a career change and that it usually starts with offering the fighter a cigar. Well to credit Buddy McGirt I think that it is time to give that cigar to Diego Corrales. it has been a great career, but after the Joshua Clottey fight, it is time to close the book on it. Thanks for the memories, but it is time to call it a career. As far as Clottey goes, I think it is time to see who is the next in line for a title shot at welterweight, lets see Clottey vs Berto.

And lastly, I know that great fights have come between junior middleweights and middleweights, but when you are talking Hagler-Leonard or Hagler-Hearns lets face it there is not one junior middleweight that Jermain Taylor has fought that can be mentioned in the same breath as Leonard or Hearns, and Taylor is not even close to Hagler. Everyone has opinions on this issue, but lets quit trying to make this fight into something bigger than it really is. Cory Spinks is a solid boxer with limited power and a questionable chin. He was chosen the same reason Ouma was and Mora was as well. They are trying to get Jermain a name to knockout. Nothing more, nothing less. In reality it is what happens after this fight that will define the career of Jermain Taylor. Anything short of fighting the winner of Pavlik/Miranda or moving up to face Joe Calzaghe will be a terrible choice, and, in my opinion that includes a fight with Roy Jones Jr. 


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