Kelly Pavlik Confident In His Return to Atlantic City
By Brandon Estrict (April 8, 2010) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
Kelly ‘The Ghost’ Pavlik, The Ring, WBC and WBO Middleweight World Champion, will put his divisional supremacy on the line when he meets WBC Jr. Middleweight Champion, Sergio ‘El Maravilla’ Martinez of Argentina, April 17 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The fight will be broadcast live on HBO World Championship Boxing as part of a split-site doubleheader, co-anchored by IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute defending his title against rugged challenger Edison Miranda in Canada.

For the Youngstown, OH-born champion, Pavlik, 36-1 (32), the bout marks his return to the scene of the crime. Nearly two years ago, Pavlik met the incomparable Bernard Hopkins at Boardwalk Hall, and in a fight he was heavily favored to win, suffered the lone loss of his professional career. Hopkins embarrassed and virtually shut out the young upstart, 17-years his junior, over 12 lopsided rounds.

Because the fight was fought at a 170 lb. catchweight, Pavlik kept his Middleweight crown and returned to the 160 lb. division, scoring two straight knockout victories over outgunned challengers.

In Martinez, 44-2-2 (24), Pavlik once again finds himself in with a slick boxer who will enjoy an advantage in both hand and foot speed, just like Hopkins did in their fight. To compound matters, Martinez will be the first southpaw Pavlik has seen since Bronco McKart in 2006.

“I think everyone going off of what happened in the Hopkins fight, thinking we can’t handle a guy that moves, are going to be shocked with what happens in this Martinez fight,” said outspoken long-time trainer, Jack Loew.

“We won’t go in there, like in the Hopkins fight, and follow him around without throwing back. We’re going to break him down. In the early going the fight might be interesting, but Kelly’s strength and power will show up late.”

Pavlik has developed into a crowd favorite in the Garden State, mainly thanks to coming off the canvas to brutally stop former Middleweight champ, Jermain Taylor, here in 2007. He’s defended his titles three times since then, including once here at Boardwalk Hall when he pummeled the ‘The Kneeling Welshman’ Gary Lockett, into submission in three rounds.

“We love fighting in AC, if we can’t fight in Youngstown,” Loew told Doghouse Boxing.

“Fighting here is like home away from home and we’ve proven we can put asses in seats, even when we fought Lockett. Now that we have a legit fighter in Martinez, I’ve already gotten calls from everyone for tickets and Youngstown will be in the house that’s for sure!”

Promoter Top Rank is expecting a sellout of the 10,000 seat arena. Local prospects Jeremy Bryan, 13-0 (6), of Paterson and Glen Tapia, 5-0 (4), of Passaic will both be in action on the non-televised portion of the card.

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