Who’s Next For Kelly Pavlik?
By Ken Hissner (June 11, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
After Kelly ‘The Ghost’ Pavlik 34-0 (30) scored a dramatic knockout win in Atlantic City over the week-end, many names came up to who would be next for the WBO and WBC middleweight champion. His promoter Bob Arum was mostly talking Joe Calzaghe, 45-0 (32), the WBC, WBA, and WBO super middleweight champion. Pavlik was talking about unifying the titles with IBF champion Arthur Abraham, 28-0 (22), the Armenian, fighting out of Germany and WBA champion Felix Sturm 29-2-1 (13) of Germany. In the meantime the Mexican middleweight champion Marcos
Rubio, 42-4-1 (37), WBC #3 and WBO #4 contender, was sitting in the front row fresh off a knockout win the night before, wondering what happened to his promised September title shot at Pavlik? Arum even introduced him and brought him up for pictures with Pavlik. Was this his reward?

As it stands, Calzaghe may only have one more fight left in his career which will probably take place in the United Kingdom. Roy Jones, Jr, 52-4 (38), the former four division world champion has been mentioned as a possible opponent. Calzaghe has made twenty-one defenses of his WBO title.

On June 21st Abraham defends his title in Hollywood, Florida against Edison Miranda 30-2 (26) in a rematch from their September 2006 controversial fight in Germany. Abraham had his jaw broken halfway through the fight from what looked like a head butt. He was told to fight on or lose his title. He not only fought on but won the decision. In May 2007 Miranda fought what many called the fight of the year in a WBC eliminator with Pavlik, being stopped in the 7th round. On the undercard of Abraham-Miranda will be #1 WBC contender Giovanni Lorenzo, 26-0 (18), a Dominican, living in New York, against former IBF light middleweight champion Raul Marquez, 40-3-1 (29) the WBC #7 contender.

On July 5th in Oberhausen, Germany, Sturm defends his WBA middleweight title in a rematch with American Randy Griffin, 24-1-3 (12), the WBA #1 contender to whom he fought a controversial draw in October of 2007.

This leaves Pavlik with five options for his next fight. Calzaghe has little to gain coming off the lack luster Hopkins win in the US by fighting Pavlik. If this is his last year of boxing, a Jones match or even moving up and challenging one of the light heavyweight champions like IBF champion Antonio Tarver, 27-4 (19), would make more sense if it can be held in the UK. Jones said he would fight there but Tarver would be hesitant.

Rubio would most likely get his promised shot in September, with a unification bout in December for the winner. Rubio would have a punchers chance with any of the champs.

The Abraham-Miranda winner would certainly be high on the list at years end. Who wouldn’t want to see Pavlik-Miranda II? This is the first US fight for Abraham who would probably agree to come back if all goes well. Since his promoter and Sturm’s get along like Arum-King, there is much doubt of an Abraham-Sturm fight. On Sturm’s lone visit to the US he got the short end of the stick with Oscar De La Hoya in June of 2004. A fight most observers thought he won. There has been talk of him coming back to the US in December for a unification bout for the WBC and WBO titles. He must get by Griffin who is a Philly boxer, who last fought there in 2001 before moving to Kentucky.

The guess here is that Rubio will get his shot in Ohio in September and a unification bout will take place in December, possibly in Las Vegas. The WBC will put pressure on Pavlik to fight the Lorenzo-Marquez winner but that winner could fight the Abraham-Miranda winner especially if it’s Lorenzo since he is the 2nd leading contender in the IBF.

Two title bouts on the same card would set the stage for an April unification bout. Anyway you look at it the middleweight division is once again prospering thanks to Pavlik.

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2008