|Pavlik is perfect over Rubio while Cotto crushes Jennings
By Ken Hissner, DoghouseBoxing (Feb 23, 2009)
It might not have improved the PPV ratings Saturday night but from where I was sitting with a UFC/MMA match within view there is no comparison. Watching the WBO/WBC middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik and the new WBO welterweight champ Miguel Cotto work over their opponent’s puts them right back on track!
Pavlik (35-1 (31) had Rubio (43-5-1 (37) “unnerved” before the fight even started as Rubio was going from one corner to the other “looking for an exit”. Pavlik used his jab to perfection while hooking to the body and blasting
Rubio with straight right hands. After a lopsided 1st round that had Rubio hurt just before the bell Pavlik was looking over eager to get his opponent out of there. His trainer Jack Loew told him between rounds not to let his guard down. Pavlik pitched a shutout chasing Rubio who disappointed his fans especially since he had been campaigning for this shot for a year and seemed overwhelmed by Pavlik and the many Youngstown fans that filled the Chevrolet Centre! To that, Pavlik remarked “this is going to be a memory I will never forget”. His manager Cameron Dunkin added “it was a great week-end”.
Rubio sat on his stool after the 9th round with his glove over his face in shame. If he had landed anything solid you would have thought he may have broken a hand. But it seems he simply had broken down. Rubio claimed to be “too tight and couldn’t let my punches go”.
For Pavlik and manager Dunkin its time for a unification bout and “no more” non title bouts. Arthur Abraham the IBF champ claims he is willing to fight Pavlik and has a successful visit to the US while Germany’s Felix Sturm the WBA champ has been to the US once before but got short changed after giving Oscar DeLaHoya a boxing lesson and may hesitate coming back. To put Pavlik who in defeating Rubio who was the #1 WBC and #3 WBO contender in with #2 WBC Domenico Spada 28-1 (14) of Italy or #1 WBO #1 Sebastian Zbik 25-0 (9) of Germany would be mismatches compared to a unification bout. Top Rank’s Arum would like Pavlik to fight again every 3 months for the rest of the year starting in June at a Cleveland location.
Arum has got to put as much effort in unification as he did in matching Pavlik in a match with Bernard Hopkins. Pavlik had no problem coming in at 159. Arum considered Sturm as a possible opponent but never mentioned Abraham. A Pavlik Abraham match would be worth viewing. There is a large Armenian population in California that would probably pack them in out there especially after Pavlik beating at least his 15th Latino.
Madison Square Garden welcomed Miguel Cotto 33-1 (27) back in winning the vacant WBO welterweight title over #3 contender Michael Jennings 34-2 (16) of England after spending most of the first 3 rounds trying to catch the fleet footed opponent who used his jab to keep Cotto from dropping any bombs early. Cotto showed patience until finally dropping Jennings with body shots twice in the 4th round. In the 5th round Cotton again dropped Jennings only to have referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. step in to stop Jennings from receiving any more punishment. This is a perfect example of ratings politics. Jennings had not earned his way into the WBO’s top 10. The WBO’s #2 contender Shane Mosley was bypassed for the vacant title and took on the WBA’s Antonio Margarito and again became a champion. It is time for Cotton and Mosley to have a rematch from their close battle in November of 2007. Talk of a Cotto Kermit Cintron fight would be ridiculous after Cintron’s draw with Sergio Martinez a week ago as a light middleweight. The IBF’s new champ Joshua Clottey and the WBC’s Andre Berto would be available if the WBC doesn’t force Berto into a rematch with Luis Collazo who seemed to get the short end of their match recently. Cotto simply said “I am open to anything”. Cotto’s promoted by Top Rank whose president Todd duBoef proclaimed “I think we’ve already beaten Mosley”. Many observers questioned that after the two fought. Whoever the opponent will be it looks like June 13th back in Madison Square Garden is next.
The semi-windup match featuring Ireland’s John Duddy 26-0 (17) and Matt Vanda 39-9 (22) of Minnesota was one sided in Duddy’s favor until the 10th and final round when Vanda went for the knockout but only avoided a shut out. Duddy has been talking about dropping down to light middleweight. He is currently #2 in the WBO. Putting him in with Pavlik would be a career ending proposition for Duddy. He spent his first 4 years in the US before returning to Ireland to win 3 straight edging over the hill Howard Eastman 96-94. He had every chance to fight for a European title then but returned to New York winning 3 straight over non contenders. His latest trainer Pat Burns actually has this left hook artist using a jab that looked good against Vanda, but he would never get close to using it against the much taller Pavlik. Duddy is a big draw wherever he has fought but they have to know his limitations at this point in his career.
The best action on the PPV card was another Cameron Dunkin fighter in Russia’s Matt Korobov 4-0 (4) trained by Dan Birmingham. With a 300-10 amateur background this 26 year old has stopped all his opponents whom have had 50-50 records. His opponent Cory Jones 4-5 (1) was by far his toughest but when he felt Korobov’s power in close in the opening round it was a matter of survival. From his southpaw stance Korobov pole axed Jones with his right hand dropping him face first onto the canvas and out at 2:59 of the 4th and final round. That’s 4 wins in 4 months for the Russian prospect now living in Florida. He has all the skills to be in the middleweight’s top 10 in a year’s time at this rate.
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