|Lopez and Pavlik – One Nice Guy Will Finish First
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (May 5, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
This Saturday night two of the nicest boxers this writer has come in contact with will meet each other when the former IBF Middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik, 36-2 (32), of Youngstown, OH, steps up to super middleweight to take on unbeaten Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez, 21-0 (16), of Cut n’ Shoot, TX. There’s an old saying “nice guys finish last.” Well unless it ends in a draw, one of these nice guys will finish first!
Pavlik was on top of the world in the middleweight division asking for the other world champions who were based in Europe. Top Rank’s Bob Arum and manager Cameron Dunkin never fulfilled Pavlik’s wishes. First was the lopsided loss to former champion Bernard Hopkins, the Archie Moore of today. That was Pavlik’s taste of stepping up to the super middleweight division in October of 2008. Hopkins was always one step ahead of Pavlik.
Pavlik followed this up with two knockout defenses and for some reason Arum and Dunkin decided to defend against the WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Not only was he not in the middleweight rankings but he was champion of another organization. Anyone who saw Martinez in his first fight with Paul “the Punisher” Williams knew this was one of the slickest boxers in the world. It made no sense. If he couldn’t hit Hopkins he would never hit Martinez, a slick southpaw, who was from Argentina before moving to Spain and was now calling California his home.
What bothers this writer is Pavlik called for unification for years and as soon as Julio Cesar Chavez get’s in line for a middleweight title bout Top Rank brings in Sebastian Zbik the WBC middleweight champion from Germany. Pavlik hasn’t fought since April of 2010 in losing to Martinez and had another big opponent to battle out of the ring in alcohol. Getting depressed after those two losses certainly had something to put him there. Now Pavlik steps up with one of the best prospects in the division in Lopez.
Lopez has again put Cut n’ Shoot, TX, back on the map. It was back in the 50’s when Roy Harris challenged then world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. The same people involved with Harris are part of the Lopez team. Working the corner will be Roy’s brother Henry and Roy’s nephew Trey. Bob Spagnola serves as a consultant whom was first known from the HBA days out of Houston and having current WBA junior middleweight champion Austin Trout and unbeaten heavyweight David “Nino” Rodriguez. There is plenty of experience in the Lopez camp.
Lopez won the WBC Continental Americas Super middleweight title in November in his last fight. He has only fought three times in that division with the rest of his fights as a light heavyweight. “Camp was great! We had a variety of tough sparring partners. There was Marcus Johnson, James Leon Johnson, Felix Cora, Jr., Cornelius White, Cedric Agnew and Terrance Woods. The toughest camp to date for me but I’m in the best shape,” said Lopez.
Lopez is a college graduate who uses his smarts in the ring. “Kelly has a foundation of defeat laid by Hopkins and Martinez. He struggles with movement and rhythm fighters. He puts so much pressure and punching power on you that he busts pipes. I have to take away his power,” said Lopez. Lopez has had knock out streaks of seven, five and four along with his last fight to register sixteen in his twenty-one fights so besides being a thinking boxer he can punch.
“The move up in weight for Kelly is going to help some. He won’t have to dry out so much weight. His hands will be heavy as a super middleweight. With his natural physical strength he killed guys at middleweight but is no longer his advantage. I’m completely focused on this fight more so then any other. The preparation I have had is something I have not been able to have for twenty-one fights. I’m excited about this fight. It’s going to be a great display of Alfonso Lopez,” said Lopez.
“Thank team Pavlik for the opportunity. Kelly is a great fighter and we have a tough job in front of us. Our focus has been on how to win the fight and have no plans on losing,” said Henry Harris. This writer is not looking forward to them fighting each other since they are two nice guys but the fans should love this match-up. With Pavlik off over a year and Lopez not fighting for six months it may take them a round or two to heat up but the fireworks should start by the halfway point.
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