The Dog's Of War DogFight: Kelly Pavlik
By Ken Hissner and Lou Catalano, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 6, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Kelly Pavlik

Doghouse Boxing knows that it's a "Dog Eat Dog" world out there. In this article we pit one Dog against another for the ultimate in DogFighting. This week from the Dog's Of War Files we pit Ken Hissner vs. Lou Catalano. First up, Ken Hissner who is defending Pavlik's actions of pulling out of this weekend's fight.

In Defense of Kelly Pavlik!

By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing. -
There has been story after story on Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik this past week. This 29 year-old Youngstown, OH, former WBC/WBO middleweight champion has finally spoke out! He feels he’s being used as a future “opponent” for southpaw Lucian Bute, 29-0 (24), the IBF super middleweight champion, in the latter’s now hometown of Montreal in the fall. He feels he can only win by a knockout.

Pavlik says he will have to win by a knockout in Montreal. He is ranked No. 11 by the IBF. Two of the other super middleweight champions in Andre Ward, 24-0 (13), (WBA Super World) and Carl Froch, 28-1 (20), (WBC) are meeting October 29th in Atlantic City. This is the final Showtime Super 8 tournament. Pavlik is the No. 1 contender for Froch’s WBC title yet his promoter Top Rank is sending him to Montreal to fight Bute?

The WBC’s Silver champion is Noe Gonzalez Alcoba, 27-1 (19), of Uruguay. After losing to Felix Sturm in 2007 for the WBA Middleweight title Gonzalez followed-up with 6 wins of which 5 of the opponents had losing records. In January of 2011 he “stepped up” defeating 39 year-old Gustavo Magallanes, 29-1 (25), of Mexico for the vacant Silver title. His last fight was defending that title for the first time over Mexico’s middleweight champion, who hadn’t fought in 2 years, Ruben Padilla, 18-2-1 (17). Gonzalez is the No. 2 WBC contender. Why not Pavlik meeting Gonzalez Alcoba in the US?

Ward’s the Super champion of the WBA and the WBA title is vacant. Pavlik is No. 6 in their ratings with the No. 5 contender losing this past week. Their No. 1 contender is Stanslav Kashtanov, 28-0 (15), of the Ukraine. His last 6 opponents have a combined record of 46-73-1. He meets Karoly Balzsay, 23-2 (17), of Hungary, the No. 2 contender August 28th in the Ukraine. Balzsay lost his WBO super middleweight title to the Russian Robert Stieglitz in August of 2009. His 2 wins in 2010 that “propelled” him to No. 2 were over 24-14-4 and 6-8 opponents. The latter was in November of 2010 when he had his last fight.

Speaking of Stieglitz, 40-2 (23), now living in Germany, his No. 3 contender is Pavlik. Since defeating Balzsay in 2009 his next 4 challengers are no longer in the top 15 ratings of the WBO. His last defense was in April of 2011 winning by disqualification. Sounds like a title fight in the US against Pavlik would be inviting.

This writer was disappointed that Pavlik pulled out of his “keep busy” fight this week-end against southpaw Darryl Cunningham, 23-2 (10), in Youngstown. Cunningham since turning pro in 2002 has only had 1 10 round fight. This 36 year-old boxer out of Detroit has defeated his 2 opponents this year whose combined records are 34-39-3, by decision. Certainly doesn’t sound like much of a threat.

Pavlik claims he wasn’t what the Cunningham fight paid until recently. He feels he’s being low balled in the Bute fight. He claims he has not been happy with his manager Cameron Dunkin. His loyal trainer Jack Loew was also disappointed about Pavlik pulling out of his fight but said he will continue to stand by him. Dunkin once informed me this writer he and Loew aren’t exactly on best of terms and it’s no secret he would like for another trainer to work with Pavlik. Loew and Pavlik have more than a boxer to trainer relationship. Dunkin also hasn’t communicated with Top Rank’s IBHOF matchmaker Bruce Trampler for over 5 years. As long as he doesn’t rock the boat with Top Rank’s Bob Arum Dunkin is in good standing.

Pavlik has announced he is willing to sit out a year until his contract with Top Rank is over. Loew and this writer aren’t exactly thrilled with that kind of inactivity. Pavlik had been asking for the other middleweight organization champions since his first defense over Gary Lockett, 30-1, in Atlantic City. After the win he made it quite clear to the writers he wanted to unify the titles. Arum made it clear that Bernard Hopkins would be next in a non-title bout. We all know how that worked out. It didn’t seem to be a problem for Top Rank to bring over one of the champions for Julio Cesar Chavez.

Top Rank gave Pavlik a couple of “cup cakes” in 2009 against Marco Antonio Rubio, 43-4-1, and Miguel Angel Espino, 20-2-1, whom he not only stopped in both cases, but fought both in Youngstown. When Top Rank announced Pavlik would fight the WBC Super welterweight champion Sergio Martinez, this writer let it be known he had no chance other than by knockout to outpoint the outstanding Martinez. It was like Pavlik and Hopkins all over. Martinez was not a mandatory or even in the middleweight ratings so what was the point? This had to be when Pavlik realized his promoter and manager were not putting his best interest first.

To this writer, Pavlik has been a breath of fresh air since Top Rank had him come on the scene defeating Edison Miranda in 2007 in an exciting WBC eliminator and two wins over Jermain Taylor for the WBC/WBO titles. After each Taylor match Pavlik would talk more about his fellow Youngstown past world champions than himself. The humbleness of Pavlik won himmany fight fans. Whether at middleweight or super middleweight, Pavlik could be a champion for years.

Where does Pavlik go from here? He’s already said he has enough money and living in Youngstown isn’t exactly a high cost of living. How the fans in Youngstown are going to feel toward Pavlik with the pull out time will tell. His last fight with Alfonso Lopez, 21-0, on paper looked good. The problem was Lopez didn’t seem hungry enough to press for a win. It made for a very frustrating fight.

Pavlik needs to be kept busy or we all know what could happen. A fight with recent winner Brian Magee, 35-4-1 (24), who won the interim WBA World super middleweight title in Costa Rica the end of July could be a possibility. Magee, from Ireland, has fought out of the country on 4 occasions but never in the US. At 36 it may be time to make that venture. Pavlik could fight for a title in his next fight but it looks like he has finally taken a stand, spoken out, and will have some say on whose next!


Bridge Burned: Instead of Tuning Up For Bute, Pavlik Abruptly Decides to Idle Quietly
By Lou Catalano, Doghouse Boxing

It was, in the end, a “business decision.” A really lousy one. One that left a major boxing network, a major promoter, and a few thousand fans in the lurch. Just four days before he was to fight on Showtime in front of his hometown fans, Pavlik bailed. In the process, he threw up a middle finger to everyone who has been supporting him in the last couple of difficult years.

We can surmise that Kelly Pavlik felt he was worth more than the reported 1.35 million dollars he was offered to fight Lucian Bute. While he might be right, he was dead wrong about two things. First, he was wrong in the way he went about this whole thing, and secondly, if he truly believes that Bute, or anyone else in the division needs him, he’s mistaken. This isn’t a dead division looking for a savior. In fact, the one weight class desperate for some competition is the one he just vacated, where there is Sergio Martinez, and there’s… um… yeah.

The super middleweight division is stacked. The point of the tune up fights was to establish that Pavlik was now a full-fledged 168 pound fighter ready to drop in on the crowd of top fighters already established there. Sticking Pavlik in the ring with any of them is certainly intriguing, but if he prices himself out, they can simply move on. Bute is the cash cow at the moment because he can easily draw 15,000 people in Montreal. Ward, while not a major draw, is an undefeated fighter who has yet to look vulnerable. Carl Froch is a hard hitting scrapper with more boxing skills than any of us though he had. Then there’s Mikkel Kessler, Glen Johnson, and Andre Dirrell. Nobody here is starving for fights.

Was this a ploy from Team Pavlik to see if they could get the offer raised? If so, it seems to have failed miserably, and in the process left Top Rank, Pavlik’s promoter, embarrassed and baffled at his actions. Pavlik is banking on his name alone, because in the one fight he’s had at 168, he wasn’t exactly scintillating. While the top of the division has been facing each other, he’s been on the shelf. He picked a hell of a time to start making financial demands.

His management team has raised a few eyebrows over the years. First, the Hopkins fight should never have been made. Yes, Hopkins didn’t look great in his previous fight. But he also left his opponent, Joe Calzaghe, looking less than spectacular. The fight was at 170, where Pavlik had never fought, against a defensive wizard that no one looks good fighting, in an absolutely no-win situation. If he won, he was simply beating up an old man. He didn’t win, and wasn’t even remotely competitive. He is then thrown into the ring against Martinez, a fast, agile southpaw, directly after his first stint in rehab. Now, there’s this week’s mess.

Perhaps Pavlik will go directly to fighting Bute, and maybe he’ll make significantly more money than he was due to make. If that’s the case, good for him, and bravo to his management team. Or, after the events of the last few days, while everyone else fights on, he’ll be on the shelf, looking for the proper pay day.

I’m not a financial analyst, but I’m pretty sure that sitting around without a fight on the horizon pays pretty lousy too.

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