Pavlik and Hopkins Meet In Philly
By Ken Hissner (Aug 7, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
WBC and WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik came to the former middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins home turf in South Philly Tuesday. A news conference was held at Chickie and Pete’s sports bar announcing their October 18th match that Top Rank and Golden Boy, in association with Caesars Atlantic City, that will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Both fighters seem very respectful toward one another. Pavlik just defended his title against a no name boxer in Gary Lockett of the United Kingdom drawing a sparse crowd in Atlantic City. Rumors were Marco Antonio Rubio, the Mexican champ, would be next. He has been moved up to the top spot in the WBC ratings. The WBO ratings have another more unknown than Lockett in Sebastian Zbik of Germany in their top spot. Neither of these two boxers are going to help fill an arena. Pavlik himself would prefer Felix Sturm the WBA champ or Arthur Abraham the IBF champ to unify the titles. His promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is pushing toward the Hopkins fight now that the Joe Calzaghe’s match didn’t work out. Arum has won out it seems.

Pavlik who defeated Jermain Taylor twice with the latter non-title match set at 166, with this one at 170 in Hopkins favor. At 43 Hopkins is 17 years the senior to Pavlik, so he needed an edge. This bout could be similar to the second Pavlik-Taylor match matching styles more than punches. Can Pavlik knockout Hopkins? This will be on most peoples minds instead of can Hopkins shut down Pavlik’s offense like he did Calzaghe’s?

Hopkins was first to speak. “In this fight we have two blue collar guys. I respect what this guy (Pavlik) has done. He is my successor and he got the title the old fashion way like I did. I have my job to do and I am not afraid of a ghost,” said Hopkins. Hopkins went on about not showing his age. George Foreman set an example that too many boxers tried to copy and are walking around on their heels not making any sense when they try to talk. Hopkins has to realize that it could all collapse in just one fight. By taking on a puncher like Pavlik he is certainly putting himself at risk. Antonio Tarver may have a punch but he certainly doesn’t have the heart that Pavlik does.

Pavlik was next to speak. “People asked me why I took this fight. I wanted Calzaghe but we couldn’t get him. Then somebody mentioned Bernard Hopkins. We train the same for each fight. It will be a pleasure to be in the same ring with him” said Pavlik. It’s been said watch what you ask for. One thing Hopkins isn’t and that is a pleasure to fight. You can ask any of his last 20 plus opponents about that.”

Pavlik continued, “There is no one else to fight. Calzaghe won’t fight, so this is the only fight I had. He can’t make 160, so we are fighting at 170. I’m 6’2” and walk around at 176. My punches have more snap at a heavier weight and I’m not drained.”

In closing Pavlik is doing this for the fans as much as for himself and Hopkins. “A win over Bernard Hopkins is great. There is no pressure on me no matter how it turns out. Boxing was down a little, and this fight should be like Margarito-Cotto was. It’s what boxing needs,” said Pavlik. This writer will be cheering for Pavlik to score a knockout. Pavlik is one of the most humble boxers in the game today. Hopkins may not be as bad as Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or Larry Holmes, but he has an arrogance that is hard to root for even for those in the Philly area.

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