Before we all start to get Pacquiao vs. Cotto fever with the first episode of HBO’s awesome series, 24/7, there has some a good amount of boxing news that needs to be addressed. I have kept quiet long enough and now to add my two cents.
First off, the news came down yesterday that the much awaited Middleweight showdown between Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik and Paul “The Punisher” Williams has been postponed…again. It seems that Pavlik is still feeling the affects of his multiple surgeries to remove a staph infection which has caused him to postpone three fight dates this year (Mora in June, Two with Williams).
The WBC and WBO middleweight champion was trying to fight through the pain and seemed like he was on his way there. However, he cannot close his hand completely and as a result is unable to train properly. His trainer Jack Loew has advised not to go through with the bout.
“He’s trying,” said Loew. “He’s running, he’s trying to shadow box with one hand, hit the speed bag with one hand…I’ve been keeping it secret but I’m not going to fool anyone any longer.”
So what are to make of all this? Paul’s status as the “most avoided boxer in boxing” still holds true and is still without a fight. I know this was a case of bad luck but I am really starting to feel for the Punisher. Am I the only one who is still waiting to see how good Paul really is? We know he has one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world when we saw him best Antonio Margarito, knocked out Carlos Quintana in their rematch in the first round, and totally dismantle Winky Wright. But Williams needs to find a fight soon or else his marketability will be completely vanished.
Now as I write this, there is news coming out of the Williams camp that they want to fight December 5th no matter what. Dan Goosen promoter for Paul Williams seems has told Boxingscene.com he will be in action on December 5 whomever his opponent may be.
‘Paul is the star and the guy fans love to see, we plan on bringing him back December 5. No ifs, ands or buts. We ain’t waiting on him no more. I don’t know who but we are fighting somebody December 5.
George Peterson, William’s trainer was very skeptical of Pavlik’s injury. Even going as far as to question Pavlik’s integrity:
”If he had the staph infection for this long, he would have been poisoned to death. It’s not his hand it’s his heart that needs to be corrected.”
Ouch, I did not see those comments coming. I will not go quite as far as Peterson but it sure seems that Pavlik has lost some of his appeal. It was only back in early 2008 that Pavlik had the opening to become the top star in American boxing. His first win over Jermain Taylor was one of the best boxing matches of our era and showed how much heart Kelly had that night. He is essentially the King of Youngstown, Ohio and had a loyal and strong following as good as Ricky Hatton. Every fight for Pavlik became a hot ticket because the fans that come out to see him bring a passion that can rival any Mexican boxing fans.
But Pavlik’s appeal took a big hit when he was dominated by future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins in what turned out to be Hopkins best performance of his career. Pavlik not only had his first loss of his career but he lost some of his star power. Even though Bernard told Kelly after the fight that “he could become one of the best middleweights ever”, it didn’t seem to be enough to get the bad taste out of his mouth.
Pavlik would bounce back this past February when he dominated Marco Antonio Rubio in front of his hometown crowd of Youngstown in what was a snooze of a fight. Sure he got back on the winning track but I still was not convinced that he vindicated himself from the embarrassment of the Hopkins fight.
Now with Pavlik’s latest fight postponement, he has slowly phased out as one of American boxing’s biggest star. Sure all of us at 411mania have Kelly in our top 10 pound for pound rankings but his luster has certainly worn off. He is starting to become the Leno Spinks of our generation. That might be over blowing it a little but time will tell for the Ghost.
As for the World Boxing classic, King Arthur Abraham might have put the finishing touches of the highly promising career of Jermain Taylor. Taylor was knocked out in the 12th round for the second straight fight by an Abraham right that landed right on the sweet spot of the nose. While it was a devastating loss for Taylor both mentally and physically, It was perfect boxing by Abraham, using a left hook to split Taylor’s gloves the slightest bit enough for the right hand to slip through and drill Taylor.
Some have doubted Arthur given his track record but certainly has more believers now after that performance. It is readily evident that the beatings Taylor suffered at the hands of Kelly Pavlik have badly diminished his physical capabilities and it is time for the 2000 bronze medalist to seriously consider hanging up his gloves.
On the flipside, Abraham, 29, an Armenian-German who wowed his hometown supporters with his brilliant performance this past weekend, is a genuine force in the ring and his future in prizefighting is exceedingly bright. Abraham has emerged as the clear favorite in this tournament and right now looks like the best super middleweight in the world.
The second fight of the tournament was a lot more competitative but not without controversy. Froch was able to use his brute strength to successfully counterbalance the superior speed that Dirrell is renowned for and he was able to narrowly prevail in front of his fellow Englishmen. Many felt that Direll deserve to win the decision but I do not think so. Direll did not come to win this fight but actually try to steal it. Direll certainly looked like he won the last three rounds of the fight but before that, just did not do enough to beat. Make no mistake about it, Dirrell is going to do very well in this tournament and will have that chance when we next face off against Abraham.