Pavlik Set to Face Bernard Hopkins at 170 Pounds
Last week, it was reported that middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik was set to face Paul Williams after proposed fights with Winky Wright and Allan Green fell through.
In a shocking twist, the Youngstown native will now be facing Bernard Hopkins at a catch weight of 170 pounds. Pavlik and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum confirmed the deal is set for October 18. This fight was not our first choice, but it was the only alternative we had to make a buck, Arum admitted to espn.com. We didnt have any place to go except a pay-per-view card. At least it will do halfway decent numbers. We turned it down once. It came back around and we accepted it.
Pavlik is 34-0 (30 KOs), and is coming off two signature wins over former champion Jermain Taylor and a demolition of Gary Lockett. Hopkins is 48-5-1 (32 KOs) and is trying to rebound from a SD loss to Joe Calzaghe in April.
Arum has also confirmed that Pavlik is not happy about facing Hopkins, and who can blame him? Absolutely no one looks good against Hopkins: not Calzaghe, Taylor, Wright or even a prime Roy Jones over 10 years ago. Hopkins combines tight defense with John Ruiz type mauling, headbutts, and low blows on the inside. As with everyone else, Pavlik will be in for a long night.
However, the young champion should still prevail over his aging foe. At 43, Hopkins is a woeful shell of his former self offensively. The former pound for pound king can only generate about 10-15 punches per round, and even that figure drops as the rounds go on. Hopkins is 2-3 in his last five bouts, simply because his opponents have been able to maintain a consistent punch output in the later rounds while Bernard is confined to single shots and mauling. That trend will not magically change against the workmanlike Pavlik.
While an elite fighter the caliber of Hopkins should never completely be counted out, its difficult to envision him pulling this off unless he catches Pavlik with a perfect shot. The bout is scheduled for October 18, and the safe bet is Pavlik by unanimous decision in an ugly bout. And unless Hopkins gets KOd, expect him to be back.
Paul Williams and Winky Wright in Talks at 160
Rumors are circulating that WBO welterweight champ Paul Williams is in talks to face Winky Wright at middleweight. The story was broken on maxboxing.com, and at press time a potential date has not been announced. Williams was slated to face Kelly Pavlik, but the deal fell through as an agreement couldnt be made on the purse split. The Punisher is coming off a first round blitz of Carlos Quintana last month.
Winky Wright has been in limbo since losing to Bernard Hopkins in July 2007. Since that loss, Wright has been unable to secure a high profile bout. Preliminary talks with Pavlik crumbled due to Winkys purse demands, and a statement he released again calling out Oscar De La Hoya was ignored.
At age 36, this fight may be Wrights only shot at building back up his name, so hell have to strongly consider scaling back his price tag. Wright will be the favorite due to his superior skill and strength, but there are questions about how well the former 154 pound champs body will respond to a year of inactivity.
Toney Defeats Rahman in Bizarre Ending
Last Wednesday (July 16) James Toney scored a TKO win over Hasim Rahman after the bout was stopped on an accidental head butt at the end of the third round. The first two rounds were largely uneventful as both men slowly adjusted to each other. At the beginning of the third, an accidental head butt on the inside opened a deep cut above Rahmans left eye. Rahman immediately complained to the ref about the cut, but was largely ignored.
Toney then began to find a home for the right hand. In the last minute, Rahman was wobbled by another right hand and caught another at the bell when trying to bully Toney against the ropes. In the corner, Rahman told the ringside physician that he couldnt see due to the blood streaming into his eye. Upon hearing this the referee immediately stopped the bout.
Here is where things get confusing. According to the rules, if a fight is stopped on an accidental head butt before the fourth round, the fight is ruled a no contest. If it happens afterward, the fight goes to the scorecards.
Based on that, this fight shouldve been a no contest. But, the referee argued that Rahman himself retired by saying he could not continue, and therefore the ringside doctor did not render a verdict. Of course, Rahmans camp is currently appealing the decision.
Watch the full fight and judge for yourself:
Mosley-Mayorga Off PPV, Moved to September 27
Facing stiff competition from Dawson-Tarver (Oct. 11) and now Hopkins-Pavlik (Oct. 18), the proposed bout between Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga has been bumped up to September 27. In another wise move, the fight will not be on PPV, but on HBO Championship Boxing.
The fight will give Mosley the opportunity to stay busy against a name opponent in what will surely be an entertaining slugfest for the few rounds it lasts. The skill level between these two is very wide, so expect Mosley to bludgeon the wild swinging Mayorga in much the same way his business partner Oscar De La Hoya did.
Mayweather Reportedly Knocked Out in Scuffle with Edner Cherry
It seems every few months a new rumor emerges about Floyd Mayweather getting beat up outside the ring by another fighter. The latest pugilist to receive the honors is lightweight Edner Cherry, who reportedly confronted Mayweather last week in Las Vegas. The dispute was allegedly over money owed to Cherry for his work as a sparring partner. After a brief scuffle, word began to circulate that Mayweather was knocked out at the hands of Cherry.
Now after a few days of sensationalist gossip from various websites, both sides have come out and denied any confrontation took place. Leonard Ellerbe, Floyds manager, couldnt resist adding in his two cents. Thats one of the most ridiculous rumors Ive heard in 10 to 12 years, Ellerbe told the Las Vegas Review Journal. Edner Cherry is 135 pounds. Hes going to come into a Las Vegas nightclub, knock Floyd out and live to tell about it? Cmon.
Speaking of Mayweather, expect him to face Miguel Cotto next year if the Puerto Rican star wins in impressive fashion this weekend. If the lesser known Antonio Margarito wins, expected Money May to keep singing his same tune of there being no money in the fight.
Manny Pacquiao the Frontrunner for De La Hoya Farewell
Just a few short months ago, this fight was seen as ridiculous. Why would De La Hoya, who has fought as high as middleweight, consider fighting a man who started his career at 106 pounds and even now campaigns at lightweight? But all that talk has ceased among the principals, as Bob Arum and Pac trainer Freddie Roach have confirmed preliminary talks have begun.
De La Hoya is scheduled to have his final fight in December, but has yet to find an opponent after Mayweather abruptly retired. The short list of potential opponents also includes Sergio Mora and Miguel Cotto.
Pacquiao is likely considering this fight because of the huge payday (he will reportedly request $20 million) and the fact the Golden Boy looked very easy to hit in his last bout against Steve Forbes. But the fact remains Oscar holds a very significant weight advantage, and the bout would have to be held at 147 pounds.
For De La Hoya, the fight gives him the ability to say he left the game with a win over the number one pound for pound fighter in the sport, even if said fighter is in reality three weight classes below him. More on this story as it develops over the next few weeks...
Cotto-Margarito Fight of the Year?
This Saturday (July 26), Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto face off in the most exciting welterweight bouts in recent memory. Margarito is known more for whats gone on outside the ring with his career then in. Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley famously turned down bouts with him, prompting his handlers to dub him the most avoided man in boxing.
Style-wise, Margarito is a huge welterweight at 511, and possesses an iron chin and relentless pressure. His consistent hooks to the head and body have broken the will of numerous fighters, including his last opponent Kermit Cintron.
Cotto has been on a tear the last two years, virtually cleaning out the top 10 of the welterweight division. In that span, he holds wins over: Oktay Urkal, Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, and Shane Mosley. A great boxer-puncher, Cotta has also shown in recent fights he can fight just as well on the backfoot, which should serve him well on Saturday.
With Mayweather gone, this fight will decide who the best welterweight in the world is. Arguments can be made for both fighters, but I will predict Cotto takes a unanimous decision win in a bout that becomes a full fledged war by the fifth round.
Margarito has been claiming that his recent loss to Paul Williams and bad start to Joshua Clottey were due simply to starting slow and taking too much time to warm up. In reality it was because of the style of those fighters, who gave the lumbering Margarito angles and good footwork to keep him off balance and counter-punch him.
You can expect Cotto to do the same early on, but like his other contests Margarito will eventually force Cotto to fight as he does all his opponents by the mid to late rounds. But, I feel Cotto has shown enough versatility, something Margarito lacks, to weather the late storm and take the hard fought decision.
If you order one PPV this year, make sure this is the one you get. In preparation, take a look at the greatest hits of these two throwback fighters:
Antonio Margarito highlights: http://youtube.com/watch?v=7WMgqfONQ3c
Miguel Cotto highlights: http://youtube.com/watch?v=MigmBs2GCuE
Throwback Fighter of the Week: Carmen Basilio
The Upstate Onion Farmer is not a guy you want to piss off. Ask Sugar Ray Robinson. Standing only 56, Basilios immense will and gritty inside style took him to the very top of the welterweight division. Starting his career in 1948 and trained by Angelo Dundee, Basilio won his first world title in 1955 against Tony Demarco, knocking him out in the 12th round after a classic slugfest. He repeated the feat again five months later.
His most famous bouts are two grudge matches against Sugar Ray Robinson. Carrying a disdain for the arrogant Robinson he holds to this day, Basilio outmuscled and outbrawled the larger Sugar Ray to score an impressive SD decision upset in the first bout.
In the rematch, a slashing Robinson uppercut caused massive swelling on Basilios left eye from the sixth round on. Fighting the great Robinson with one eye was too much, and at 38-years-old, Sugar Ray regained his title.
After the win, Robinson reportedly priced himself out of a potential third grueling match with Basilio. Basilio continued fighting into the late 50s and early 60s, but could not regain his past form. He was dominated twice by equally tough Gene Fullmer and TKOd. In his last bout in 1961, he lost a 15-round decision to Paul Pender.
Carmen Basilio holds a final record of 56-16-7, 27 KOs and is in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Basilio-Robinson I: http://youtube.com/watch?v=n_GPxz5D7vo
Basilio-Robinson II: http://youtube.com/watch?v=7ISV4lNTMLs