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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Damage Control

And let the games begin.

So I posted a little introduction piece on Kelly Pavlik and his trials and tribulations, briefly. But before I begin to throw out some analysis let me first say that I really don’t have much of a format worked out for how I’ll brake down fights on a “blogging” basis so there’s really no template in place. The reason I mention it is because in prior coverage of fights I worked out of a mold using tables listing weight, height, (all the vitals), records, past opponents and on and on and on…. But this is a tad different so excuse me if it feels like I’m kind of winging it on my first go-around. Ok, enough of that. Let’s get right down to business.

A lot of attention has been given to Kelly Pavlik (36-1-0, 32 KOs) in the past few months. From a nasty staph infection on his right hand (which washed a highly anticipated fight against Paul Williams away) to repairing his image after dropping a lopsided bout against veteran Bernard Hopkins back in 2008, it hasn’t been easy being Kelly. But this guy is a gifted fighter, one that has the innate ability to climb right back into the ring.

But there’s another side to this coin. His name is Sergio Gabriel Martinez (44-2-2, 24 KOs), and don’t expect the younger Pavlik (Pavlik is 28 and Martinez is 35) to just walk right through his opponent en route to the WBO middleweight title.

Martinez might just be the fastest light middleweight (or junior middleweight – however you want to refer to it as) in boxing today. He fights out of the southpaw stance, which I love, and if anyone wants to question his heart then just rewind back to the wildness that ensued on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City last year against the crafty left-hander, Paul Williams. Even though Martinez lost one heck of a close majority decision it reminded us expect the unexpected, especially inside the ring involving two warriors.

The obvious is that Pavlik is around 3 ½-inches taller then Martinez, packs a whole lot of power for a guy that looks pretty lanky from afar and can not only handout punishment but also takes it pretty well. Kelly is fighting in his comfort zone, at just around 160 pounds, which should also weigh in his favor. If there’s one fact worth mentioning it’s that Martinez is no stranger to the middleweight division as that razor thin loss against Williams proved.

For Martinez to continue climbing the ranks as one of boxing’s elite in the 21st century he’s going to make it a must to stick and move. Speed will be his friend and against Pavlik there’s no other way to victory lane. If there’s one thing we can turn to as evidence supporting Martinez and the skill of speed it’s that Pavlik was dismantled by Bernard Hopkins. How? By moving. Pavlik was so frustrated by the moving target that Hopkins presented that evening he literally exposed himself to short left hooks which helped the “Executioner” open up on power combinations. In short, speed killed Kelly and that’s what Martinez will look to do.

And now I’ll leave it up to the fans to debate and the fight on Saturday to prove. If you’re heading to your local betting parlor know that Pavlik is currently on the board as $1.80 ‘chalk’ (bet $180 to make $100) at most books while Martinez is sitting in the dog house at +150 (bet $100 to make $150). If you want to get a bit more fancy in your wagering tactics then a round prop (picking whether the fight ends before or surpasses the round supplied by Vegas books) of 11 ½ has been published. Basically everyone and their mother is looking for this fight to go the distance. The payout is -135 (bet $135 to make $100) if you think the fight will end before the middle of the 11th round (before one minute and thirty second in that 11th round) and the ‘over’ is looking to payout -105 (or bet $105 to make $100).

Final Prediction: Kelly Pavlik’s height advantage, snapping jabs and eventually a salvo of power shots to be released will put Sergio Martinez’s ass on the mat (maybe more then once). The height advantage is just too significant for the Argentinean fighter to make up for. Martinez should see a bit more opportunity come his way if he makes this a fight (but at 35 time is surely not on his side), but this will be Pavlik’s night. I feel that Pavlik has a lot to prove on the road to recovering his image so I’m also looking for a knockout here before 11 ½-rounds. What do you guys and girls think? Let me know!

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