Now, as I’ve expressed earlier on this blog, I am a Kelly Pavlik fan. But that doesn’t provide any sort of comfort knowing that the once WBC and WBO middleweight champion and lineal champion has hit, what can only be described as rock bottom in his profession.
This is not to take any credit away from Martinez. The Argentinean who’s been able to fly under the radar of what I would call “mainstream” boxing fans’ list of top fighters completely picked apart a taller, more powerful puncher (even looking like Roy Jones of earlier days, hands down by the waist side with no defense in sight) on the Boardwalk in AC. But as the old adage goes, speed kills in this sport.
What irks me as a Pavlik fan is the continued abuse Pavlik takes as a direct result of the inability to hit a moving target. Streaming blood from multiple lacerations isn’t a good thing. I’m not the first to notice this type of trend from the Ohio native, it’s been well documented before and Bernard Hopkins was really the first opponent of Pavlik to bring the weakness to light.
Instead of recapping what unfolded on Saturday night the real topic of interest is where does Pavlik go from here, and does Sergio Martinez finally gain the recognition that seems to have alluded him on the big stage?
The easier question to answer is Martinez’s next opponent.
With Paul Williams showing face at Saturday night’s match evidence shows us that this could very well be part of Sergio’s future agenda. But Williams will square off against always dangerous, Kermit Cintron on May 8. So I’m figuring the winner of that May match will end up meeting Martinez somewhere down the road. It seems logical enough. But in boxing logic usually takes a back seat so we’ll have to wait for the results on May 8th to start talking about Martinez’s next opponent.
And remember that Paul Williams took the close win in an exhilarating contest against Martinez back in December of '09. I'm just saying... it seems like a rematch would be in order. Then again, it was a draw that resulted in Martinez's February 2009 WBC light middleweight title fight against Cintron. In retrospect it's actually quite amusing that both Williams and Cintron are likely to dance with Martinez once again.
And now we come full circle, back to Pavlik. At 28, this guy still has a fighting chance at getting back into gear. He’s got plenty of talent left in the tank. But if Kelly wants to claim championships and belts again he’s going to have to work on glaring weaknesses. Flat footed fighting, waiting for that one knockout punch just isn’t going to cut the mustard. Remember, Pavlik lost to Martinez in what can best be described as Kelly’s target weight (160 pounds). This was his territory, his weight class and ultimately his fight to lose.
Yes, Pavlik will be back again. It’s just going to take time, possibly another set of tune-up fights (or in this case damage control scheduling) and a lot of hard work to get back on top.
On Saturday night Kelly Pavlik took another few steps backwards while the flashy, 35-year-old Martinez stepped up to the plate in a lopsided win. While Sergio is on his way to bigger paydays, Pavlik must look in the mirror for answers.