By now, we’re all aware that Sergio Martinez, 45-2-2 (24), put on the performance of his career nearly two weeks ago at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. He made a punching bag out of Kelly ‘The Ghost’ Pavlik, 36-2 (32), for the last four rounds of the fight and ran away with the Middleweight Championship of the world. Pardon me, thee Middleweight Championship of the world.
“I could never be Carlos Monzon, but the Middleweight Title is like the Queen of accomplishments over there (Argentina).” Martinez offered.
“He’s a great, great Champion and he fought well. I was so worried about his power throughout the entire fight; he was the hardest puncher I’ve ever fought. He was much bigger and stronger than I was, (Pavlik weighed 178 lbs. in the ring that night, Martinez 167 lbs.) but I knew if I could stay away from his power I would win.”
Martinez promoter, Lou DiBella, who couldn’t do enough to contain his smile, was adamant that Pavlik, per a rematch clause in the bout agreement, would get the first crack at Martinez if he wanted.
“We want to thank Bob and Top Rank and Kelly for being a true Champion and giving us this opportunity,” said DiBella.
“We’ll tell you and we’re telling Bob now, if Kelly wants the rematch next then he’s got it. He gave us the opportunity and we’ll return the favor.”
What if Kelly isn’t so eager to take that rematch?
“We’d also like to fight Margarito at 154 lbs. if that fight is there for us (looks toward Arum)! I know he has his return coming up next month and then, after that, if we don’t fight Kelly, then Martinez-Margarito II in Cowboys Stadium sounds good to me!”
The matchup sounds like a great idea, but there are many hurdles to clear before seriously discussing that taking place. Much more realistically, Paul Williams, who was in attendance, was mentioned as an opponent for Martinez, should he get past Kermit Cintron in a couple weeks. Likewise, Cintron could get the shot at Sergio should he win. Martinez has fought both men before, getting a controversial draw against Cintron in a fight nearly everyone thought he won by KO, then later by decision, and a close points loss to Paul Williams in a fight where Sergio and Paul traded knockdowns in round one.
Kelly Pavlik did not attend the post-fight presser, opting instead to head straight to the hospital to get stitched up. Neither Jack Loew nor Arum would commit to a Martinez rematch.
“I know it was a close fight and Kelly was up after 8 rounds. Then he lost the last 4 rounds. I take nothing away from Martinez, he fought a great fight and he deserves to be the champion.” Arum told members of the media.
“I’d never seen this kid (Martinez) fight before! Never saw him. Kelly wanted the fight, the trainer (Loew) wanted the fight, and his father (Mike Pavlik) wanted the fight, so I made the fight.”
Jack Loew was asked if he felt Pavlik’s loss to Bernard Hopkins may have irreparably harmed his charge.
“I’m so tired of hearing that bullsh*t. No, hell no.” Lew said dismissively.
Whatever the case, Pavlik hasn’t quite been the same fighter since knocking out Jermain Taylor in 2007. His team previously stated their desire to move up to 168 lb. for a fight with Lucian Bute as Kelly’s problems with making the Middleweight limit are becoming more pronounced.
Rushing into another difficult fight may end Pavlik for good, but there’s still no word on what’s next for him. Whatever it turns out to be, I’d bet you that Mr. Arum makes sure he sees this next opponent before putting Kelly in with him and risk doing further damage to the career of one of his top earners.
Paterson based light welterweight prospect, Jeremy Bryan, suffered the first loss of his nearly 3 year pro career.
Bryan, 13-1 (6), was in the driver’s seat through much of the way, shutting out New York City’s Vincent Arroyo on two out of three judges’ scorecards, was stunned with a hard right hand 1:43 into the eighth and final round. What happens next is still up for debate.
From where this writer was sitting, Bryan sunk into the ropes and took more punches without answering back before slowly falling down to what looked like the seat of his pants, and then rolling onto his back with both arms stretched out on the mat as he was counted out by referee Samuel Viruet.
Bryan claims that, knowing he was in trouble and comfortably ahead, he took a knee to give himself the mandatory-eight count to recover and Arroyo, 10-1 (7), hit him with two-three more punches while he was down and unprotected. Some observers with a better angle than I claim this was indeed the case, while some chalk it up to, ‘protecting yourself at all times.’ I’m not certain of what actually took place, but I’ve been informed by Garden State Fight Scene’s Matt Yano, that an official protest was been filed on behalf of Bryan. Stay tuned to Doghouse and Garden State for the latest on that situation.
Passaic, NJ’s Glen Tapia won a four round unanimous decision over James Winchester to up his mark to 6-0 (4). Winchester, who tasted canvas in round two, made it an ugly fight with his wild flurries and taunting, but was no match for the 20 year old Tapia as far as skill-level was concerned.
Top Rank Middleweight prospect, Matt Korobov, won a hard fought unanimous decision over Josh Snyder who fought much more valiantly and with more skill than his 8-5-1 (3) record would’ve suggested.
After dominating the first couple of rounds, Korobov, 11-0 (8) seemed to become complacent and allow the rugged Snyder to get himself back into the fight both with his fists, and mentally. Though official scores didn’t give him credit for it, Snyder came on hard and controlled the middle rounds of the fight with his output and pressure.
In the end the 27 year-old Russian would do what was required of him in order to seal the fight, but turned in another unspectacular performance in victory.
Philadelphia up-and-comer, and NABA Welterweight titlist, Mike ‘MJ’ Jones, put on another display of speed, skill and raw ability in disposing of veteran Hector Munoz, 18-3-1 (11), via 5th round TKO. The bout didn’t prove much, other than the fact that Jones may be a force to be reckoned with and it’s probably time to move him up to another level of competition. He remains unbeaten, running his record to 21-0 (17).
Former Heavyweight contender, Dominic Guinn stopped Terrell Nelson in the 7th round to kick off the night’s action, and son of the great Thomas Hearns, Ronald Hearns, stopped Delray Raines with a devastating right hand in the first round.