Did Bob Arum Pick the Wrong Opponent for Kelly Pavlik Again?
Ken Hissner (April 15, 2010) Doghouse Boxing  
There’s an old saying, “watch what you ask for”. When current WBO/WBC champion Kelly Pavlik wanted Felix Sturm and Arthur Abraham to unify the titles, Top Rank’s Bob Arum chose Bernard Hopkins. Was it all about the money?

There were contenders from each organization from the top ten to choose from yet the WBC’s Interim light middleweight champion who lost his last fight was chosen. The WBO on the other hand elevated Martinez to #1 in the middleweight ratings after a loss. I witnessed Cintron-Martinez on the tube and wasn’t impressed with either fighter. In covering Williams-Martinez live, I was more than impressed by the style of Martinez though I had him losing by one point. Martinez had a style almost as awkard as “Prince” Naseem Hamed. How can you hold your arms to your side for 12 rounds with one of the most dangerous punchers in boxing and almost pull off a win?

I have been a fan of Pavlik’s since the first time I saw him. I became a fan of Martinez when I saw him fight in person. It was one of the most exciting main event fights I have witnessed in over 30 years. Besides being a “cat and mouse” match it had round after round of excitement. I found myself rooting for Martinez even though I gave Williams the last round and the fight.

I’ve seen Pavlik fight over half a dozen times and was only disappointed once. I watched him fail to pull the trigger on Bernard Hopkins for 12 rounds. Just once I wanted to see him land that right hand and score a knockout but it never came. It was mind boggling. Jermain Taylor hit Hopkins enough times in 24 rounds to win both fights and Pavlik defeated Taylor twice. I would never claim to know as much as Arum but I hope he knows what he asked for in taking Martinez. Since this is part of a two bout HBO show with the Romanian Lucian Bute defending his IBF super middleweight title the other part, a possible Pavlik-Bute fight could be on the horizon. Above all I am hoping for a good fight. One rarely sees a good fight when two southpaws fight but Williams and Martinez were the exception. Now with the southpaw Martinez possibly being a better target for Pavlik’s straight lead right hand it could be a short fight or a night of frustration for Pavlik.

IBF middleweight champion Sebastian Sylvester is scheduled to defend against his #1 contender Roman Karmazin in June which will be his third title defense since winning the title last June. WBA champion Felix Sturm hasn’t defended his title since July. He had one scheduled that was cancelled. He defeated Sylvester easily in 2008 in a title defense. Sturm has refused to defend against his #2 opponent Gennady Golovkin. The latter is also #1 in the WBC and #3 in the WBO. Sylvester and Sturm are from Germany. Golovkin is from Kazakhstan but fights out of Germany. Sturm has fought in the US once in losing a controversial decision to Oscar DeLaHoya whose bout with Bernard Hopkins was already scheduled. Rumors had Sturm coming to the US again but nothing has materialized.

Martinez is an Argentine who fights out of Spain where he moved to in 2002. He spent 2003 and 2004 fighting in the UK. Then back to Spain until 2007 coming back to the US in a title eliminator for the first time since his US debut in 2000 losing to Antonio Margarito. His last seven fights have been in the US including this one. Two years ago Martinez was in a scheduled 4 round bout on the undercard of Pavlik-Taylor II. I’d say he has come a long way since then!

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