Taylor-Pavlik: The Pre-fight Feature

kelly pavlik02.08.07 - By Jim Amato: September 29th, 2007 - Will this be the day that puts Youngstown, Ohio back on the fistic map? Undefeated knockout artist Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik (31-0, 28 KOs) of Y'town meets world's middleweight champion Jermain Taylor (27-0, 17 KOs) who is also unbeaten.

This is the fight at 160 pounds that the fans wanted to see. Kudos to the management of the fighters and the promoters for putting this together. It reminds me of the old days where a true champion meets the real # 1 challenger. The Calzaghe - Kessler bout at 168 pounds serves the same purpose.

Can Kelly take the title from Taylor? Jermain has been taking it on the chin in the press lately. Admittedly he has not looked good in his recent performances, although this has not really been fair to Taylor. The men he has fought, Bernard Hopkins (twice), Winky Wright, Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks are awkward, talented guys who are difficult to look good against even under the best circumstances.

They're all champions or former champions, real top shelf opposition. If nothing else, I believe they made Taylor a better fighter. When Angelo Dundee had Clay/Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, he matched them with all kinds of different styles, so when they entered the ring there was not much that they had not seen. Let's just say Taylor may look boring but he is well schooled.

Kelly has taken out every obstacle that has been put in front of him. He was very impressive against Zuniga, Zertuche and of course Edison Miranda. I honestly believe that if Taylor would have been matched against Miranda he would have looked good. Miranda is the second coming of John Mugabi. Basically no Plan B. Take him out of his fight plan and he's not versatile enough to make the proper adjustments. Pavlik looked great against Miranda. He did everything he was supposed to do and more. Now he meets Jermain Taylor. Mr. Taylor is a whole different animal.

Who do I want to win? That is a no brainer. Nothing against Taylor but Kelly has really stirred up the great fight town of Youngstown. I recently watched a Sportstime Ohio one hour broadcast on the life of Kelly Pavlik. Great stuff! This young man trains the old school way, and he hits a tire with a sledgehammer. He hits the heavy bag with a ball bat. He pushes cars up an inclined road. It was like watching the training scenes of a "Rocky" movie.

No one can say that Pavlik has ever put in less then 100 % in preparation. Trainer Jack Loew and company have done a tremendous job in bringing Pavlik to this point. I met Kelly at a banquet a few years back when he was just a young prospect. He is personable and he surely does not lack confidence. At that time he told me he felt he was ready for guys like William Joppy, Antwon Echols and Robert Allen. They were the top rated contenders behind champion Bernard Hopkins. He was not boasting but he was serious.

I'm not ready to make a prediction yet. I don't want to let my heart over rule my head but this is going to be a very, very tough fight for both Taylor and Pavlik. I can not wait to see it.

Article posted on 03.08.2007

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