Pavlik vs Lockett: Tickets Go On Sale Friday

ATLANTIC CITY (March 27, 2008) – “Great Caesars Ghost!” Undefeated world middleweight champion KELLY “The Ghost” PAVLIK returns to his old haunt -- Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall -- where he first captured the world title, Saturday, June 7, in his first world title defense. Pavlik faces a mandatory sentence when he rumbles with No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger, Welshman GARY “The Rocket” LOCKETT, who will be making his U.S. debut. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Frank Warren’s Sports Network and Caesars Atlantic City, the Pavlik-Lockett world title fight will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 9:35 p.m. EDT / 6:35 p.m. PDT.. Opening the broadcast will be World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Juan Manuel Lopez.

Combined, this quartet of sluggers boasts an incredible record of 118-2 (99 KOs), a winning percentage of over 98% and a victory by knockout ratio of 84%!

Tickets, priced at $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50, go on sale Tomorrow! Friday, March 28, at Noon ET, and can be purchased at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster (800) 736-1420 or online at

“My world title reign is going to be no different than my world title climb. I’m going to keep fighting the best men out there,” said Pavlik. “My last two victories over Jermain Taylor proved that I wasn’t just the world middleweight champion, but the best man in the game, pound for pound. I promised the fans I would be an active champion and that I wouldn’t duck anyone, and I intend to live up to that pledge. It wasn’t that long ago that I was the number one contender. I know the hunger Lockett has for my title. It’s back to the “factory” for me for heavy training. I will be 150% for this fight!”

“This fight has got all the ingredients for a good old-fashioned punch-up,” said Lockett. I know I’m going to be a massive underdog because, worldwide, I’m very, very unknown. But I’m a lot tougher than people think. I’ve got a good chin and I can pack a wallop myself. And I’ve got the best trainer in the business in Enzo Calzaghe. Pavlik is among the best pound-for-pound but he looks beatable. He's no Superman, he has plenty of flaws and we will put together an effective system to beat him.”

"Kelly Pavlik showed in his last fight he is on his road to becoming a superstar,” said Bob Arum, chairman of Top Rank. “But now Kelly faces a tough test against the No. 1 mandatory challenger, Gary Lockett, who has battled hard and has won 14 fights in a row. He has not lost a fight in over five years."

“Gary can punch and Pavlik doesn't have the best of defenses,” said Frank Warren, Lockett’s promoter. “But it's a great opportunity for Lockett. Now it's up to him to do the rest.”

"'Kelly Pavlik is one of the premier prizefighters in the sport today" said Kery Davis, Senior VP of Programming for HBO Sports. "It's great to present his first title defense live on our flagship series. Gary Lockett has the opportunity to show his heart and skill in challenging for the one of the most coveted titles in the sport."

“Caesars is very excited to welcome world champion Kelly Pavlik and his huge contigent of Youngstown, Ohio fans back to Atlantic City,” said Harrah's Entertainment Sports & Entertainment Consultant Ken Condon.

“We are looking forward to what is sure to be another fabulous night of championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall with these two great match-ups."

Pavlik (33-0, 29 KOs), from Youngstown, Ohio, joins former lightweight champions Harry Arroyo and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini as hometown world champions. Pavlik Ghost wrote a career year in 2007 against three of the best who boasted a combined record of 74-4-3 (55 KOs) when he faced them. The consensus “Fighter of the Year” for 2007, Pavlik knocked out Jose Luis Zertuche (19-3-2, 14 KOs) and Edison Miranda (28-1, 24 KOs), in world title elimination bouts, earning him the right to become Taylor’s mandatory challenger. His year-end finale, a seventh-round stoppage of the previously undefeated Taylor, to claim the world middleweight championship, was selected as the “Fight of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America and extended Pavlik’s two-year victory by knockout streak to nine bouts. Pavlik defeated Taylor handily in their rematch last February to solidify his claim as one of boxing’s top pound for pound fighters.

Lockett (30-1, 21 KOs), from Cwmbran, Wales, is riding a six-year, 14-bout unbeaten streak. His only loss, a split-decision WBO Intercontinental junior middleweight title defense in 2002, was avenged one year later, via a 10-round super middleweight unanimous decision. Trained by BWAA “2007 Trainer of the Year,” Enzo Calzaghe, Lockett boasts dangerous punching power as 70% of his victims can attest to having lost to him by knockout. Lockett captured the World Boxing Union middleweight title in 2006, knocking out Gilbert Eastman in the first round, and successfully defended it twice, via a unanimous decision over Ryan Rhodes and a third-round knockout of Lee Blundell in 2006 and 2007, respectively. A teenage prodigy as an amateur, with a 90-8 record, Lockett captured 22 titles at the Welsh level or above, including four British junior crowns and the inaugural 1992 European Under-16 gold medal in Italy

De Leon (34-1, 30 KOs), from Huntington Park, California, by way of Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico, is riding a three-year, 10-bout winning streak, including six defenses of the WBO junior featherweight title he has held since 2005.

A 2000 Mexican Olympian and five-time national champion, De Leon, a natural southpaw, is known for his aggressive style, constant pressure, and strong punching power. His best world title victories have been over previously undefeated contenders Rey Bautista and Sod Looknongyabtoy, and two-division world champion Gerry Penalosa.

Lopez (21-0, 19 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, has held the WBO Latino junior featherweight title since 2006. A member of Puerto Rico’s 2004 Olympic team, Lopez has climbed to the top of the ratings in an incredibly short amount of time. To say he is on a tear is no understatement inasmuch as he hasn’t gone the distance since June 10, 2006, knocking out his last nine opponents while garnering rave reviews and comparisons to Puerto Rico’s finest world champions, including Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad and Wilfredo Gomez. A natural southpaw, like De Leon, Lopez’s arsenal features good punching power and an aggressive, pressuring style of fighting.

Article posted on 28.03.2008

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