'Call Em Out Fridays': Kelly Pavlik - Is The 'Ghost' A Hoax?
By Vivek Wallace: In this weeks 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment we take a look at a fighter who has steadily seen his stock rise on the heels of his recent string of brilliant performances. As talented as he appears to be and as great of a show he puts on, trouble is, many around the industry quietly feel that the jury's still out on him relative to his true greatness.
Article posted on 16.08.2008
Limited tenure in the ring as well as questions about his overall talent have left some wondering if this 'new-kid-on-the-block' will stand the test of time, or if he's simply another media created prop. Like any of my other 'Call Em Out Fridays' sessions, we'll analyze the 'Supportive Fan Perspective', the 'Critics Perspective', and after giving my own spin on the subject, we let the great debates begin as you, the readers chime in with your spin. So with no further ado, we now take a journey to Ohio....Youngstown to be exact......
Kelly Pavlik (Supportive Fan Perspective): In an era of the sport where fighters tend to be more hardcore than humble, and perhaps at times more talk than talent, it's no secret how the velvet demeanor of Kelly Pavlik has perfectly complimented the product we see of him in the ring. A true gentleman out of the ring, a beast within, Pavlik has used brute strength and an unrelenting will to elevate himself to the highest echelon in the sport. A professional for only 8 years, Pavlik has slowly but surely etched his name in the minds of most hardcore boxing fans with soul-stirring performances. In 2007, the powerful Colombian, Edison Miranda - whom had never been defeated, let alone stopped - found himself in the ring with what was at the time an unknown commodity. By the end of the night, it would only take 7 rounds for Miranda and the rest of the boxing world to know who the 'Ghost' was, as he took the fight to Miranda like no one in his past had been able to do before. Anxious to build on his new found reputation, Pavlik would then set out to face the only man (Jermain Taylor) in recent times to not only defeat Bernard Hopkins but defeat him twice. In a fight that showed Taylor heavily favored, Pavlik would shock the world by earning himself a KO over the champion, earning himself the WBO and WBC divisional straps. The Youngstown native was so determined to prove to the world that this was no fluke that he accepted the challenge again in a rematch only 5 months later. The terms of the results would change, but the winner would remain the same. After years of fighting in the amateur ranks and years of trying to prove his mettle, in more ways than one, it appeared that Pavlik had finally 'arrived' among the sports elite. As we all know, nothing in life is perfect, and listening to the critics, there are multiple reasons why many believe the victories in Pavliks rear-view do very little to prepare him for potential hazards that may lie ahead. To take a glimpse into the view of the critics, we analyze their argument in depth.....
Kelly Pavlik (The Critics Perspective): Despite the brute strength and power displayed by Pavlik, when you remove the names Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor, with the exception of maybe Bronco McKart, fight fans would be hard-pressed to identify one other fighter on Pavliks resume. Adding further complications to the equation is the fact that aside from Bronco McKart and the vastly unproven Gary Lockett of the U.K., the last opponent Pavlik faced with 30 or more fights on their resume - at the time of their fight - was a journeyman boasting a 12-17-2 record named Vincent Harris back in '05. This stat is fairly intricate considering that Pavliks next opponent - although aged - is easily the wittiest veteran found anywhere on this level. Revealing such stats really make you wonder if Pavlik is truly as good as advertised, or if indeed, his past opponents are simply weaker than once believed. Another eye-popping stat that critics of Pavlik have spoken of is that aside from the Jermain Taylor rematch, Kelly Pavlik has only gone beyond the 8th round one other time in his entire career. This may not say a whole lot to some, but considering that he will be fighting at a higher weight than he ever has in his life, you have to take into effect the fact that stamina could come into play for a guy who likes to throw nearly 100 punches a round - particularly if many of them aren't landing. By the end of Pavliks first year in the sport, his next opponent had already tussled with Roy Jones Jr., Glen Johnson, John David Jackson, Antwan Echols, and Felix Trinidad. When taking a moment to digest all of this information, suddenly, it seems that the seemingly iron-clad armor of Kelly Pavlik stands a bit flawed after all.
Kelly Pavlik (This Writers Perspective): After considering the talent, yet also considering the flaws, I think it's safe to say that Pavlik is what most of us think he is; A better than average fighter on the brink of greatness, which will soon be tested when he steps in the ring against the most complete fighter he has ever and may ever face. It's easy to pick his resume apart and say that he hasn't fought too many big names, but all you can ask of any fighter is to beat the man in front of him and he's done that time and time again without much of a problem. In 34 professional fights, only 4 went the distance, and of those four, only the Jermain Taylor rematch had one single scorecard that was within a four point margin, which tells me that his boxing skill level can't be too bad either. Experience is a major concern as he prepares to face Hopkins, and when you consider the disparity in their ring history (Hopkins 384 rounds boxed - Pavlik 127 rounds boxed), there's no way to deny that this could very well play a strong role in determining the winner of this fight once it actually happens. A wise man once stated that: "Experience is great to have, but it only arrives a moment after you needed it". Translation as it relates to this matter: Pavlik will surely need it, and when the fight is over he will have tons more of it, but unfortunately, if he loses due to his lack of it, then that'll only mean he'll have it against the next opponent, which will do him no good against this one. In closing, now that we've put Pavlik in the fishbowl and fully analyzed him from all angles, until he officially closes this case, the jury on him is still out.....and you're the jury.....so until he shows us otherwise, you decide!
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