Kelly Pavlik, It's Far From Over For Him Yet

Kelly Pavlikby James Slater - First, let's get the bad news out of the way. Kelly Pavlik now has a defeat on his record, he was beaten in very convincing fashion by an "old" man and in losing to Bernard Hopkins the way he did, "The Ghost" gave the critics who call him a one-dimensional, straight ahead puncher a whole load of ammunition they can use to back up their claims.

But now to the good news. Pavlik is still the middleweight champion of the world, is only 26-years-old and therefore easily young enough to bounce back from his loss and, perhaps most importantly, he is unlikely to ever have to face a fighter anywhere near as cunning, clever and, well - as great as Hopkins for as long as he continues boxing.

Already having shocked no-one with his stated intention of dropping back down to 160-pounds, Pavlik even has a probable next opponent lined up, in Marco Antonio Rubio. Rubio, who won a WBC final eliminator with a points win over Enrique Ornelas on the under-card of Hopkins Vs. Pavlik, is reportedly the next challenger for the Youngstown man. Rest assured, Rubio, though a tough and gritty customer, will give Pavlik nowhere near the trouble the masterful B-Hop did.

No doubt some will moan and groan when they hear that the 28-year-old Mexican is the favourite for Pavlik's next bout, but the fight, tentatively scheduled for next February or March, is just the type of comeback fight the middleweight boss needs. Pavlik won't have to go looking for Rubio, and should get himself a nice, confidence boosting KO victory. Pretty soon, after getting a couple more such wins, Pavlik will slowly but surely be able to put the Hopkins nightmare behind him.

As much as the loss to the 43-year-old hurt Pavlik, he still has many things to be happy about. Yes, he was embarrassed and upset by a man many thought had seen better days, but the catch-weight points loss does nothing to affect Pavlik's standing as a middleweight. Even the great Sugar Ray Robinson (and I'm not for one minute saying Pavlik is on the same page as Walker Smith Junior) failed in his attempt to fight as a 175-pounder, which is in the same ball park as the weight today's middleweight champion tried his hand at. But Robinson did what Pavlik will do; he came back at his then natural poundage of 160.

Pavlik still has what it takes to be able to beat most middleweights out there. And there are some potentially thrilling match-ups for him also. Who knows, if he's able to get a couple of defences under his belt, and then win a really big fight against the likes of an Arthur Abraham, maybe Pavlik will get himself back to where he was pre-Hopkins?

Now 34-1(30), the Middleweight champ can take solace in the fact that he lost to nothing less than a boxing genius. Many fighters have come back from their maiden loss and worked their way back to a world title. At least Kelly Pavlik still has his hands on his.

Article posted on 20.10.2008

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