Pavlik vs Mora Cancelled: Blessing In Disguise?

By John Brady - Kelly Pavlik vs. Sergio Mora, scheduled for June 27th in Atlantic City, has been cancelled due to an infection in Pavlik’s hand. According to his promoter Jeff Wald, Mora who just might take a “stay busy” fight in the summer, had already been training for two weeks when he heard the announcement. Now boxing fans everywhere can take the 44.95 they were going to spend on this fight and just transfer it to Floyd vs. Marquez exactly three weeks later and in the meantime Bob Arum can start looking in the direction of fighters such as Arthur Abraham to fight Kelly Pavlik instead of putting together nonsense PPV events like this one would have been..

First of all let me start off by stating that I’m a white male, and a HUGE Kelly Pavlik fan. That being said I do feel he is reaping some of the benefits in the fight game through his skin color a la Gerry Cooney and Tommy Morrison. By “reaping the benefits” I mean collecting PPV money while fighting the likes of Marco Antonio Rubio and now possibly Sergio Mora, pre hand infection of course. Obviously I’m aware Cooney and Morrison weren’t necessarily PPV stars, but they were similar in the sense of being immensely popular without accomplishing a whole heck of a lot. No offense to Kelly I know winning the Middleweight Championship of the World is a major feat, but so far his two defenses against Gary Lockett and possibly Sergio Mora make his predecessor Jermain Taylor’s former foes Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks look like Sugar Ray Leonard and Meldrick Taylor. When Pavlik faced Jermain Taylor for the title on Sept 29 2007, he was a 31-0(28KO’s) middleweight machine who had just finished disposing of fellow knockout artist Edison Miranda. Pavlik put on the performance of a lifetime while getting up off the canvas to come back, knock Taylor out and “win the belt with his fists”, as Bernard Hopkins would say. It was an amazing moment for Kelly, and an incredible victory that put him on the map. From this point on Kelly has pretty much become a PPV star. But was it too early?

Floyd “Money” Mayweather made a comment during one of his so-called retirement speeches a while back that I ignored, but is now starting to make more sense to me. He said how he was world champ for ten years and Bob Arum was eight years too late getting him PPV fights. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not shedding tears for Floyd or saying that he was treated unfairly. What I am saying though, bringing me back to my original point is that when you turn into a PPV star as a result of beating only one fighter I believe you should pay the fans back with some tough meaningful fights. Oscar did that throughout his career. Shane and Bernard are doing it now. And say what you want about Floyd, while his PPV matchups may not be the Cotto’s, Margarito’s or Mosley’s that we would like to see him in there with, they’re at least interesting matchups. The reason Floyd’s quote is relevant is because there are a lot of talented fighters out there who will NEVER get that break of becoming a PPV fighter. I understand numbers don’t lie and the public will ultimately decide who they want to pay to see. But once you are graced with that status, you should be obligated to provide the public with an opponent that’s worth their hard earned fifty dollars. And whether Kelly deserved it or not, he achieved his premature status after beating just one good fighter.

It’s not what Kelly Pavlik is doing wrong; it’s what Kelly is NOT doing that’s the problem. He has been turned into a PPV star rather early, and whether it’s for the wrong reasons or not, the fans have become the big losers because all we’re seeing are “walk through” opponents for fifty plus dollars. Pavlik did fight one high quality opponent since winning the belt and was dominated from bell to bell by the 43 year old Bernard Hopkins. What’s the solution to the problem? Kelly should be at Bob Arums door DEMANDING fights right now with the likes of Arthur Abraham, Felix Sturm, or even the most avoided fighter on the planet multi-division champ Paul Williams. If he doesn’t get the fights he requests, he should threaten to take his business elsewhere. The promoters WORK FOR THE FIGHTERS, not the other way around! A victory over any one of the afore-mentioned fighters would redeem himself from the Hopkins loss, and remind Kelly’s fans (including me), that he’s a true throwback middleweight champ who doesn’t duck anyone and his fights ARE worth paying for, even if we have another PPV in Mayweather-Marquez only twenty one days away that’s going to run 54.95.

The Sergio Mora fight, whether it happens or not, poses a much bigger threat to Pavlik’s middleweight belt than Lockett or Rubio. However the only way Mora will escape the arena with that title is by boxing his way to a decision. His 5 knockouts in 26 fights are evidence enough that Mora is the middleweight version of Paulie Malignaggi. Again, Pavlik topping the bill on PPV does NOT bother me. And as much as I was looking forward to watching Kelly fight again, this fight was NOT worthy of that status. And the announcement of Mayweather-Marquez for July 18th was just the icing on the cake. Say what you want about Floyd but after the Gatti fight, which was his first PPV, he fought all high quality opponents on pay TV with the exception of Carlos Baldomir. And Baldomir only got the Mayweather fight because he earned it the hard way by winning the undisputed welterweight title. So three weeks apart they would have been, Floyd fighting the #2 pound for pound fighter in the world, and Kelly fighting a middleweight who couldn’t punch a hole through a piece of Styrofoam. My decision would have been easy. I consider myself a junkie, one who usually orders every PPV. But unfortunately I think I would have passed on Pavlik-Mora. We can be honest here, half the reason Kelly is a PPV star is his amazing knockouts over Miranda and Taylor. The other half is he’s an all American white guy from Youngstown who packs a punch. Either way I have no problem with it and I will continue to cheer him on. I just have to say to Kelly, maybe this extra time off was a sign, maybe it was a blessing in disguise. But whatever the reason, PLEASE demand Bob Arum gets you a REAL fight, someone who poses a THREAT, PLEASE AND SOON! And Bob, if you can’t do that, keep them off PPV.

Article posted on 13.05.2009

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