What Next At Middleweight - Martinez-Pavlik II Or Williams-Martinez II?

Kelly Pavlikby James Slater - 35-year-old Serio Martinez proved beyond any doubt last night in beating and bloodying a brave Kelly Pavlik that he is one of the very best middleweights in the world. Perhaps that's not sufficiently high praise; maybe the southpaw from Argentina is THE best 160-pounder in the sport today. Certainly, the new middleweight champion of the world has achieved plenty at the weight - in just two fights!

Just over a year ago, Martinez, 45-2-2(24) was defending his WBC 154-pound belt against Kermit Cintron (being awarded a draw in a fight most people felt Martinez actually won) - now, however, he has made a huge name for himself with two great fights; one against Paul Williams and last night's win over "The Ghost." The question now is, what next for the boxer who goes by the nickname of "Maravilla?."

Pavlik, who lost for just the second time in his exciting career, has a rematch clause and the Youngstown warrior made it clear post-fight how he intends to use it. We could see then, an immediate return clash. But one man who Martinez may want to fight more than he does Pavlik, is Paul Williams, the man he so closely lost to on points in his last thriller of a fight. "The Punisher" certainly wants to become the middleweight king, and a return between the two southpaws would no doubt please the fans.

However, Pavlik appears to be in the driving seat. As soon as the nasty cut he picked up last night heals, the 28-year-old former champion may well go straight into camp to get ready for another go at the Argentine who has only been stopped once as a pro (by Antonio Margarito). And as good as last night's battle was, there would be nothing wrong with a part-two.

One other question we may have to ask ourselves, though, is is Pavlik a fighter who will never be the same again? Or, maybe put better; has Pavlik never been the same again since the painful loss he suffered at the hands of the crafty Bernard Hopkins? Hopkins (another fighter Martinez has shown an interest in taking on in the near future) told Pavlik to not let his defeat over him "destroy him." But is this what happened all the same?

Of course, Pavlik has been hampered by some of the worst luck any fighter could have the misfortune to be cursed with, what with his various injuries and out-of-the-ring troubles, and these issue have certainly served to take something from the hugely popular warrior. But now that he's lost for a second time, and presumably has no legitimate excuse for having lost (Kelly said pre-fight that he felt great), we have to wonder how Pavlik will react mentally.

Has "The Ghost" peaked and will he never reign again? It's entirely possible. However, until we see what happens in a rematch with Martinez, we can't know for sure. Let's see who the new middleweight king makes his first title defence against.

Article posted on 19.04.2010

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