Did Bernard Hopkins Ruin Kelly Pavlik?

By Robert Jackson: The twin bill presented on HBO's Championship boxing this past Saturday did much to clear up the middleweight and Super middle weight divisions. Was what we saw a changing of the guard or were the two losers mis-matched by over zealous matchmakers??

In the case of El Pantera he started out 'boxing' Lucian Bute masterfully a tribute to the 9 months of training provided to him by Joe Goosen. Only when he abandoned that boxing training after the first 2 rounds which he won and resorted to the 'bravado' that we've come to know, did his fortunes change. So blinded Miranda was by his own macho that he didn't see the uppercut that Bute reached way back to launch and land..

ESPN will be glad to welcome Miranda back for some pretty good mis-matches in his favor, that should end with Miranda's 'C' level opponents looking up at the lights.

Yeah this is an article about Kelly Pavlik, but the previous banter was just a 'warm up' for the more serious words that are about to follow. We all knew what Edison Miranda was about, WE THOUGHT we all knew what 'The Ghost' was about, could we have been wrong??

During the intermission between one of the rounds Pavlik wanted to quit and Jack Loew convinced him to continue?? Pavlik seemed un-coordinated and was unable to put any serious combinations together to land anything significant to slow down Sergio Martinez.

Pavlik had tremendous success against all of the previous hispanic fighters of which 6 were Mexican and 2 Columbians, all of them never made it to the final bell. I was waiting for Pavlik to be called the next 'Mexican Assassin'!!

Pavlik's braintrust and match-maker had to know that the Argentinian Martinez doesn't fight like the Mexican fighters that Pavlik previously faced, those guys stood right in front of Pavlik and didn't use movement or angles to attack from, Martinez had other ideas and better skills. Those guys didn't use head movement or clinch successfully either. They had to know this following the Hopkins fight where Hopkins used these same tactics to precisely confuse and disarm Pavlik who fights in a linear style and needs an opponent who fights similarly.

Hopkins administered a 12 round schooling of Pavlik, where he hurt Pavlik physically and embarrassed him in several rounds. Hopkins exposed Pavlik's shortcomings something that Hopkins conqueror Jermain Taylor was unable to do while losing twice to Pavlik, the first time by brutal KO!! The 'blueprint' was made for all to see and Team Pavlik did NOTHING to improve upon these detriments. In fact they went back to fighting the same type of competition that Pavlik could easily conquer, those who offered no improvement in skills to Pavlik. Hopkins post fight encouragement for Pavlik did nothing to UNDO the damage he already inflicted especially MENTALLY upon The Ghost, who's self image and aura of invincibilty WAS shattered.

This past Saturday night it was like Sergio Martinez began a round 13 doing what Hopkins had done for 12 rounds previously. Pavlik had his moments in 2 or 3 rounds of the middle of the fight, but after that Martinez just picked up where he started, busting up Pavliks face, making Pavlik miss and making him pay like he was a ghost.

Afterwards, Pavlik was 'IFFY' when asked by HBO's resident scrutinizer Larry Merchant as to whether he would rematch Martinez, it sounded like he would but he didn't say so directly. It was Merchant who said after the Hopkins debacle that Pavlik didn't have to take the Hopkins fight at 170lbs and gave him a pass because it was outside his normal fighting environment. Well Sergio Martinez this past Saturday fought outside of HIS normal fighting environment and accounted for himself VERY well.

Is Kelly Pavlik finished?? By no means!! Should he move up to the 168lb division?? Maybe, but bare in mind that those guys are just as strong as he is and can probably take his big shots. The TOP guys in that division are also crafty, slick guys who like Martinez will not stand directly in front of Pavlik. And with the blueprint laid out who will stand directly in front of Pavlik again??

Article posted on 20.04.2010

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