LAS VEGAS, NEV. (November 22, 2007) — The storied middleweight division has been rife with legendary rivalries. In the ‘40s Rocky Graziano had Tony Zale, in the ‘50s Sugar Ray Robinson, Carmen Basilio, and Gene Fullmer had each other and in the ‘60s Nino Benvenuti had Emile Griffith. However, for the past 40 years the middleweight division has endured a void — great champions without great championship rivalries..
Boxing’s two best middleweights — undefeated world champion KELLY “THE GHOST” PAVLIK and once-defeated former world champion JERMAIN “BAD INTENTIONS” TAYLOR — will resume their ring-war hostilities, this time at 166 pounds, when they face-off in a battle of epic proportions. Boasting a combined record of 59-1-1 (46 KOs) — a sterling winning percentage approaching 97% and victory by knockout ratio of 78% — the Pavlik vs. Taylor collision explodes Saturday, February 16, at MGM Grand. Promoted by Top Rank and DiBella Entertainment, the 12-round Pavlik vs.Taylor rumble will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. PST.
Tickets, priced at $600, $400, $300, $200, and $100, go on sale This Saturday! November 24, at 10 a.m. PST, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office. Tickets will also be sold at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers, Macy’s West at the Fashion Show Mall, and Ritmo Latino.) Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000 or MGM Grand at (800) 929-1111. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com
“I have made a career out of fighting and beating the best and this fight is no exception,” said Pavlik. “Just because I beat Jermain before doesn’t take away from the fact that he is still the best contender out there. I dedicated my entire being to training to take away his title when we fought the first time and I will do no less to make sure I win this time because that’s what it will take to beat him again.”
“You can over hype this fight, if you want, call it a career defining fight, because that’s exactly what this fight is for me,” said Taylor. “This is the most important fight of my career. I’m putting it in my trainer’s hands (Ozell Nelson), but I’m putting it in mine also, because I know exactly what I have to do. Ozell has been with me from the beginning, he knows the buttons to push with me that made me a world champion. We are ready to go back to work like we used to do it.”
“J.D. Power and Associates couldn’t rate a fight more dangerous than this one,” exclaimed Pavlik’s promoter Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank. “Kelly Pavlik is Youngstown’s real-life John Henry — a steel-drivin’ man with hammers for fists. Only Kelly’s not folklore, he’s the real McCoy. He has captured the imagination of sports fans and media worldwide. Anyone who gets into the ring not only fights Kelly, but all of Youngstown. Their first fight was a classic and boxing fans can expect no less this time.”
“Taylor-Pavlik was one of the great middleweight fights in memory and a fight that truly deserves a second go, said Lou DiBella, CEO of DiBella Entertainment, Taylor’s promoter. “I am proud to be co-promoting the rematch and I’m confident that Jermain can reverse the first result.”
“The first battle between Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor became an instant classic and has fight fans still buzzing,” said Mark Taffet of HBO Pay-Per-View. “The Pavlik-Taylor II rematch will undoubtedly be one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of 2008.”
Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs), from Youngstown, Ohio, joins former lightweight champions Harry Arroyo and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini as hometown world champions. He returns to the ring after a “Fighter of the Year” performance, knocking out Jose Luis Zertuche (19-3-2, 14 KOs) and Edison Miranda (28-1, 24 KOs), in world title elimination bouts, earning him the right to become Taylor’s mandatory challenger. All told, Pavlik Ghost wrote a career year against three of the best, who boasted a combined record of 74-4-3 (55 KOs) when he faced them. Pavlik’s stoppage of Taylor extended his two-year victory by knockout streak to nine bouts.
Taylor, (27-1-1, 17 KOs), from Little Rock, Arkansas, the 2000 U.S. Olympic Bronze Medalist, captured the undisputed middleweight title in 2005 when he dethroned Bernard Hopkins, ending the defending champion’s record run of consecutive title defenses at 20 — a run that left world champions Oscar de la Hoya, Felix Trinidad, and Glen Johnson in his wake, among others. Taylor ruled the division for nearly two years, successfully defending his title four times, all against former world champions, including Hopkins again, Winky Wright, Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks.
The Pavlik-Taylor II pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT, has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For your Pavlik-Taylor II fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.
For room packages and availability and event ticket information about the MGM Grand, call (800) 929-1111 or (702) 891-7777 or log onto the World Wide Web at www.mgmgrand.com
The MGM Grand Garden Arena is home to concerts, championship boxing and premier sporting and special events. The Arena offers comfortable seating for as many as 16,800 with excellent sightlines and state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and sound. Prominent events to date have included world championship fights between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson as well as Oscar De La Hoya vs. Bernard Hopkins and George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer; and concerts by The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bette Midler, Gloria Estefan, Janet Jackson, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Sting, Jimmy Buffett and the Barbra Streisand Millennium Concert. The MGM Grand Garden Arena is also home to the annual Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children Benefit and the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMA).