Many thought that all Kelly Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs), had was a ghost of a chance when he entered the ring at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, packed with over 10,000 fans, last night to challenge defending middleweight champion Jermain Taylor (27-1-1, 17 KOs), in a fight that was broadcast live on HBO. Apparently that’s all Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik needed as he came back from the brink of defeat after suffering a second-round knockdown to knockout Taylor in the seventh round of their battle of undefeated gladiators..
ZOWIE! DOUBLE ZOWIE!!
Already the early favorite for “Fight of the Year,” Pavlik staked his claim as “Fighter of the Year” as the boxing spotlight shone bright on his hometown of Youngstown, OH for the first time since Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini’s heyday as WBA lightweight champion during the early ’80s. Mancini was at ringside rooting on his heir apparent.
Pavlik, who received a hero’s sendoff with a pep rally from his town before he left for the fight, has invited all of Youngstown to his house tonight for a victory rally. Pavlik is scheduled to arrive home at approximately 6 p.m.
How big was this fight to his community? The General Motors assembly plant in nearby Lordstown, Ohio pulled the night shift of over 5,000 workers so they could watch the fight!!!
Taylor’s trainer, Emanuel Steward, congratulated Pavlik after the fight telling him, “You would have done just as well against Tommy Hearns or Marvin Hagler with the performance you put on tonight.”
Five-division world champion Sugar Ray Leonard called Pavlik’s promoter, Bob Arum, immediately after the fight to congratulate him. “Bob, congratulations to you and to Kelly. Please tell him I thought it was a great performance.”
Pavlik becomes the first undisputed middleweight champion for Arum’s Top Rank since Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
Operators are standing by to take your request for interviews. In the meantime, read the early rave reviews from boxing’s knights of the keyboard praising Pavlik’s knockout performance!
Calzaghe Talks About Pavlik-Taylor
The longest reigning world champion in boxing, Joe Calzaghe, has promised not to take Mikkel Kessler lightly after watching Jermain Taylor’s shock loss on Saturday night. WBO/WBC middleweight champ Taylor, who had been mentioned as a future opponent for Calzaghe, was stopped in the seventh round by heavy-hitter Kelly Pavlik and now the unbeaten Welshman has promised he will not be complacent when tackles the undefeated Dane on November 3rd at the Millennium Stadium..
The record-breaking undefeated WBO World Super-Middleweight champion faces the biggest fight of his 44-fight career against Kessler, the WBC/WBA title-holder, exclusively live on Setanta Sports.
Calzaghe, the Ring Magazine Champion, said, “It was a shock to see Taylor beat but this is the reality of boxing – anyone can get beat. I’ve been world champion for ten years which is a long time in a hard sport like boxing.”
“I have always said that the secret to my longevity is because I look at every fight as if I am the challenger. When you have been at the top for a number of years complacency can set in but the fear of getting my ass kicked drives me to get out of bed and hit the mountain runs and then face the blood, sweat and tears in the gym.”
“Maybe Taylor took his eye of the ball and was looking at future fights down the line and dismissed Pavlik’s threat. It’s hard to keep your mind focused when big names and big purses are being talked about when you are training for a routine title defence because these are the fights that you could lose. I just put the talk aside and concentrate on the fight that is in front of me.”
He added, “Kessler is a serious threat to my reign and I am training my heart out for this fight. I would be a fool to under-estimate and under-prepare for him. In my mind I’m not the world champion for this fight – I’m the challenger.”
“Kessler, like Jeff Lacy, has got something that I want, his two title belts, and I’m going out there to tear them from him.”
Calzaghe is not bothered about making the history books with his achievements even though his 21st title defence inches him closes to the record 25 defences set by the great Joe Louis.
“I never view my career in terms of breaking records, if I break them then that’s great and I’ll read the history books when I’ve retired. I don’t see it as only five more fights until I break Joe Louis’ record. What it’s about for me is securing the big fights, winning them and banking the money.”
Calzaghe v Kessler is the headline attraction on a superb card that also features the dynamite-punching WBO World Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Maccarinelli, Barrie Jones, Nathan Cleverley, Kerry Hope, Jamie Cox, Tony Bellew and Harry Miles.
Calzaghe congratulates Pavlik
Undefeated WBO/The Ring super middleweight champion JOE CALZAGHE, boxing’s current longest-reigning titleist, congratulates new middleweight kingpin Kelly Pavlik on his victory tonight in Atlantic City. “Good show, Kelly,” said Calzaghe from his Cardiff-based training camp. “There is no doubt who the real middleweight champion is after tonight. The true world champion met the true No. 1 contender, and that’s the way it should be. Now that Kelly has conquered his division, I would like to invite him to Cardiff for my fight against Mikkel Kessler, which will also serve as my formal coronation as king of the super middleweights. If Kelly is a true champion in search of new territories to conquer, he need look no further than Millennium Stadium on November 3, where the crown heads can meet to discuss the terms of battle..”
Calzaghe (43-0, 32 KOs), from Wales, celebrates 10 years as the WBO champion on October 11. He is preparing for the biggest non-heavyweight world title unification fight since the Sugar Ray Leonard-Tommy Hearns welterweight rumble of 1981, pitting him against undefeated WBC/WBA champion Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29 KOs), of Denmark, Saturday, November 3, at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which will be scaled for an indoor-record of 60,000-plus spectators. Over 35,000 seats have already been sold. HBO World Championship Boxing will televise it live to the U.S. at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
Boxing’s current longest-reigning world champion, Calzaghe will be making his landmark 21st consecutive title defense — tops among active world champions — which would tie him with super middleweight champion Sven Ottke at fourth place on boxing’s all-time list, behind heavyweight champion Joe Louis (25), light heavyweight champion Dariusz Michalczewski (23) and strawweight champion Ricardo López (23).