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Who’s Next For Pavlik? Duddy, Lee or Trinidad?

By Dan Ambrose: For WBO/WBC middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (33-0, 29 KOs), he is suddenly the man that every fighter wants to mix it up with, and after all these years of toling away for next to nothing in monetary gain, Pavlik is looking at big money fights with a variety of fighters, most of which don’t come close to being nearly as good as him. The latest trio – Felix Trinidad, John Duddy and Andy Lee – are whom Pavlik is trying to decide on which will be his next opponent, or should I say ‘victim’ for his fight in June. As of now, the unbeaten John Duddy (23-0, 17 KOs) is the most likely of the three to be the one that Pavlik decides to fight, if only because he’s the more popular fighter on the East Coast.

There’s an added benefit in fighting Duddy, however, it’s that he looks to be the easiest of the three. That’s not to say that Pavlik is looking for an easy fight, but if he decides on the unproven Duddy, it may very well end up that way. With the prospect Andy Lee, however, Pavlik could potentially be facing a very tough fight, in that Lee has incredibly fast hands on par with Jermain Taylor, whom Pavlik just finished beating for the second time in the past five months. However, with Lee, he has superior foot movement and defense than Taylor, and also doesn’t have the problem of fading late in his fights as Taylor has shown in recent years.

Lee’s power is quite good, approaching even Pavlik’s which would make the fight competitive. However, what makes Lee especially dangerous is his counter punching ability and his southpaw stance. He has a dangerous right hook with which he uses on his opponents when they overextend themselves while attempting to land a punch or when they get in too close. The punch is incredibly powerful and fast, making it even more dangerous when he connects. His straight left hand is equally powerful, a punch that he can stop anyone, even Pavlik. It isn’t as if Pavlik’s chin is unbreakable, believe me.

If Taylor has the power and speed to knock Pavlik to the canvas, then Lee likewise would figure to be able to do the same, and without tiring out like Taylor did while trying to finish off Pavlik. Something tells me that Pavlik won’t decide on fighting Lee at this time, because it just won’t be worth the potential troubles that he’d have to deal with. Lee’s trainer, the great Emanuel Steward, would likely be able to craft a plan for which Lee could possibly pull off the upset.

As for Trinidad, 35, he is also is in the running for the fight, mostly because of his Puerto Rican connection in the New York area. He’d be able to bring in a lot of fans, though the fight would likely end quickly with Pavlik stopping Trinidad. It would, however, make for a huge setup in the weeks prior to the fight, generating a lot of interest by the time of the fight. Like with Oscar De La Hoya, many casual fans are unaware of the fact that Trinidad (42-3, 35 KOs) has lost many of his most recent bouts.

In fact, he’s lost three out of his last five fights, which is pretty awful for a top level fighter. It’s a rather telling statistic which would seem to suggest that Trinidad is over-the-hill and should consider another profession. However, this fight will be about making the most money for Pavlik, and if the fans are clueless about Trinidad’s recent history, the better for Pavlik.

I suppose you could see the fight like show business, at least that way it would seem like such a rip off to waste money paying to see it if it does come off. Trinidad, even though a shadow of his former self, remains a boxing legend regardless and for many people, they would like to see him fight even if he were to get beaten. In the case of Pavlik, he may end up inflicting a brutal beating upon Trinidad.

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