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Kelly Pavlik vs. Paul Williams in September?

Kelly Pavlik Latest Paul WilliamsBy Eric Thomas: Promoter of Kelly Pavlik, Bob Arum, has reportedly been unable to make arrangements for a bout between WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Mora and WBO/WBC middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, apparently because the offer made for Mora ($1.2 million) wasn’t enough for them. Mora needed a minimum of $1.5, for his own payment and to use as step aside money due to his already signed contract for a rematch with Vernon Forrest, whom he recently defeated by a 12-round unanimous decision last month. Arum, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN, wouldn’t go above the $1.2 million, and pulled out of the negotiations.

With that deal off the table, Arum is looking at trying to line up a bout between newly crowned WBO welterweight champion Paul Williams, a 6’1′ tall, slender, high volume puncher, with a physique not unlike that of Pavlik. According to Rafael, (not surprisingly), HBO and Showtime network’s aren’t interested in seeing a Pavlik vs. John Duddy or Marco Antonio Rubio bout, both of whom are currently ranked as Pavlik’s number #2 and #3 challengers in the WBC and WBO. Duddy and Rubio have good records, but are badly flawed and would likely be quick knockout victories for Pavlik, perhaps even faster than Pavlik’s recent 3rd round TKO over the obscure Gary Lockett on June 7th.

In hindsight, the bout did little for Pavlik, a bout that was largely ignored by many boxing fans, and due to the one-sided nature of the fight going in, it did little to increase Pavlik’s status in the boxing community. A bout against Mora would likely have had the same result, with Pavlik wiping the deck with the tricky former television star from The Contender reality show.

As for Williams, if a fight can be made with him, which is still very questionable at this point because the two sides are still far apart in terms of finding an agreeable payment for him, it will likely be on September 27th, taking place in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Williams, 26, is coming off an impressive 1st round TKO over WBO welterweight champion Carlos Quintana on June 7th, a bout in which Williams dropped Quintana multiple times. In beating Quintana, Williams gained revenge for an earlier loss to Quintana in February, for which Williams lost his WBO welterweight title.

Many boxing fans and experts and alike felt that Williams was making a mistake in fighting Quintana so soon, suggesting that Williams hadn’t learned enough to cope with Quintana’s tricky style of fighting. I suppose we’ll never know if Williams did learn enough to defeat Quintana over the course of a bout, given the fact that he stopped him so quickly, but Williams did appear to learn how to get around having to deal with Quintana’s style – by going right after him at the start of the fight and taking him out with big shots. It seems that Williams took a page out of Miguel Cotto’s play book, as he used the same approach to defeat Quintana two years earlier in 2006, stopping him in the 5th round.

It has been reported that Williams has been having problems making the 147 lb welterweight limit, perhaps growing out of the weight class as he ages. This would suggest that Williams won’t be at such at big disadvantage as some people might think by going up against the heavier Pavlik, who fights at 13 lbs heavier win the 160 lb middleweight limit. The size won’t be the issue, but the power may end up being a problem for Williams, however. Williams is more of a high volume puncher, known for throwing slapping punches rather than hard shots.

He has a lot of knockouts on his record, but most of those have come due to his tendency to overwhelm his opponents with a high number of shots over the course of a bout. To accomplish this, he often stands directly in front of his opponent, burying them with storms of punches. So far, Williams has been able to get away with this because he’s not had to face a knockout threat anywhere near the class of Pavlik.

However, if Williams has any chance at beating Pavlik, he’s going to have to come up with a different strategy to account for Pavlik’s tremendous power. In this case, standing directly in front of him and trying to take him out, would likely be a fatal mistake for Williams, ending with a fairly quick knockout loss.


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