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Does Pavlik Intend On Boxing More Against Rubio?

pavlik3422346By Dave Lahr: WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (34-1, 30 KOs) is only a week away from his comeback fight against his number #1 challenger Marco Antonio Rubio (43-4-1, 37 KOs) at the Chevrolet Centre, in Youngstown, Ohio. The burning question is, besides whether he’s recovered both mentally and physically from his disappointing 12-round decision loss to Bernard Hopkins in October, is whether Pavlik will adapt his fighting strategy and try to put more emphasis on using his dormant boxing skills rather than just trying to slug it out with his opponents.

It was only a matter of time before a fighter like Hopkins took advantage of Pavlik’s lack of boxing skills because Pavlik had always been pretty much exclusively a one-dimensional fighter during his career. If it’s hadn’t been Hopkins that exposed Pavlik, it would have been another fighter like Joe Calzaghe, Joe Greene, Sergio Martinez or one of the many pure boxer-punchers in the sport.

It will be interesting to see if Pavlik has decided on making any changes with his style for this fight or whether he’ll stick with what’s worked for him throughout his nine year career. Maybe he doesn’t need to change it? It could be that Hopkins was a special breed of fighter and that Pavlik won’t he facing anyone like that any time soon if ever in his career, but I doubt it.

There are other fighters out there who will no doubt have seen the Pavlik-Hopkins fight and will be using this as a blue print in how to beat Pavlik from now on. The only way to prevent that from happening is for Pavlik to stay one step ahead of them by learning how to box more.

Rubio, 28, is more of the classic slugger, and probably not the type of fighter that Pavlik has to worry a lot about. That doesn’t mean that Rubio hasn’t been given a crash course in how to defeat Pavlik’s style, because he’s probably studied the Hopkins fight over and over again, and has probably a good idea what he needs to do to mimic the Hopkins style. However, Rubio is too much of a plodder himself to make the kind of grand changes that will be needed to defeat Pavlik in the manner that Hopkins did.

I think Rubio will do a much better job than he might have otherwise before Hopkins showed people how to defeat Pavlik, but it’s too big of a leap from Rubio’s style of fighting to evolve into a style like Hopkins before the February 21st. Pavlik will track him down whether he runs or not, corner him and bludgeon him until he drops.

But for Pavlik’s sake, he needs to use this fight as more of a practice session so that he can start to learn how to fight against the more skillful fighters in the boxing world like Hopkins. Making changes at this point in Pavlik’s career won’t be easy, because he’s been boxing for a long time and he’s totally accustomed to slugging. At the same time, he doesn’t have good hand speed or foot movement like Hopkins or Jermain Taylor, and no matter how much training he gets, he won’t be getting any better in those departments.

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