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Boxing – Pavlik Could Be Fighting Sturm Next

Felix Sturm Kelly PavlikBy Erik Schmidt: In news that will surely please some of WBC/WBO Kelly Pavlik’s boxing fans, there is a possibility that the 27-year-old Pavlik could be fighting WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm next in October. According to Vindy.com, Pavlik’s management team is looking into a fight with the German-based Sturm. Also on the table is a fight with International Boxing Federation middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, an opponent that Pavlik has wanted to fight for some time.

Just recently, Pavlik had a fight cancelled with former light middleweight champion Sergio Mora after Pavlik developed a staph infection on one of his hands. Although Pavlik may still end up fighting Mora, it was a bout that failed to interest many of Pavlik’s boxing fans who saw the fight as one in which Pavlik would be chasing the defensive-minded Mora around the ring for 12 rounds trying to land some bombs.

In the end, that probably won’t deter Pavlik’s promoter from setting up the fight, because he realizes that a certain segment of the U.S. market would be interested in seeing Mora, a Hispanic, fight Pavlik. However, a fight against Sturm would be the much preferable bout because of Sturm’s proven talent and his WBA title that he still has in his possession at this time.

Sturm is a great fighter, but unfortunately since his controversial 12-round decision loss to Oscar De La Hoya five years ago in 2004, Sturm has for the most part been spoon fed almost entirely B and C class opponents. Sturm’s competition has consisted mainly of little known opponents with marginal talent and little power to speak of.

Sturm was knocked out by a 40-year-old Javier Castillejo on July 15th, 2006. Sturm avenged the loss with a questionable 12 round decision victory over Castillejo in April 2007. Since then, the only blip on Sturm’s record was a 12-round draw against American Randy Griffin in October 2007. Sturm later beat Griffin by a decision in 2008, but hardly looked impressive in the fight.

That same year, Sturm put in what was perhaps his best performance of his career, aside from his impressive fight against De La Hoya which I feel should have been a win for Sturm, defeated Sebastian Sylvester by a one-sided 12 round decision in November 2008. In his last fight, Sturm once again was put in with a bottom top 15 ranked opponent Koji Sato, who Sturm defeated easily by a 7th round TKO.

Sato, like many of the fighters that Sturm has been put in with, was over-matched and ill-prepared for a fight against a champion and it served no purpose for Sturm to be matched so softly. The tendency for Sturm to be put with the most beatable of opponents when conducting his optional title defenses, makes me think that a fight with Pavlik would seem highly unlikely.

Sturm has refused to fight Abraham in the past. A fight against Pavlik would be very dangerous for Sturm because of his lack of power and his problems with Castillejo, a fighter with only average power who was able to give Sturm a lot of problems.

Whether it be a fight against Abraham or Sturm, either would seem much preferable options than seeing Pavlik fight Mora. My guess is that Pavlik’s promoter will go ahead anyway with the Mora fight and it will be another less than thrilling fight for Pavlik. The last thing that Pavlik needs is someone that will put boxing fans to sleep, though, because he was recently defeated by Bernard Hopkins in 2008 and has beaten two dull opponents – Gary Lockett and Marco Antonio Rubio – in Pavlik’s titles defenses of his WBC/WBO belts.


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