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Pavlik could be facing Martinez, Mundine or Sturm next

Image: Pavlik could be facing Martinez, Mundine or Sturm nextBy Jim Dower: According to, WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik’s co-manager Cameron Dunkin is saying that Pavlik (36-1, 32 KO’s) could be facing one of four possible opponents next, against either WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, Anthony Mundine, WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm and a 4th fighter that is still yet to be determined.

It was thought that Pavlik, 27, would be facing Martinez next. However, manager Dunkin shot that idea down, saying in effect that it’s too soon to tell right now who Pavlik’s next opponent will be. Top Rank, Pavlik’s promotional company, and Dunkin will reportedly be meeting with HBO management next week to determine Pavlik’s next bout, which could take place as early as April.

It would be hard to imagine that HBO, if they have any influence in this, will want to see Pavlik facing Mundine or Sturm. Those are good fighters, but not well known to casual boxing fans. Pavlik has already had three fights against obscure opponents in his only three title defenses since winning his WBC/WBO middleweight titles in a 7th round knockout win over previous champion Jermain Taylor in September 2007.

Since that time, Pavlik has beaten little known Gary Lockett, Marco Antonio Rubio and Miguel Espino. Pavlik has also beaten Taylor in a rematch with neither of his titles being on the line in February 2008, and was trounced by 43-year-old Bernard Hopkins in a one-sided 12 round decision loss in October 2008.

Pavlik was finally set to face a real challenge in Paul Williams late last year, but twice Pavlik had to pull out of fights with Williams because of a staph infection on his left hand. More than a few boxing fans felt that Pavlik would have lost that fight had it taken place. It’s curious that Williams’ name isn’t mentioned as one of the four possible opponents for Pavlik.

Sturm, Mundine, and Martinez are good fighters, but Williams would seem to be a tougher opponent than any of them. That’s why it’s disappointing that his name wasn’t mentioned. Who knows? Perhaps HBO will ask the same question that I’m asking and want to see the Williams-Pavlik fight. I know I do. Williams recently beat Martinez by a 12 round decision.

I don’t know why Pavlik would even be considering a fight with Martinez rather than Williams. Although it was a close fight, I had Williams beating Martinez by at least four rounds. He dominated most of the fight with his better work rate. Martinez had a chance to win but he messed it up by moving too much and focusing on throwing too many pot shots instead of putting his shots together.

I still think that Martinez would be too good for Pavlik and dominate him as easily as Hopkins did. That’s why I doubt Martinez will be the one that Pavlik’s team chooses for him to fight next. My guess is that Sturm will get the pick. Mundine won’t get selected because he’s been facing mostly 2nd tier opposition for the past four years and it would seem like that should disqualify him for a fight with Pavlik.

I say should because I can easily see him ending up as the fighter that Pavlik chooses next. It wouldn’t be a shock given Pavlik’s other three opponents for his title defenses.

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