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Andre Ward vs. Kelly Pavlik on HBO on 1/26

By Scott Gilfoid: WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO’s) and Kelly Pavlik (40-2, 34 KO’s) are still looking for a venue for their HBO televised fight on January 26th next year. Pavlik’s promoters at Top Rank don’t want the fight to take place in the 28-year-old Ward’s home city of Oakland, California, according to RingTV. There was talk of the bout taking place in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but that’s not going to happen because the venue is already booked with another event on that night.

Although the Ward-Pavlik fight will attract a lot of interest in the United States, it’s little more than a stay busy fight for Ward while he waits to take on the winner of the December 8th fight between Mikkel Kessler and Brian Magee in their fight for the vacant WBA World super middleweight title.

The World Boxing Association has already ordered that the winner of that fight has until June of next year to fight Ward or else they’ll be stripped of their title. Kessler surprisingly says he’s eager to fight Ward in a rematch to try and avenge lopsided loss to Ward in October of 2009 in the Super Six tournament. I suspect we may see Kessler vacate the title if he beats Magee rather than facing Ward and taking another beat down even worse the first one.

Pavlik was always a limited slugger during his three years as the WBC/WBO middleweight champion. He beat a bunch of weak contenders, got spanked by a 43-year-old Bernard Hopkins in a 170 lb catchweight fight in October 2008, and then Pavlik lost his titles in a 12 round decision loss to Sergio Martinez in April 2010. Pavlik’s career has been sinking since then with him fighting only four times against little more than 2nd tier fodder for the most part. He’s looked no better than he did in his losses to Hopkins and Martinez despite his lip service about having improved with new trainer Robert Garcia in Oxnard, California. I don’t think you can change a fighter like Pavlik. Physically he is what he is, and it doesn’t matter who trains him. He’s always going to be slow and limited.

Ward is going to easily beat Pavlik and then move forward to see if the Kessler-Magee winner will face him next year. I’m not holding my breath on that happening.

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