Pavlik vs. Ward on January 26th, in Los Angeles, CA
By Allan Fox: Former WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (40-2, 34 KO’s) gets to be the next opponent for WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO’s) in a fight televised by HBO on January 26th at the Galen Center, in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Pavlik has likely gotten the green light by HBO because he’s got a more recognizable name than top super middleweights Adonis Stevenson and Thomas Oosthuizen, because those guys would seem to be the better options for Ward right now.
Pavlik was a good fighter at 160, but he’s proven nothing since moving up to 168, and has faced mostly fringe level to 2nd tier opposition. Putting Pavlik in with Ward at this time is almost setting Pavlik up to fail, because he’s not proven that he can compete against the best at this weight yet.
Contrary to some of the opinions that have been floating around the boxing world about Pavlik’s promoter Bob Arum looking to cash out with him by throwing him in with a near un-winnable fight, it was Pavlik who insisted on taking this fight, not Arum. Pavlik sees something in Ward’s style that makes him think he can beat him.
Pavlik saw how Ward struggled at times in his figh with Carl Froch last December with Froch’s power shots, and Pavlik thinks he can do the same but much more. I doubt it because Pavlik isn’t a great inside fighter, and he’d have to be able to fight Ward on the inside in order to improve upon the job that Froch did.
Froch did a reasonable job against Ward at medium distance, but when Ward took the fight in close, Froch had no answers. Pavlik only has barely passable inside fighting skills. He’s not going to be able to get control of the fight if Ward takes it to the inside against him, and he certainly will be going that.