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View Poll Results: Who wins Pavlik-Martinez?

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  • Pavlik by KO

    5 41.67%
  • Martinez by KO

    1 8.33%
  • Pavlik by Decision

    1 8.33%
  • Martinez by Decision

    5 41.67%
  • Draw

    0 0%
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Thread: Pavlik-Martinez Pre-Fight Discussion

  1. #1
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    Pavlik-Martinez Pre-Fight Discussion

    Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again
    By Jake Donovan from Boxing Scene

    Raise your hand if you remember the last middleweight title fight you were actually looking forward to see.

    Let me lend you a friendly assist; if you have any standards whatsoever, then that last moment came more than 2 ½ years ago.

    It was when an undefeated contender named Kelly Pavlik peeled himself off of the canvas early to rally back and violently snatch the middleweight crown from the reigning undefeated champion, Jermain Taylor.

    The fight was an instant classic, complete with a highlight reel ending and as fitting a changing of the guard as the sport had seen in recent memory.

    Taylor was a man without an island heading into the fight, his popularity – and arguably his skill level – dramatically regressing with each passing fight. Pavlik, meanwhile, brought a traveling crowd by the thousands, with a large throng of fans making the eight-hour trek from Youngstown, Ohio to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

    Saturday night will mark his third trip back to the East Coast casino town since scoring the career-defining win to ignite his middleweight reign. However, it will be the first time since his title-winning effort in which boxing fans genuinely and eagerly await.

    The anticipation of this weekend’s contest as opposed to the foregone conclusion feeling heading into his previous three title defenses has everything to do with whom is standing in the opposite corner.

    Title defenses against – in reverse order – Miguel Espino, Marco Antonio Rubio and Gary Lockett did little more than allow Pavlik to tread water. Taking on dangerous southpaw Sergio Martinez is anything but a sure thing, which once again has fans talking about the middleweight division.

    Their bout will air live from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (Saturday, HBO, 10PM ET), the first time in nearly two years that a middleweight fight has aired on their network. Even as Jermain Taylor’s popularity declined, he always had the backing of the cable giant. They were along for the ride for his entire reign, as well as several fights before and after his championship days

    A grand total of one Pavlik title defense has been carried by HBO, his third round knockout of Lockett in June 2008. The bout was a mismatch on paper and in reality, but an investment was made in belief that it would lead to a possible showdown with Joe Calzaghe, whose father served as Lockett’s head trainer.

    The fight never materialized, nor did Pavlilk’s backup plan – a proposed title defense against Paul Williams. He instead settled for a catchweight bout with Hopkins, a move that proved disastrous both in the ring and in the aftermath.

    One loss should not kill a career. While Pavlik is far from dead and buried, the fact of the matter is that he’s been away from the spotlight for far too long.

    He fought twice in 2009, both bouts headlining in-house Top Rank pay-per-view telecasts. The opportunity existed for Youngstown’s finest to appear on HBO, but a staph infection twice KO’d plans for another chance for the Williams fight to materialize. An October face-off suddenly became a December showdown, only to eventually become a pissing contest between the two camps, and with no fight at all to show for it.
    The most recent postponement turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime for Martinez, one that would actually provide the foundation for this weekend’s matchup.

    Once it was revealed that Pavlik-Williams was a no-go but that the beanpole southpaw would get to keep his December 5 televised date, Martinez slipped in as the replacement opponent.

    No title was at stake, but it hardly stopped the two best junior middleweights in the world from delivering the best middleweight fight since Pavlik-Taylor I, and easily one of the best fights that 2009 had to offer. Knockdowns were traded early, and the two went toe-toe the rest of the way through, only for Martinez to come up short on the cards in a bout many believed he should have won.

    When hopes for a resurrection of plans for Pavlik-Williams were once and for all shot down, the hunt was on for another worthy opponent to allow Pavlik to make his way back to HBO. It was important to keep the date, as the middleweight fight will be preceded by a super middleweight bout featuring unbeaten Lucian Bute, who is being groomed for a future showdown with Pavlik, provided that both fighters win this weekend.

    Luckily for Pavlik, the search for an HBO-worthy contender didn’t last very long. The money was made right for Martinez to remain six pounds heavier than his normal fighting weight, although he looked good enough in December to lead fans to believe than another changing of the guard could take place.

    The other side of the equation is those who believe a healthy (read: injury-free) middleweight version of Pavlik is too much for anyone in his division, much less moving up in weight.

    Whichever side you choose, neither answer is an absolute. Unlike his past three middleweight title fights, nothing is guaranteed once the opening bell rings.

    What’s hoped for is a healthy meshing of their respective styles, which is often the case when you match a world class puncher-boxer (Pavlik) against a top-rated boxer-puncher (Martinez).

    At the very least, that the fight is met with any interest at all is a considerable upgrade from the middleweight title picture in recent years. Given the rich history of the division, the rapid thinning of the herd left its king with few options.

    A formidable challenges exists this weekend, which is all the reason in the world to allow boxing fans to once again give a damn about the middleweight division.

    Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

  2. #2
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    Re: Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again

    Pavlik-Martinez is a good fight but the division itself is still in the crapper, especially with AA now at 168. It took a 154 lber moving up to actually make an intriguing fight at 160.

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    Re: Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again

    Yeah, No..

    I still don't care. Pavlik-Williams. Everything else is rubbish.

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    Re: Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again

    i think martinez will decision pavlik. i thought he beat cintron and williams. i think he will be too cute for kelly who should have picked an easier guy after the layoff.

    greg

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    Re: Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again

    Greg:
    He just fought in December, and twice last year. If he loses because he needed more tune-up work before a real defense of the title, then all should be glad to see your prediction come true.

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    Re: Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again

    I was quite impressed with Martinez. I think he has the skillset to give Pavlick problems. I was surprised how easily Hopkins nullified him by simple leaning to his left. I think Martinez with wove a lot and make it an interesting fight.

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    Re: Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again

    crold.... excuse me all to hell .... i guess i have tuned out on the middles. still like martinez though.

    greg
    Last edited by gregbeyer; 04-14-2010 at 08:56 PM.

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    bump

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    Re: Time To Give A Damn About The Middleweights Again

    Quote Originally Posted by gregbeyer
    i think martinez will decision pavlik. i thought he beat cintron and williams. i think he will be too cute for kelly who should have picked an easier guy after the layoff.

    greg

    Easier than the last two guys he fought??? How many gimmes do we give a guy before they actually have to defend a title against someone who MIGHT be able to win...

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    I think Martinez slaps him silly and possibly stops him ... I see little to be excited about in Pavlik who has not impressed me in the slightest since the first Taylor fight ... he does not even enter the ring in what looks like good shape ... The Martines I saw fight Williams will make him look slow and limited ...

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    Martinez by UD here...unless we get a Youngstown decision in AC.

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    Kelly and Jack his mgr did me a nice favor, so I will not pick against them, but I will say, that Martinez has the chin, will and goods to win, he has to be KO'd or dominated and when he handled skilled, big and dangerous Paul Williams, Kelly will have his hands full tonight and he should really try to get this guy out of there because he has the stamina to finish strong and win. Very tough guy.

  13. #13
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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    CompuBox Analysis: Pavlik vs Martinez, Bute vs Miranda
    By CompuBox

    This attractive dual-site doubleheader showcases four distinctive styles and story lines. Bute, who many have deemed the world’s best super middleweight, tangles with a Colombian challenger who wants to change his recent bad fortunes in high-profile fights. Meanwhile Pavlik desires to regain a place in the pound-for-pound rankings while the slick and quick Martinez, a natural 154-pounder, again invades the middleweights in search of a monumental victory.

    Who will achieve their goals Saturday night? A look at the CompuBox numbers could offer hints, and we will begin with factors that could influence the Pavlik-Martinez showdown.

    Pavlik’s offense: At his best Pavlik is a terrifying offensive force. The average middleweight averages 58.6 punches per round, but against Jermain Taylor (first and second fights), Bronco McKart, Marco Antonio Rubio and Miguel Espino Pavlik averaged 65.7, 70.4, 88.5, 77.2 and 90.8 punches respectively. And those who used an all-out attack paid the price, as the power punch numbers against Taylor (47.6 percent, first fight) and Espino (55.6 percent) show.

    Pavlik’s 6-2 ½ frame, 75-inch reach and aggressiveness forces opponents to confront him at every turn and such will be the case against Martinez. Pavlik will keep coming no matter what style he confronts because one can’t argue with 36 wins and 32 knockouts in 37 fights. The difference between those who utterly fail against Pavlik and those who achieve a measure of success is how they counteract Pavlik’s tactics, and Martinez can borrow bits and pieces from each to formulate his battle plan.

    Hopkins – and to a lesser degree Taylor in the second fight – used movement and sharpness to limit Pavlik’s success. Taylor threw only 38 punches per round but landed 39 percent overall (178 of 456) and 46.5 percent of his power shots (76 of 164). Hopkins – an expert when it comes to “sludging” his rivals’ offenses – kept Pavlik to 38.6 punches per round, 23.3 percent overall accuracy and 29.1 power shot precision by dictating the tempo. “B-Hop” threw more punches than usual (44.2) but made the most of them as he landed 32.5 percent overall (172 of 530) and 48.7 percent of his power shots.(148 of 304) in out-landing Pavlik 172-108 overall.

    Martinez must negotiate a delicate tightrope in that he must be defensively responsible but not be too timid, as Marco Antonio Rubio was in the early rounds. Because he didn’t take the initiative from the start Rubio allowed Pavlik to average 77.2 punches per round to his 39.0. That enabled the Ohioan to pile up advantages of 695-351 (punches thrown) 146-82 (overall connects), 339-197 (thrown jabs), 76-50 (jab connects), 356-154 (power punches thrown) and 70-32 (power connects). If Pavlik successfully pushes the pace from the opening bell, it will be tough for the shorter and naturally smaller Martinez to stave off the avalanche.

    Pavlik’s defense: Even when Pavlik is having his way, “The Ghost” is not invisible on defense. Taylor landed an alarming 64.8 percent of his power shots (105 of 162) in their first fight and 46.3 percent in the rematch. Even the courageous but limited Espino landed 46 percent of his punches overall (155 of 335) and 48 percent of his power shots (152 of 320) and as one will see in the next paragraph the out-gunned Bronco McKart got in more than a few licks. That should be a source of encouragement for the sharp-shooting Martinez, but he must still be wary of Pavlik’s toughness and drive to succeed.

    The southpaw factor: Even though he lost by sixth round TKO McKart proved that the southpaw stance affects Pavlik’s accuracy. Although Pavlik averaged 88.5 punches per round, McKart limited his overall accuracy to 25.2 percent (134 of 531), 11.9 percent of his jabs (14 of 118) and 29.1 percent of his power shots (120 of 413). But while McKart was very accurate (47 percent overall and 56 percent in power shots) he didn’t throw enough (39.7 punches per round). Martinez must maintain a high enough work rate to keep Pavlik somewhat occupied with defense and not teeing off on offense.

    Martinez versus volume: Martinez couldn’t prevent Paul Williams from revving up the offense (81.6 punches per round) but Martinez fought him to a near standstill by flashing enough power to make “The Punisher” respect him and making the most of his countering opportunities. Despite throwing 341 fewer punches (638-979), 156 less jabs (192-348) and 185 fewer power shots (446-631), Martinez kept the gap in connects down as Williams led by just 300-254 overall, 94-71 in jabs and 206-183 in power shots. That kept him in the fight and led many to say he should have won. He won’t out-throw Pavlik but if he eludes enough of Pavlik’s fire while taking advantage of his looser defense he can pile up enough points to take the belt.

    Prediction: Martinez is slick and quick but the natural 154-pounder won’t be strong enough to hold off Pavlik’s juggernaut forever. As was the case against another volume puncher Antonio Margarito, Martinez’s style will present problems in the first half of the fight but the demands of holding off the volume puncher forever will eventually become too much. Pavlik’s superior size, numbers and impact will once again be the difference as he scores a late-round TKO.

    *

    Bute-Miranda doesn’t hold the same level of intrigue because (1) the transplanted Romanian is fighting at his adopted home arena for the 11th time in his last 12 fights; (2) he looked so destructive in the Andrade rematch; (3) Miranda has lost his last three “step-up” fights.

    Two wild cards are at play, however. First, Miranda has rededicated himself to boxing and as such he has been in almost constant training since last July. Second, he hired veteran cornerman/motivator Joe Goossen, who has taken several fighters to world championships. Are these developments game-changers or window dressing? And what do the numbers say?

    The 6-2 Bute stands three inches taller and is a very sharp boxer. Until he was nearly knocked out by Andrade in their first match, Bute’s outside boxing was dominant. He out-landed Andrade 200-175 despite throwing 56 fewer punches (617-673) and scored on 43.1 percent of his power shots (138 of 320). After redoubling his efforts, Bute has improved his marksmanship as well as his power.

    Against Fernando Zuniga and Andrade the second time, Bute’s output dropped from 51.4 punches per round to 48.5 (Zuniga) and 47.5 (Andrade II) but his connect percentage rose from 32.4 percent to 35.1 (Zuniga) and 35.8 (Andrade II). More importantly, Bute’s power punching accuracy rose from 43.1 to 45.7 (Zuniga) and 52.4 (Andrade II) and both fights ended in dominating fourth round TKOs. It is not good news for Miranda that Andrade and Zuniga are aggressive bombers just like he is.

    For Miranda to win, he must tighten up his defense yet throw enough and land enough to earn Bute’s respect and stay in the fight. He did that against Howard Eastman in out-landing him 101-72 (overall) and 71-47 (power) before flattening him with two big rights in round seven. He also forced fellow power-puncher Allan Green to respect his power enough to hold down his output (51.6 for Miranda, 39.6 for Green) enough to win a 10-round decision. Miranda’s numerical edges weren’t huge (101-72 overall, 30-25 in jabs, 71-47 in power shots) but they were enough.

    Miranda’s last three losses were to boxer-punchers Ward and Abraham and volume-puncher Pavlik. Ward showed his entire repertoire of skills and styles over the 12 rounds and piled up bulges of 252-104 (overall) and 190-79 (power) while hitting Miranda with 54 percent of his power punches.

    Miranda threw the kitchen sink at Abraham in their rematch but, like Ward, precision and power was the key as Abraham landed 43.8 percent of his power shots while keeping Miranda’s success to 20.8.percent.

    Pavlik simply used blunt force trauma to score the seventh round knockout by going 242 of 539 (45 percent to Miranda’s 111 of 504 (22 percent) overall and 193 of 418 (46 percent) to 90 of 345 (26 percent) in power shots.

    Prediction: To win Miranda must utilize what I call the “spaghetti strategy,” which is throw everything he can and hope something sticks to the wall. Otherwise, Bute’s advantages in height, reach, speed, skill and home field will crush him. Bute by seventh-round TKO.

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    Kelly Pavlik Bringing Lunch Bucket To Martinez Fight
    By David A. Avila from Sweet Science

    Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik has a tough job ahead of him when he defends against Argentina’s Sergio Martinez on Saturday. But that’s the way he likes it.

    “I’m anxious to get in there and do my thing,” Pavlik said.

    The no nonsense middleweight from Youngstown is blue collar all of the way.

    Pavlik’s bringing his lunch bucket again when he fights Argentina’s Martinez (44-2-2, 24 KOs) on Saturday April 17, at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The Top Rank promoted title fight will be shown on HBO along with another world title fight. We’ll talk about that later.

    The tall hard-punching Ohio middleweight has stuff to prove and knows he can regain instant credibility if he can beat southpaw slugging Martinez.

    Martinez, who trained in nearby Oxnard, California for this fight, lost an exciting decision to feared prizefighter Paul “The Punisher” Williams last December in a battle that many people felt was the Fight of the Year in 2009. The left-hander’s ability to box and punch with effectiveness has quickly gained him fans in the U.S. though he also fought to a draw against Kermit Cintron a year ago. In both fights arguments arose on whether American judges were objective enough.

    Pavlik sees Martinez as very dangerous.

    “He’s awkward and punches from different angles, which sometimes helps him and sometimes that could leave him wide open and get caught coming in,” said Pavlik (36-1, 32 KOs) about his title challenger Martinez. “I didn’t see anything overly impressive. But he’s somebody you’ve got to respect. You can’t go in there face-first.”

    After suffering an infection to his right hand that just wouldn’t heal, Youngstown’s hometown hero was forced to cancel several fights including world title fights with Sergio Mora and Paul Williams. The cut not only left a scar on his hand, but caused another to his career as a fearless champion. That probably affected Pavlik most of all.

    “It was a frustrating 2009 and there wasn’t much we could do about it,” said Pavlik, who captured the middleweight world championship in 2007. “It was a little upsetting to hear what people were saying (about the cancellations of the Williams fights) but I couldn’t pay too much attention to that. I wanted to fight Williams and they said I was lying. The doctors had to prove that I wasn’t lying and we couldn’t make the fight happen. So the next best fight out there was Martinez.”

    Although Martinez has yet to beat an elite fighter on American soil, his back and forth battle with Williams in December and his draw against Cintron last February not only gained him respect among peers, but drew raves from fans who felt the Argentine had won both contests. Even Pavlik agrees with fans.

    “I thought Martinez won the fight to be honest with you,” said Pavlik during a telephone press conference call. “What Martinez did against Paul Williams I think Martinez has really made a name for himself.”

    Pavlik’s trainer Jack Lowe believes his fighter has turned the corner on the injury bug.

    “People are going to see the best Kelly Pavlik they’ve seen in a long time,” Lowe said.

    Other world title fight

    Canada’s Lucian Bute (25-0, 20 KOs) defends his IBF super middleweight world title against Colombia’s Edison “La Pantera” Miranda (33-4, 29 KOs) on Saturday in Montreal, Canada. The fight will also be shown on HBO.

    Bute has led a boxing revival in Canada that has helped regularly fill arenas with 18,000 fans as he did in two fights against California’s Librado Andrade in October 2008 and November 2009.

    In his first battle with Mexican-American Andrade he survived a knockdown with the help of a referee’s long count in the last round with seconds remaining, but in the rematch he regained his reputation with a fourth round stoppage via a well-placed body shot. Hence, Bute now faces Miranda a murderous puncher for a fifth title defense since grabbing the belt in October 2007.

    Other notes

    Lorraine Chargin, 79, a boxing promoter passed away last week from cancer at her home in Cambria, California. She was one of the few female promoters in the business and had learned much of her craft from another female promoter Aileen Eaton while working at the historic Olympic Auditorium. She was married to famed boxing match maker Don “War a Week” Chargin and both handled Don Chargin Promotions that still exists. Lorraine Chargin was known for her take-charge, no-nonsense attitude and for her generosity to those in need. She was honored by the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007 for her contributions to boxing. “We will never forget her,” said Bill Caplan who has known the Chargins for decades.

    A fight between WBO junior welterweight titleholder Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley of Palm Springs and Argentina’s big punching Marcos Maidana is being negotiated, said Cameron Dunkin who manages Bradley. Maidana recently beat undefeated Victor Cayo and Victor Ortiz in back-to-back junior welterweight fights. HBO is interested in matching the Argentine with undefeated Bradley who was unable to lure a name opponent. Maidana is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Bradley by Gary Shaw Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions. No site nor date has been determined.

    Shawn Porter (13-0, 10 KOs) faces Colombia’s Raul Pinzon (17-4, 16 KOs) in a junior middleweight bout in Salisbury, Maryland tonight. Porter trains at the Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood and was recently seen sparring with former amateur star Donyil Linvingstone. He also was a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao when that fighter was preparing for Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto. Porter’s fight will be televised on Showtime.

    Riverside’s Josesito Lopez was scheduled to fight undefeated Mike Dallas on April 24 on the under card of Chris Arreola and Tomasz Adamek, but due to a an injury it has been moved to another date. Henry Ramirez, who trains both Arreola and Lopez, said that Lopez will now be fighting on May 8 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Dallas is still the opponent on the Goossen-Tutor Promotions card.

    Chicago’s David Estrada (24-6, 15 KOs) won by technical knockout of Orlando Lora (26-1-1, 18 KOs) of Coachella on Saturday at the Agua Caliente Casino. Estrada, a veteran of many significant fights including those with Sugar Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, and Armando Velardez Jr., had too much experience for Lora who lost his first fight as a professional. Estrada’s win places him back in contention for another welterweight world title shot.

    IBO cruiserweight world titleholder Danny Green (28-3, 25 KOs) of Australia defends his title against former super middleweight world champion Manny Siaca (22-6) of Puerto Rico on Wednesday April 15. Green’s last fight was a first round stoppage of Roy Jones Jr. in a cruiserweight match. Green is also a former light heavyweight world champion.

    Jason Gavern (19-7-3) the fighting policeman upset Bakersfield’s Manny Quezada (29-5, 18 KOs) by split decision in Lemoore, California on Thursday. Quezada was poised to make a world title bid but was tripped up by Gavern who is an experienced fighter. Gavern has sparred with Chris Arreola and James Toney.

    Former bantamweight world champion Cristian Mijares (39-6-2) won by split decision over Francisco “Panchito” Arce (30-6-2) in a 12-round fight in Durango, Mexico on Saturday. Arce, the younger brother of Jorge Arce, can’t seem to win the big fight though he always comes close.

    Junior featherweight world champion Marcela Acuna (34-5) of Argentina defeated Mexico’s Maria Villalobos (6-3) by unanimous decision in Buenos Aires on Saturday after 10 rounds.

    IBF welterweight titleholder Jan Zaveck (29-1, 17 KOs) stopped Argentina’s Rodolfo Martinez (36-4-1, 13 KOs) with seconds remaining in the 12th and final round. The fight took place in the champion’s country Slovenia last Friday.

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    Stepping up to opportunities
    By Marty Mulcahey fom Max Boxing

    Sergio Martinez is the reigning WBC junior middleweight champion, but has not defended that title in over a year, finding it easier to entice opponents at 160 pounds. The Argentine repeatedly stated his desire to unify the junior middleweight titles, so it’s ironic that he is backing up those words by fighting the two best middleweights in the world. Many thought Martinez defeated Paul Williams four months ago, in a mesmerizing 12-round battle, and the southpaw’s encore performance is a fight with THE RING magazine World Middleweight Champion. It’s a schedule with a design on more than titles; Martinez sees the alphabet belts as a means to an end. “I’d like to be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. If I can make it to the top five this year, that would be my biggest goal.”


    The road to pound-for-pound status has taken Martinez all over the world, fighting in front of hostile crowds in England, Spain, and America. A journey the charismatic South American has reveled in, and one that has forged the formidable boxer "Maravilla" (“Marvelous One”) is today. The team that surrounds Martinez has been in place for eight years (aside from promoter Lou DiBella, who came aboard in 2007), and has created an atmosphere that pulls the best out of their pupil. Trainer Gabriel Sarmiento was glad to have more time to prepare for Pavlik than they did for a Paul Williams fight that was taken on short notice. Martinez was pleased with the camp. “The preparation has been excellent; I feel it’s been the best training camp of my career and it’ll show on April 17th. With the preparation I’ve had, I don’t think Pavlik will be able to keep up. I feel great. I’m on weight; I feel great physically, and I’m motivated mentally.”


    The well-preserved 35-year-old southpaw Martinez started boxing at age 20 and imparts a zestful fighting style. He takes chances on defense with a hands-down reflexive style, and exercises rapid-fire darting attacks on offense. Solid punching power is multiplied by the speed and angles from which blows are delivered. Martinez cannot be called heavy-fisted or a banger, but vexing ring generalship infuses his punches with extra sting. At 5’11” with a 76-inch reach, Martinez has good proportions for a middleweight. An excellent all-around athlete, Martinez drew interest from lower-division Argentine soccer teams and was an avid cyclist. Rounded into a two-time amateur national boxing champion, and earned the nickname “Marvelous One” representing Argentina in international competitions. Martinez says of his style, “Anyone who is a lover of the skill of boxing, practiced as an art and similar to fencing, to hit and not be hit, they will have a faithful representative in me.”


    Since Martinez is from Argentina, he will draw comparisons to national hero and boxing legend, Carlos Monzon, which Dibella reminds us of at the first opportunity. “I think this is the best fighter to come out of Argentina since Carlos Monzon. I think that great tradition of great Argentine fighters will continue and you’ll have a new world champion. I know we have a very tough night, I believe Martinez will walk out [of the ring] a superstar.” DiBella also made a more relevant observation, “He fights with a style all his own.“ The fighter is a more realistic, in regard to Monzon. ”I always will be behind my idol.” However, Martinez has a crowd-pleasing style; because of that and his swashbuckling looks, Martinez has a crossover appeal few possess. He is well-spoken, despite dropping out of school to earn money for his family, and possessed of a love for the sport. “Boxing is noble. Will, daily motivation, and perseverance in your work are key. Talent may be important, but without the other three, you cannot get anywhere.”


    Rarely does a boxer’s reputation increase in a loss, but that is what happened with Martinez, in the wake of the disputed setback to Paul Williams. Martinez accepted it in a gentlemanly fashion, and the subjective defeat has done nothing to curb his ambition. Martinez’s prefight confidence does not fall into the braggart category, such as a Floyd Mayweather, despite positive comments about his preparations and abilities. Martinez is introspective with evaluations. Only well-chosen words on his readiness deliver outward condemnation of an opponent, or their chances of victory. “Kelly Pavlik, he should worry about me in many ways. Speed- which is an abysmal difference between us- the strategy that I will have in the ring that night, and the strength of my punches. Because they will surprise him and hurt him a great deal.“ That is as verbose as Martinez gets, so fans will not be subjected to any prefight shoving matches. In fact, this Wednesday, Martinez could not even pose for the traditional staredown photo without smiling and breaking into laughter.


    Sarmiento shares his fighter’s confidence, revealing how preparations have unfolded to respected photojournalist Ricardo Conde. “Camp has been wonderful; having fought Paul Williams just a few months ago really helped Sergio prepare for this fight against Pavlik. After the Williams fight, we got right back into the gym as soon as we knew we were going to fight Kelly Pavlik. We’ve prepared to go the distance with Pavlik.” He also feels Pavlik might have seen his best days. “He’s not the same fighter he once was, so we believe that Sergio’s speed will be the difference in this fight. This is Sergio’s most important fight of his career so far, but it’s not the most difficult.” Sarmiento even ventured a look past this fight, and into Martinez’ future. “Should we get past Pavlik, I’d like to see Sergio take on Antonio Margarito, possibly in the middle of the year, and then Paul Williams at the end of the year.”


    Strength and conditioning coach Cicilio Flores is similarly enthused by the training camp they had. Flores is confident Martinez put on the added weight correctly, so as not to affect his speed or stamina negatively. “This has been Sergio’s best preparation; he’s faster than ever, stronger than ever. His nutrition went very well; his training and his sparring was very good, and this has been an almost perfect training camp. I definitely feel that Sergio’s speed and strength will be very noticeable, and we’re definitely going to be looking for that knockout.” There were some minor changes to their routine, mostly concerned with extra strength training, using free weights. At the WBC-mandated prefight weigh-in, a routine check done 30 days before a fight, Martinez registered 168 pounds, well within range of the 160-pound limit. The team trained in the boxing stronghold of Oxnard, California for eight weeks, arriving in Atlantic City on Monday.


    Before the Williams fight, some boxing insiders voiced concerns that Martinez was not big enough to compete at middleweight, especially given Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik’s elongated frames. However, what Martinez stated before the Williams fight bore out. “For me, going up in weight really doesn’t affect me. It makes me feel stronger and I know I will still have my speed, so I don’t really see any disadvantages.” Although, Martinez emphasized that he can still make the 154-pound limit, and will return to junior middleweight for the right fight. His rationale for fighting at 160 pounds is admirable. "I decided to stay at middleweight to face Kelly Pavlik because this fight will be the greatest challenge of my career." Martinez is obviously frustrated by his experiences at junior middleweight. “What I found out about boxing is that no one wants to fight anyone who has a chance to beat them. I’m willing to get into the ring with anyone, but today, very few fighters sign the dotted line to face an opponent they consider a threat.”


    A logical concern for Team Martinez against the popular Pavlik is judging, since many believe American judges have caused Martinez two victories on his resume. There can be no argument that the Paul Williams fight was close, making judge Pierre Benoist’s 119-110 scorecard an outrage. It was inept at best, corrupt at worst. Martinez also had to settle for a 12-round draw against Kermit Cintron in Florida, after an apparent knockout win was erased by a confused referee. An affable Martinez remains unflustered, refusing to allow others mistakes to affect his mindset. "It absolutely was not frustrating at all. It just made me train that much harder so that no one can take away a victory." Martinez says the Williams bout served a purpose. "I was satisfied with my performance against Williams because I thought we gave the fans a great fight. I lost the decision, but I really felt that the fans and media recognized my performance."

    If Martinez captures the lineal world middleweight championship from Pavlik, there is one item he wishes to cross off his ambitious checklist. “I have the dream of being able to fight some day in the Luna Park, the legendary stadium in my country, Argentina. Until then I will say, ‘Hasta la victoria, siempre’ (Until victory, always).” The path to Luna Park passes through Kelly Pavlik tonight.

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    I have this feeling Martinez is going to win by stoppage.

    R

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    Wow. Ronnie picks Martinez? I had better take a better look at this thing. Ronnie, if he sees something, its usually there and means something. Its got to be Martinez with speed making Pavlick miss and countering big time. That may happen if Kelly has slowed even a bit. Interesting....

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    Re: Pavlik-Martinez

    I have not seen much of Martinez, but what I have seen, he puts his gloves down in arrogance far too much. It is a bad habit, that should catch up with him tonight. He has great speed and heart, good defense, but his power is not there, and his focus is not as it should be for an elite boxer. He has good countering skill, but nothing that Taylor, a harder puncher, did not present to Pavlik before.

    Pavlik is a fighter that moves in behind the jab unless he sees a opening for the straight right. Can crack to the ribs, and throws in combination well.

    Martinez may feel that he counter the slower puncher to death, but where Pavlik lacks in speed, he makes up for in timing, determination and power.

    Pencil me in for Pavlik in 6.

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    A Ghost in the Machine

    A Ghost in the Machine
    By Springs Toledo from Sweet Science


    Blue-collar hero Kelly Pavlik is the kind of man who prefers the hard way. He takes the stairs. Over the past few years he has trudged up the most perilous staircase in sports like a laborer burdened with blunt tools. He doesn’t complain; he sees what there is to do and he does it with an uncomplicated resolve common in places like Youngstown, Ohio.

    Youngstown. Back in 1922, “Pavlik” was one of 276 Slovak surnames on mailboxes in the Lansingville section of the city. This descendant remains close to home despite the fame and fortune his fists brought over the past few years. He stays while others leave. In 1930 the steel industry was strong and the population peaked at 170,000. It has declined 67% since then. Thirty-three years ago its economy collapsed when too many businesses moved away seeking cheaper labor; and now the empty shells of furnaces and foundries dot the landscape. The problem was always the same: stubborn Youngstown stuck with what it knew despite the signs of the times. It failed to develop new growth industries to sustain employment and as a result almost 1 in 4 of its inhabitants is scrounging below the poverty line.

    Youngstown didn’t diversify.

    During training, Pavlik leaves his parents’ house to do early morning roadwork …a skeletal figure in a hoodie running past haunted old mills.

    Pavlik didn’t diversify either. Nor did he need to. This laborer climbed out of the basement where so many nameless fighters toil in dim lights and defeated first a contender and then a champion. Hometown support helped. Those blunt instruments dangling at the end of his arms helped more.


    The contender was Edison Miranda, a pure puncher. Miranda’s style contains a total of two elements, absorb and deliver. It is no more sophisticated than his hand-to-mouth childhood in a third-world country, but it was enough to see him bring a 28-1 record into a title eliminator against Pavlik. Pavlik absorbed and delivered better and stopped the Colombian in seven rounds. Miranda didn’t have an alternate script. He still doesn’t, despite a reported nine months of training under Joe Goosen. He took shots on Saturday night with the kind of bravado that falls as he fell after an unseen uppercut landed on a nerve center. As Lucian Bute skipped away, they needed a broom to sweep up the broken pieces of pride and promise. Miranda couldn’t diversify.

    The champion was Jermain Taylor. Thousands of Pavlik’s neighbors left Youngstown for Atlantic City when he faced the then-undefeated middleweight king. It was a battle for the ages. Five rounds after teetering on the brink of a knockout loss, Pavlik hit Taylor with an assembly line of punches that dropped the champion like a crane would scrap metal.

    That was 2007. The first white linear middleweight champion since 1980 threw that belt over his shoulder and thanked the city he loves. “I still get goose bumps,” he said during the post-fight press conference, “thinking about the fans who came out.”

    The excitement a white working class American champion stirs up in the boxing world is something to behold. More complex in its origins than racism and less noble than patriotism, it was notarized when Pavlik handled Taylor again in the rematch. But purists of every pigment remained suspicious about the new king’s aptitude. Taylor’s style was never sophisticated. He never learned his craft well enough to become a technician or a stylist, and instead relied on natural ability. His legs moved as if he was playing tennis. He was not malicious and the nom de guerre of “Bad Intentions” didn’t make him so. Taylor was spirited but never mean, competitive but never do-or-die. Pavlik’s search and destroy robotics were out of his bounds.

    Nothing was out of bounds for the master craftsman who stood atop the next flight in the perilous stairwell. With tools as sharp as Pavlik’s are blunt and far more efficient, Bernard Hopkins used a multi-faceted approach to deal with a straight-thinking, straight-punching method, and spun him as easily as a hustler spins a hick. Pavlik stumbled, an antique wheezing and creaking while Hopkins was born again.

    Afterwards the master craftsman pushed his glove into the chest of the laborer, “You are a great middleweight champion,” he told Pavlik, “keep your head up and keep fighting.”

    Pavlik did as he was told. He made two low-risk defenses and stopped both. But disillusionment had set in among the masses. The word was out, even in Youngstown. ‘Heavy-handed Pavlik is one-dimensional,’ it said, ‘he has trouble with skilled boxers.’

    Argentinean Sergio Martinez is a skilled boxer. He is also a southpaw and an athlete superior to Taylor. Taylor ran track in high school. Martinez was a professional soccer player and cyclist, who started boxing at the ripe old age of twenty. He has evolved into a stylist who fights with a rhythm all his own, with legs that move on wheels and a soccer player’s sense of placement. Those wheels and that placement were more than enough to make the feared and avoided Paul Williams look like, well, Kelly Pavlik.

    With that performance, Martinez identified himself as a bad choice for any fighter living in a single dimension.

    …So what did our blue-collar hero do? His callused hand signed to fight Martinez. That wrench that Hopkins so casually tossed into his machine had to be removed and Pavlik would try to do it the hard way, by prevailing over someone who promised to be even more wrenching.

    He failed.

    By the end of the ninth round, the middleweight champion looked as if the Ohio state bird had crashed headlong into his face. “I couldn’t see,” he said minutes after the blood was wiped off his face, after the title was surrendered.

    Youngstown had Black Monday; Pavlik, Bloody Saturday. A local historian might suggest to us that he made the same mistake that his city made decades ago. City and champion stuck with what they knew in an expanding market and ended up losing what they had.

    Now twenty-eight years old, Pavlik has gone as far as he can go without making fundamental adjustments to his machinery. Le fantôme dans la machine insists that he realign his equipment to meet styles more sophisticated than simple punchers and over-eager athletes. The word is out. Geometry and mobility can break him down. If nothing changes, he himself will end up a scuffed stair for the newly ascending.

    He must diversify.

    Youngstown, like its favorite son, has been struggling in a ruthlessly progressive world that left it brooding by broken windows. This year newspapers are reporting that hope is rising for the city; new initiatives are developing technology-based companies with some success. Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik wants to become a part of the renewal plan.

    There is hope for him.

    Boxing’s landscape, littered though it is with dented husks, has a history animated by willing spirits …and resurrections. 
 
 
 


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    Another great piece by Springs Toledo

    Asking to Pavlik to alter or tinker with his style at this point of his career, I think is a bit too late in the game.

    Maybe if he possessed some of the skill sets that are being asked of him to incorporate into his style of fighting ever existed, than it could be possible.

    I don't see Pavlik ever having fought differently than he always has. The way he fought, and what made him successful were also part of his weaknesses.

    THere have been other fighters who have changed their styles during points of their career. But the skills that were being shown later in a career, were always there.

    Following the first Morales bout, beginning with the Jesus Salud fight, you saw Marco Antonio Barrera, alter his more straight ahead, offensive heavy style to more of a boxer. Naseem Hamed was completely crossed up and ended up gettign embarrassed because he didn't think Barrera could or would fight as he fought him.

    But Marco always possessed those skills. Watch some of his earliar bouts agaisnt Eddie Croft, Eddie Cook or Agapito Sanchez and you see that that boxer/counter puncher was always there in Barrera. There simply were bouts when Marco abandoned those skills to be more a skilled brawler who relished a fire fight.

    Arturo Gatti fits this description as well. While clearly not as skilled as Barrera was, Gatti did possess credible boxing skills that he all too often abandoned to become and even more aggressive brawler than Barrera was.

    The second Ward bout, surprised more than a few folks when Arturo re-introduced his boxing skills agian. And more than a few were probably disappointed as well. Gatti the warrior was always more entertaining than Gatti the boxer.

    But unlike Pavlik, Gatti at least HAD those skills with which he could fall back on. The second Tracy Harris Patterson bout, those skills were on FULL display. But most of us preffered to recall his bouts with Ruelas and Wilson Rodriguez bouts as well as so many others.

    I don't know of a performance that Pavlik has had in his past, with which he can fall back on skills other than what we have seen on display.

    It's the Old Dog/New Tricks story.

    Asking for change, when the tools have never been there, IMO is too much to ask.

    Pavlik will look good agiasnt certain types of fighters. Fighters like Hopkins and Martinez will ALWAYS be fighters he HAS to avoid.

    Hawk

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    Re: A Ghost in the Machine

    I agree to a point. Martinez made him look really slow & stiff in there and it was hard to believe that this was the same guy who competed with the more physically gifted Taylor. With Martinez, he looked like he never learned to cut off a ring in his life. He also looked like he didn't know what punch to throw & when to throw it. Kelly can be tweaked to be a little lighter on his feet & smarter in the ring, but will never beat a guy like Hopkins other than maybe a lucky KO shot.

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    Re: A Ghost in the Machine

    Pavlik to me is one of the casualties of the way modern boxing is set up. He's not an athlete so much as a FIGHTER. A throwback to the type of man who needed to be in the ring fighting at least once a month in order to master his craft. Fighting 2-3 times a year just won't cut it for this breed.

    I would do anything to see a resurgence of the blue-collar, "I do this for a living", fight-every-month-or-two mentality in boxers. It would behoove the Pavlik-types. Heck, it may even be able to save the Edwin Valero-types, who get money and then have too much idle time in between fights to spend it crazy and get into trouble. If all these guys did was travel, train and fight can you imagine how boxing would be?

    Sorry for the ramble. Just longing for the old days a bit.

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    Re: A Ghost in the Machine

    I hear that.

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