For the better part of the last two years,
And even though it was
Now, however, Pavlik is preparing for life as one of the hunted. While losing to Hopkins tarnished Pavlik's perfect record, it did nothing to diminish his appeal in the middleweight division. Pavlik (34-1) is still the darling of the 160-pound weight class and a man fighters are beginning to line up to face.
And at the front of that line stands
If you haven't heard of Abraham yet, here are the CliffsNotes: Abraham (27-0) is the reigning IBF middleweight champion who cut his teeth in the division much the same way Pavlik did, in a pair of brutal wars with Miranda. In 2006 Abraham won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Miranda despite breaking his jaw halfway through the fight. That's like a basketball player going 30 minutes on a broken ankle, or a running back playing the whole game with a separated shoulder. Two years later, a healthy Abraham faced Miranda again in a rematch, only this time he knocked him out -- three rounds earlier than Pavlik did.
That makes Pavlik-Abraham a natural fit, right?
Not so fast. Arguably the most explosive middleweight fight in years has to clear several obstacles before the two fighters with a combined 85 percent knockout rate can square off.
Sauerland Event CEO
"I guess that's the fight everyone wants," Pavlik said last week, with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm.
For this fight to happen, Pavlik needs to push for it. He needs to go to Top Rank and insist that
It's not that Arum doesn't think Abraham is a great fighter. It's that he doesn't think anyone else does.
"Most people in America think Arthur Abraham is Sauerland's accountant," Arum said.
Hyperbole aside, there is some merit to Arum's argument. Abraham has fought Stateside once, against Miranda, and Sauerland isn't inclined to put Abraham in a tune-up fight in the U.S. after Abraham defends his title next month against
That's not what Arum and Top Rank want to hear. Ideally, they would like to see Abraham take on former middleweight champion
But Sauerland, while open to the possibility of fighting Wright, is insisting that the fight happen in Germany. Meyer said they offered a contract to Wright for an overseas fight but were told Wright had no interest in fighting there. Recently Golden Boy CEO
"We were informed by [Golden Boy COO]
Even if the fight does take place in Germany, as long as it is on HBO or Showtime, Top Rank will be satisfied.
Arum, who would put conference calls on pay-per-view if he thought they would sell, seemed open to the possibility of putting Pavlik-Abraham on HBO or Showtime -- at the right price.
"I think if a network put up about $6 million, it could get done," Arum said. "Maybe $5.5 million."
While HBO has paid that kind of money for fights before -- the
"I can't believe Bob really said that," said one executive.
Still, one executive acknowledged that, had Pavlik beaten Hopkins, it might have made the network more willing to consider meeting Arum's price. Consequently, the loss could lead to Arum dropping his.
Even with the complicated negotiations gumming up the works everyone -- Pavlik, Top Rank, Sauerland and HBO -- agree this fight
"I wanted to knock him out," Hopkins said as he walked to his motorcade early Sunday morning. "How great would that be, to knock out the guy everyone said was going to knock me out."
Hopkins said that he saw the flaws in Pavlik's style when he watched "hundreds of hours" of Pavlik's fight tapes.
"Watching film, I saw that Kelly fought lock-legged," Hopkins said. "That means he doesn't bend his knees. He's up and punching everything from up top. He uses his upper body and not his legs. He fights stiff. Against a guy that is mobile and gives him angles, he really has to turn his whole body around. For a guy like me, I'm too smart to make him turn around and then fire. I'm going to get him in the process of turning before he can line me up. He's like a Frankenstein. He's very stiff. He has to reset because he's not mobile. He doesn't have the soul."
"I said all along Kelly Pavlik was overrated, over hyped and hadn't done anything in his career to a warrant a fight with me," said Calzaghe from his training camp in Wales. "This was evident Saturday night when Hopkins destroyed and exposed him for what he is. That is why I wasn't going to waste my time fighting him and went straight to a bout with
"In a way this is an experiment to see if we can capture the same kind of lightning in a bottle we caught with Floyd," said HBO Sports President
Great question. I asked Beristain the same thing last month, but he insists Marquez is "happy for me" and holds no ill will towards his trainer for helping someone else train for a fight he is desperate for. Beristain's history with Pacquiao makes him a superb choice for a trainer but I would have liked to have seen him help Marquez get another shot first. To me, that's a much better fight.