If Gary Lockett was brought in to give Kelly Pavlik sparring for a title fight, I suspect he’d be sent home fairly quickly, as Team Pavlik determined right quick that Lockett was too small and unskilled to give their man useful work. Sadly, Lockett faced off with Pavlik in the main event at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on HBO with Pavlik’s WBO and WBC middleweight crowns up for grabs on Saturday. The 31-year-old Lockett had zero business being in a title fight against a fighter the likes of Pavlik, and he ate a load of shots as he was sent to the mat three times before his corner tossed in the towel in the third.
This feature bout will not be pointed at proudly by the powers that be at HBO, as Lockett was in deep over his head from minute one. The time of the TKO was 1:40 in the third.
The 29-year-old Ohioan Pavlik, weighing 159 pounds, entered the ring in Atlantic City with a 33-0 mark.
The Welshman Lockett ( 159 ½ pounds) came in with a 30-1 record. The scowl he wore in the ring was genuinely scary. One had to wonder if his effort would match his expression, in a good way, or a bad way.
Eddie Cotton oversaw the action.
In the first, the taller, sturdier looking Pavlik let loose combos right away. Lockett hit with a right that sent Pavlik slightly off balance. A Pavlik right stunned the much-maligned challenger, who kept his wits about him. The reach edge looked like it would pay dividends for the Youngstown slugger.
In the second round, a viewer had to be pumped that we at least saw the second round. Pavlik jammed in a right hand to the body that made me wince; Lockett took it well. Not for long, though: he ate some combos, backed up, and took a knee. One twos snapped Lockett’s head back, and then a mean one had Lockett taking a knee again. The bell rang to save Lockett. The doctor asked him if he wanted to fight postround.
In the third round, Lockett got up off his stool to take more punishment. He went down for the third time at the 1:30 mark, and his corner threw in the towel, signaling their concession. A right behind the ear was Pavlik’s finishing blow.
Pavlik talked to Max Kellerman after. He said he watched films to figure out Lockett before, thanked Youngstown and also God. Max said Lockett was not a “bad fighter,” and Pavlik complimented the loser as a “a dangerous fighter.” Pavlik said he wouldn’t get much credit if he were to beat Arthur Abraham or Joe Calzaghe, who he said was unknown before he met Hopkins. “Is that who you want me to fight?” Pavlik said, when the crowd perked up at Calzaghe’s name being mentioned.