The parties have flirted, dated, dissed and dismissed each other, but the deal is now done, signed and sealed for October 3. Kelly Pavlik, the WBC/WBO middleweight champion, will clash with Paul Williams at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Pavlik’s new home away from home, in a rumble between two of America’s brightest pros in their athletic prime.
Money had been a stumbling block, big surprise. Word is the pot for the bout, which will run on HBO, could be some $6 million. Team Williams, led by his promoter Dan Goossen, was looking for a 50-50 split but it’s looking like Long Tall Paul and Co. will get more like one third of the pie.
The 27-year-old Pavlik will bring a 35-1, 31 KOs mark to Jersey; this will be the third defense of the ‘BC and ‘BO crowns, taken from Jermain Taylor in 2007. Since then, the Youngstowner has been a man adrift to an extent, professionally and some would have you think, personally. He beat Taylor in a rematch, got schooled by Bernard Hopkins in a light heavyweight clash, and took down journeyman-types Gary Lockett in June 2008 and Marco Antonio Rubio in February. The rumor mill has been working OT churning out stories, of dubious and/or unverified veracity, of the boxer and his sipping habits, so a strong showing against one of the most buzzed about boxers in the fightgame sphere, Williams, would do wonders for Pavlik’s profile.
Williams is 37-1, 27 KOs, and the 28-year-old has been drifting as well, in a different fashion. He can make weight and do harm at 147 pounds all the way to 160 plus, but marquee scraps haven’t been materializing for LTP, as his stature and drawing/earning power don’t match his skill set. Thus, boxers haven’t been chomping at the bit to eat his leather for 12, for middling money. He holds an interim junior middleweight belt, the WBO version which he won via TKO over Verno Phillips in November. In his last outing, in March, Williams had his way with rusty Winky Wright (UD12) in Vegas.
Pavlik partisans will say that Pavlik’s power will make Williams head back down to 154 or under, while LTP’s peeps think his busy hands and more mobile feet will have Pavlik hunting down Rubio for a rematch. What say you, TSS U?