Middleweight Kelly Pavlik’s bout with Bryan Vera is off next weekend’s pay-per-view undercard, but it’s in “why” part where things get dicey. The cited reason from Pavlik’s camp is a rib injury. But ESPN’s Dan Rafael strongly implies here that it’s because Pavlik has an alcohol problem, and then bluntly states that Pavlik has an alcohol problem here.
It might be true that Pavlik does, as word has been circulating on this for forever, and given Rafael’s track record, it’s probably a fair bet to trust Rafael. What’s bothersome about it is that Rafael presents no evidence, nor quotes any sources, on the record or even on background. The “declined to answer” Rafael cites the beginning of the piece that gets from Pavlik manager Cameron Dunkin about this alcohol problem is not any kind of indirect confirmation. Instead, Dunkin only says he wasn’t at camp to know: “I can’t say. I’m not there.” I’ll have more on this kind of journalistic standards question later today, but in my day job, I have been a full-time reporter for 10+ years, and there’s not a publication that would have let me get away with something like the claims Rafael made the way he did. I’m surprised ESPN would publish something as serious as this without better attribution. It’s hard to sue people for libel, so Rafael’s probably safe, but it’s out of character for him, probably the most reliable day-to-day boxing reporter in America.
If you assume the official story is true, this is now the fourth time Pavlik has pulled out of a scheduled fight in his last six, so we’d be talking about a pretty unlucky guy. It hurts the appeal of the pay-per-view a touch, especially since the scheduled replacement bout, featuring lightweight Brandon Rios against recently-defeated Omri Lowther doesn’t figure to be as competitive — not that Pavlik-Vera figured as particularly competitive, just that it was more so than Rios-Lowther. Still, Rios is ultra-exciting, so it’s not a travesty or anything. Top Rank tried to put together a good undercard, and I’m still interested in Guillermo Rigondeaux’s featherweight bout with Ricardo Cordoba and Mike Jones’ welterweight bout with Jesus Soto Karass.
More fights in the works:
Round And Round
Featherweight Celestino Caballero continues to pursue a bout with Juan Manuel Lopez, to the point that he went to confront him at the weigh-in Friday, and according to BoxingScene, a member of Lopez’ entourage punched Caballero. I’m not sure you could come up with a better illustration of how badly Lopez wants to avoid fighting Caballero than a one of his bodyguards punching Caballero to keep him away from Lopez. This is a multi-year duck job at this point.
Just the other day I was wondering whom super middleweight Lucian Bute would fight as part of his Showtime deal, it didn’t occur to me that Mikkel Kessler, who pulled out of the Super Six with an injury, might be available early next year, per Rafael. That makes the deal a little more sensical for both sides. There’s also talk of a joint Canadian card featuring Bute, junior featherweight Steve Molitor (newly signed by Top Rank so he can make a splash in America, ostensibly) and a rematch between light heavyweights Adrian Diaconu and Chris Henry.
The winner of the middleweight championship rematch between division king Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams will have to defend one of his alphabet belts against Sebastian Zbik, then Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. If Chavez decides to go back to junior middleweight, there’s an alternative plan. But it won’t get to that point. No way the winner of Williams-Martinez II fights freaking Zbik.
As for the alternate plan, it involves an eliminator Dec. 3 between David Lemieux and Marco Antonio Rubio. This is another meaningful step up for Lemieux, who really is as devastating puncher as anyone out there right now. Rubio, meanwhile, is out as the next opponent Gennady Golovkin, because he didn’t get his work visa in time for a Dec. 10 fight. Work visas strike again!
The rematch between junior flyweight champion Giovanni Segura and Ivan Calderon is booked for April. The old-for-his-weight Calderon will be older still, and while there was a debate about whether Calderon fought the wrong fight toe-to-toe or simply couldn’t handle the pressure (Calderon himself claimed each thing at different times) it’s hard to imagine how this goes well for Calderon unless Segura, who plans to move up to flyweight, is weight-drained.
Bantamweight Eric Morel is targeting Anselmo Moreno for a bout. Moreno has been left out of the bantam picture, between Showtime’s tournament and the possibility of Nonito Donaire-Fernando Montiel. Whatever gets him back in there, I support, cuz he’s he ranked #2 by Ring magazine and deserves some spotlight.
Lightweight Jorge Linares wants to face the winner of Humberto Soto-Urbano Antillon. Dream on, talented young Linares! You are with Golden Boy, and Soto and Antillon are with Top Rank, and the Cold War is so very, very on right now. It’d be a good fight, though, whatever matchup came of it. Too bad boxing promoters hate money and making fans happy.
Matthew Macklin wants Sebastian Sylvester. I don’t see why not.
A couple cruiserweight bouts are getting booked for Dec. 18: Marco Huck vs. Denis Lebedev and Steve Herelius vs. Yoan Pablo Hernandez. I assume these are part of the cruiserweight tournament, but none of the recent stories on them saythey are. Also at cruiser, Felix Cora and Enad Licina are gonna do it up on Nov. 13 as an eliminator for Steve Cunningham’s belt.
The twice-rescheduled featherweight bout between Chris John and Fernando Saucedo is now on its third try, for Dec. 3. Let’s just get this over with and move on to John’s bout with YURIORKIS GAMBOA!
Chop Chop’s back again! Naturally it’s against another young junior welterweight on hostile soil. DeMarcus Corley will voyage to the Ukraine to fight Serhiy Fedchenko, who doesn’t have much on his record aside from a close loss to Kaizer Mabuza.
Talented young welterweight Kell Brook essentially stays busy against Michael Clark Dec. 11, while he awaits a bout with Mike Jones.
Jean Marc Mormeck-Hasim Rahman at heavyweight is off. I’m sure you’re sad.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN)