Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik, the extremely tall, broad-shouldered, athletic middleweight promoted by Talk Rank should finally get unleashed in 2007. If he turns out to be as genuinely good as he has looked against soft opposition, Jermain Taylor might be in for a long night—or a short one. At 24, he has skills and major league power to dethrone the champ. But, of course, his four-round demolition of Lenord Pierre is not the greatest litmus test. Nor have been the fringe contenders he’s feasted on thus far, padding his record to an enviable 29-0 (26).
It’s time for Pavlik’s handlers to make their move. Like the middleweight champ, he’s not long for 160; his hulking frame is better suited for Joe Calzaghe’s division eight pounds north. He’d look healthy at 175. HBO exec Kerry Davis says he wants to make Taylor-Pavlik. So let’s see it before the issue of weight turns into a Corrales-Castillo scenario. Diehard fans would prefer to see this to the one briefly proposed with The Contender star Sergio Mora. And as game and experienced as Taylor’s next opponent (Kassim Ouma) is the disparity in size and power is wanting.
Come to think of it, has “Bad Intentions” ever faced a big man with a big punch? I don’t think so. Give him a world of credit for facing boxing’s best in Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright in his last three fights—and Ouma’s no softy—but none of these guys can crack. Pavlik is supposed to have his HBO debut on Boxing After Dark in late January. Hopefully, they will put him in tough(er) and, barring injuries—he has a history of brittle hands (another reason not to waste time)—we’ll see the two get it on mid-year.
Pavlik demonstrated his prowess in March 2005, when he blew out Dorian Beaupierre in two on ShoBox. He followed this with a gutsy performance against rugged Fulgencia Zuniga, whom he stopped in nine. His TKO over longtime jnr. middle vet Bronco McKart was stay-busy material. His tussle with Pierre, broadcast on Versus Channel, meant even less. You may recall the Kevin Rooney-trained Pierre, now 18-3 (3), made John Duddy look like Tyson circa 1986, getting his doors blown off in a round. Willie Gibbs softened him up for in a 12-round war last March.
The chinny Pierre was in the kid’s home-court at the Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown. Pavlik could easily dwarf the popularity his pugilistic predecessors Harry Arroyo and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini once garnered. A suspiciously cautious Bob Arum can’t mind that “The Ghost” is white—not sure how he got that nickname if not for his fair complexion?
Pavlik’s heavy hands only emboldened the crowd and deposited the opponent on the canvas toward the end of the first. He was then battered for the next three frames. Referee Randy Jarvis halted the beating at 46 seconds of the fourth. Easy work, for everyone except Pierre.
Ahmed Kaddour, 149, who made a name for himself on season one of The Contender, more for his mouth than his fists, hasn’t done much since graduating from reality TV. In a rematch against the hard-headed Jesus Valverde, he earned an eight-round split decision, moving his record to 20-2-1 (9).
In a six-rounder, super middle Donovan George stopped Julio Jean—TKO 5.
Cruiser Aaron Williams stopped Mike Word in two.
Active journeyman Darnell Boone beat William Johnson (UD4). This was Boone’s 13th fight in the last year.
Light heavy Darryl Cunningham decisioned (UD4) Dannon Svab.
Suoer middle Billy Salsar stopped Shawn Schneider in two.