Kelly Pavlik: Ghost Busted?

Kelly Pavlik: A Fighter At the Crossroads

September 29, 2007 – Yahoo! Sports Brian Iole writes:

“ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – To listen to promoter Bob Arum tell it, Kelly Pavlik’s knockout of Jermain Taylor will not only invigorate boxing in the Midwest, but it will also be a catalyst for finding the next great heavyweight as well as solving many of the economic woes in the nation’s heartland.”

Iole goes on to quote Jermaine Taylor’s trainer Emmanuel Steward,

“He fought the type of fight that any of the previous middleweight champions would have had a rough time with,” said Steward, who has coached many of the best of the modern era. “He’s a big guy, but his defense is pretty doggone good, too.

“He was slipping punches. His jab was pretty good. He’s not the fastest, flashiest guy, but he was very effective and very, very determined. He would have been a threat to anybody and I take my hat off to him.”

Kelly The Ghost Pavlik

Kelly Pavlik: Where to from here?

So what happened? The short answer: Bernard Hopkins. OK, I guess the really short answer: BHop. That’s what happened. The remarkable age-defying exploits of The Executioner derailed what seemed – or what HBO purported to be an assured upward career trajectory for the Pride of Youngstown Ohio. The incessant & hyperbolic hoopla surrounding Pavlik faded almost as it had appeared – fleeting, fragile & based more on hope than genuine belief in his superior traits as a boxer. Indeed the foil to his two fight stanza & retrospectively tangential interlude with ring legend; Jermaine Taylor has also suffered a similarly brisk & even more devastating fall from the heights of oversold greatness.

This is perhaps an instructive differential that separates the true greats of the sport from mere “good” champions – the ability to retain a position among the sport’s elite for a protracted period in the face of worthy challengers. Kelly Pavlik is part, though, of that awkward cadre of men – something far more than a disposable alphabet soup titlist but, it would certainly appear for now at least, something well short of a dominant champion with an era to call his own.

Matt Hamilton, for ESNewsReporting!

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