Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

STILL ROOTING FOR PAVLIK

Hi Dougie,

Kelly Pavlik’s general behaviour does seem to have an air of delusion as well as self-destruction about it, sadly, but good on him for having a pop at Top Rank all the same. I couldn’t help but smile as I read through excerpts of his rant, and found his ‘stick it to The Man’ attitude quite refreshing!

Where do you think the future stands for him now though? Will this be an own-goal too far?

And assuming a place where his life and training are in good shape, do you think he can compete with the elite 168 lb-ers?

I reckon he’d struggle to be honest. Physically, at 160 he always looked like his frame was ready for a bit more muscle to generate that bit more (necessary) power at a higher weight but it doesn’t really seem to have worked that way, and he’s kind of lost that edge. Skill-wise, an effective but ultimately limited tool set for me. And mentally/emotionally, be it some combination of dealing with alcoholism, infection-fighting, and other factors, he just doesn’t seem quite there at the moment. In the fight against Lopez it looked like there was some vital energy and focus missing.

We’ll see, and I hope he both gets himself together properly and gets the chance. All the best. — Rob

I also hope Pavlik gets his life and career together — in that order — in time to make one more serious run at a major title. Can he do it at super middleweight? Yes, but not against the elite 168-pound fighters with belts (the Andre Ward-Carl Froch winner and Lucian Bute). I would probably favor Mikkel Kessler to beat Pavlik right now, too. I think Pavlik can beat Robert Stieglitz (the WBO beltholder) and the winner of the Stas Kastanov-Karoly Balzsay bout (for the WBA “regular” title).

I agree that something has been missing from Pavlik in his recent fights. He says it was weight drain from making 160 pounds in the Sergio Martinez fight. OK, I’ll give him that, but I thought he struggled against a second-tier prospect (Alfonso Lopez) at 170 pounds.

And you know what? If he’s struggling against Lopez, a basic guy with a little footwork and slightly above-average hand speed, he was going to have a lot trouble with a rangy, technically sound southpaw like Darryl Cunningham, who used to fight at light heavyweight. My sources in Detroit tell me Cunningham was training hard and was very motivated for the Pavlik fight. If Kelly was not 100 percent for Cunningham, mentally and physically, it’s very likely that the boxing world would have witnessed a big-ass upset in Youngstown on Saturday.

I think Pavlik knew he was in for a tough fight and being frustrated with his situation at Top Rank he also knew that he wasn’t in a good place (mentally/emotionally) going into a potentially difficult bout. I also believe that Pavlik knows that Bute is all wrong for him in terms of style.

He saw the writing on the wall and took himself off the tracks before his career derailed once again. I don’t blame Pavlik for doing that, but I think he went about it the wrong way. I can understand his frustration with Top Rank and his manager, Cameron Dunkin, if what he says about the contract being offered just one week prior to the fight is true. He’s a former champ, not some 4-round preliminary kid. Nobody should be playing games with him when it comes to contracts and how much he’s supposed to be paid for a fight.

However, it’s his responsibility to demand every detail about his fights up front. He should have made sure he was clear on everything before he started camp for Cunningham. If he felt Top Rank was going to “cash out on him” with the Bute fight, he should have demanded $3 million (or however much he wants) from the moment the Canadian southpaw’s name was brought up as a potential opponent.

In handling things the way he did, Pavlik may have done more than irreparably burn his bridges with Top Rank and Dunkin. He may have ruined his relationship with Showtime and even with some of his fans.

PAVLIK AND MORALES

I've been reading a lot about the whole Kelly Pavlik situation. It really is quite perplexing. There is so much going on and reading the interview he did with Maxboxing, he feels he was wronged. I can't say I disagree with him in how he feels. The flipside is the way he did it he might have committed career suicide. He says he doesn't need the money, but I don't know ANYONE who wouldn't want to make a couple extra million! As we all know, 9 times out of 10 it doesn't end up well for boxers, Frazier, RJJ, Louis, Holyfield, Tyson, the list is endless and ALL of the guys made MUCH more money than KP. Not saying he won't be okay, but when the anger settles down, years from now he will probably regret it.

From his side, I would feel disrespected too if I was given $50,000 for a fight, and only told 1 week before the fight. But, I would have wanted to know how much money I was making before I went into training camp! Yes, the money does sound VERY LOW. But my understanding of it is that it was more of a paid sparring session to get him sharp, keep him active, get some rounds in against a southpaw and move on to Bute. I'm not one to dictate what a guy should demand, and maybe what he says is right, because someone should have told him what he would be making, he is paying people to protect his interests. He says "they felt if they didn't tell me what I was making until right before the fight I wouldn't pull out, but I called bullsh*t on that one I will pull out of the fight". They had to know what he would be paid before then and probably didn't tell him for that very reason. Pavlik says he never would have agreed to fight for that. He claims this happens all the time to him. Maybe this is how boxers are treated, "sign on the dotted line". Anyway, there is no way Pavlik could have gone straight to the Bute fight coming off his last performance and give himself his best chance to win, this was more of a training camp to get ready, but he apparently never agreed to it. I guess he was never properly informed.

Boy, Erik Morales has cojones the size of Mexico doesn't he? He is getting in with the guy who arguably beat two 140-pound champions in Zab Judah and Devon Alexander. Even if those guys won, they were both down and had to run for dear life the second half of the fights and Morales WANTS to get in with him. That dude is crazy, but we love him. He really was one of my favorite fighters back in the day, this guy is just amazing. He's coming back and taking on killers! You gotta love him. — JCB

I do. If you don’t love ‘El Terrible,’ you’re not a real fight fan. Period. Whatever happens against Matthysse, we know Morales is going to give it his all and make for an entertaining, probably dramatic, fight.

Most of Pavlik’s drama occurs outside of the ropes these days. Too bad. I remember when he was an exciting young middleweight contender and champ. Now he’s a seriously jaded 29-year-old veteran, but maybe he has a right to be.

Fighters — even top contenders and titleholders — are indeed often given their official contracts just one week, or even a matter of days, before high-profile televised fights. Only the main event bouts to the really big pay-per-view events are legally and financially set weeks or months before the fight takes place.

Professional boxing is an extremely unorganized sport (here in the U.S.). It’s a miracle that it exists at all. I guess Pavlik got fed up with the B.S.

My guess is that he does indeed have a lot of money stashed away. Not enough to be worry and work free for the rest of his life, but enough to help him live comfortably along with a 9-to-5 job. He made at least four seven-figure paydays during his title run (including a $3 million purse for the Hopkins fight) and he never left Youngstown, Ohio.

If he’s got enough dough saved to tell Bob Arum and the other power brokers of the sport to f__k off, God Bless him!

But I hope he’s not prematurely pulling himself off the board. There’s a chance that he could be done (as he thinks Arum & Co. believes), but he could also have a few more good years in him. I think he can make for excellent bouts against orthodox fighters with aggressive styles. Pavlik would probably be a slight underdog vs. Froch and Kessler, but those would be good fights IMO.

Pavlik vs. Ward or Bute? Nah. We’ve already seen how that would play out with his losses to Hopkins and Martinez. Ward is a younger B-Hop and Bute is a bigger Martinez.

SHADES OF VALERO?

Hey Doug:

I wouldn't quite compare Pavlik's recent moves to Edwin Valero-type behavior, but the signs are definitely there that this dude needs help. I really like Pavlik because he always came to fight and had a chin and had heart. I just hope he doesn't end up like Valero. I hope he can get his stuff together man. Peace — Juan 'West Coast' Alvarado AKA 'Johnny Sunday' AKA ''Lieutenant Diaz'

I don’t think Pavlik is nearly as troubled as Valero was. Now, if he gets a tattoo of the American flag with Hillary Clinton’s mug on his chest, I might change my mind. But for now, I think Kelly’s going to be alright.

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