“It really is validating to me. Top Rank’s been with everybody. They’ve had everybody — they’ve got a lot of things going on — for them to still do this for me with all of the fighters in their stable right now,” said Pavlik in late October.
“They really don’t need to be taking any chances with me because they’re going to make tons of money with the fighters that they already have. So, really that re-assured me that they really do have faith in me and that they really do want me to still fight for me. Actually, it’s a confidence builder for me, it really is.”
The moves were set in motion following Pavlik’s withdrawing from a scheduled, Showtime-televised fight against Darryl Cunningham in August, citing his disappointment over the offer he received from Top Rank to face Cunningham and then IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute in November.
Pavlik said that he was upset with his reported payments of $50,000 for facing Cunningham, and the $1.35 million minimum he was to get from Top Rank for a meeting Bute. Pavlik said that he had heard that Denmark’s ex-titleholder Mikkel Kessler had turned down a larger amount for a matchup with Bute.
The move by Pavlik forced Showtime to cancel the entire card that was be held in Youngstown, but Dunkin and Top Rank hoped that the new direction might rejuvenate Pavlik toward gaining possible matchups opposite Bute or other super middleweights such as RING No. 10-rated pound-for-pound WBA/WBC beltholder Andre Ward or ex-beltholder Carl Froch.
Taylor also lost his non-title rematch with Pavlik by unanimous decision in February of 2008, when they each weighed 164 pounds, and was subsequently knocked out in the 12th-round by Froch in April of 2009.
Pavlik lost his first career bout in October of 2008, when Bernard Hopkins won a unanimous decision at a catch weight of 170 pounds. Hopkins’ win had come over a man who had twice beaten the same Taylor who had twice defeated Hopkins.
In the ring after their fight, Hopkins warned Pavlik, “Don’t let this destroy you,” adding that if Pavlik didn’t rebound “I’m going to come and find you and whoop your ass.”
Since their meeting, however, Pavlik’s career has been up and down.
Pavlik had scored two straight knockouts after the loss to Hopkins before citing a staph infection in one of his fingers for twice pulling out of scheduled bouts opposite Paul Williams that were to be televised on HBO.
In April of 2010, Pavlik was dethroned as WBO and WBC middleweight titleholder by Sergio Martinez.
Pavlik cited a rib injury as his reason for eschewing a scheduled bout with Bryan Vera, which was slated for the HBO pay per view televised Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard on Nov. 13 of 2010.
Pavlik returned with May’s 10-round victory over previously unbeaten Alfonso Lopez, a super middleweight debut for Pavlik that was televised on the Showtime pay per view under card of Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Shane Mosley.
But during an interview on Aug. 4 on a MaxBoxing.com radio show moderated by Alex Kohut, Pavlik refused to link any of his problems with alcohol, including an altercation with his brother in July.
“Like people say, ‘He’s out drinking, and he’s on the sauce, and he’s doing this and he’s doing that.’ But look, I haven’t lost any money,” said Pavlik.
“I don’t lose money and I don’t need to fight no more. Until I get the fights that I want, and I mean the big fights, and they pay me what I’m worth, then I’ll take them.”
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org