As you may have heard by now, Kelly Pavlik’s impending title bout against Sergio Mora in Atlantic City has been postponed for… some reason or another. According to ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, it’s a staph infection; according to Team Pavlik it’s… something.
Whatever the actual reason may be, if Pavlik is ailing–whether the opponent is a preferred matchup like Arthur Abraham (rumored to be the next matchup for the Ghost after Mora) or a scheduled opponent like Mora (or Rubio before him)–it is absolutely the right call to delay the fight.
Now I think we can all agree that Pavlik was probably at about 85% or so during his systematic dismantling of Rubio in February, so it’s not to say that he can’t fight when he’s not at his best. No, more to the point is that there’s no need to risk his not being ready.
Why not, you may ask? That’s easy: October.
Pavlik supporters all remember October when a bronchitis-and-bursitis-ridden Kelly Pavlik was absolutely routed in a timeless performance by Bernard Hopkins in A.C. The beating he took was so thorough that some experts wondered out loud if Pavlik would’ve been beaten at 100% by Hopkins (personally, I think he would’ve; Hopkins was flat-out ridiculous that night, but you’re not exactly talking to Bert Sugar, here).
Now, in fairness, Pavlik never used his injury or illness as an excuse for his only professional loss. Trainer Jack Loew maybe, kinda did… but not Pavlik. Obviously the conditions played a factor, though noone will ever know the extent to which that was the case.
Is Sergio Mora the same as Bernard Hopkins? Hell no. He’s a stepping stone fight for Bob Arum and Top Rank to set up the Pavlik-Abraham bout people have been drooling over.
But why risk it? Jack Loew and company are right on to call Arum and delay the Mora match until Pavlik can fight at full health and preparedness.
Trying to rush the fight–especially if it is the dreaded staph infection–would be a mistake that could rob boxing fans of a highly desired and anticipated fight this fall. So hats off to Team Pavlik.