by Lee Payton
Photo Credits: Pavlik vs Hopkins © Marty Rosengarten / Ringsidephotos.com,
Williams vs Wright © Ray Kasprowicz
Kelly Pavlik will defend the Middleweight Championship against Paul Williams, October 3, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The two camps were finally able to come to an agreement after weeks of grueling negotiations. At times it looked like they would never come together, but HBO made it worthwhile for those involved so we have ourselves a fight.
Now that it's a done deal we can start to seriously think about how it will look in the ring. Both are long, thin fighters who would rather use their stature to deliver pain than avoid it. One is a heavy right hand puncher, the other is a quick southpaw who just won't stop. The ingredients are there for a memorable evening worthy of the title on the line, which is why fight fans love it.
Questions will be answered. How is the champion going to deal with the challenger's effortless combination punching and fighting heart? Can Williams take Pavlik's "A" punch? Who is the best middleweight in the world?
I've given some thought to how these two men match up, so allow me to take a stab at determining the most significant factors on my way to picking a winner. The final result may surprise you, but that's boxing, isn't it?
Those who are backing the champ to successfully defend his title seem to be going all in on that idea that Williams will not be able to take Pavlik's punch. Given the fact that we've never seen him take a shot from a strong 160 pounder, I'd say that's fair. However, it hardly guarantees that Paul will fold when he gets tapped on the chin.
One of the biggest problems for Kelly is actually finding the homerun shot on a quicker, more athletic southpaw, who is sure to throw more punches. He may just be too busy defending himself to line up the bomb that changes everything. I'm also not convinced that his favourite shot is all that accurate (he whiffs on it quite often), nor am I sure that it's going to be there with any consistency against a tall left-hander, because it's really more of a right cross than a straight punch.
I have never seen The Ghost in there with a southpaw before, but I just have a hunch that his feet are going to be a little slow for this one.
Another strike against him is the fact that he rarely ever counters. When the opponent lets go with some offense, he responds by covering up. That's just not going to work against the whirlwind from Georgia. He loves it.
I've heard the argument that Antonio Margarito landed some good shots on Williams, so Pavlik should be able to as well because he's bigger and his punches aren't as wide. The problem with that theory is it leaves out too many details.
Margarito was never the sharpest hitter around, but he applies heavier pressure and is just plain tougher than Kelly. I think it's important to remember that Paul was in his first big fight, and has probably improved at least a little since then.
Pavlik will not go to the body or walk through punches like the gritty Mexican did. That's not his kind of fight anyway.
When all is said and done I believe we will have a brand new Middleweight Champion of the World. I think Paul Williams is going to dominate Kelly Pavlik. He has too much going for him in this particular match-up not to be considered the favourite going in.
Paul has nearly every physical advantage to go with his difficult style, but it's his fighting heart that will allow him to shake off whatever does land only to come back like an unforgiving storm.
The bottom line is that Kelly will struggle against the salvos that are headed his way. I'm going with Paul Williams to take the title with a violent late stoppage.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
by Lee Payton