Predictions: Pavlik-Lockett, Quintana-Williams, Forrest-Mora

The Franchise says...

When you've taken on Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor - twice - in your last three fights, I suppose it's only fitting that you've earned yourself a little bit of a reprieve. That seems to be what middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik is getting himself this weekend when he faces Gary Lockett, who is making his first appearance in the United States to take on The Ghost.

Can't say I know too much about Lockett except that Pavlik himself says he has a good right hand. The champ's defense is adequate but not great, meaning he is there to be hit at times - one of the things that makes his style exciting. So I suppose at worst, Lockett has a puncher's chance of pulling off the upset.

Pavlik has advantages in height, reach and youth, so the only real worry would be if he is looking past this fight. Say, to a possible big money bout with Joe Calzaghe. But that doesn't seem to be very likely with the Pride of Youngstown, and our own Spartan117 has a source close to Pavlik who assures us that he is taking the fight "very seriously."

That all adds up to bad news for Lockett. Thanks for coming to Atlantic City, but I see The Ghost sending him back across the pond with a mid-round KO.

The most intriguing fight on Saturday is actually over on Showtime, as Paul Williams tries to avenge his lone defeat as a pro against Carlos Quintana. The first fight between these two men was extremely close: two of the three of us here at BoxingWatchers.com actually scored it a draw, though all three official judges liked Quintana.

Conventional wisdom was sort of turned on its ear in that one too, as the lanky Williams usually got the better of the action on the inside while Quintana boxed more effectively. It definitely seemed like Williams could not hurt his foe, and a lot of his punches were of the slappy variety.

In most of Williams' fights, opponents simply have no answer for his volume and the strange angles his height provides. Quintana did, and The Punisher didn't seem to have another plan of attack. Could he and his team have developed one in the last few months? That will be the question of the night.

I'm learning the hard way that you need more than a gut feeling to pick the losing fighter to win in a rematch (see Pavlik-Taylor II, Margarito-Cintron II). With that in mind, I'm taking Quintana by another close decision.

Also on Showtime is another intriguing fight that sees Vernon Forrest put his WBO junior middleweight belt up against former Contender winner Sergio Mora. Most experts aren't giving Mora much chance of pulling off the upset, but one of my favorite boxing scribes, Doug Fischer of Maxboxing.com, thinks the Latin Snake has a definite shot. And when Dougie talks, I listen.

After two losses to Ricardo Mayorga derailed his career back in 2003, Forrest has looked much better in recent times. He's been in against better competition than Mora, has an awkward style that is tough to deal with (just ask Shane Mosley) and is perceived to have a big edge in power - though to be fair, he's never been known as a devastating KO artist.

Mora is moving down one weight class after campaigning at 160 in his previous fights. As long as that doesn't drain him, I expect him to have a speed advantage, and he'll need it because nothing would shock me more than if he knocks The Viper out.

Forrest has been extremely confident during the build-up to the fight, but you have to wonder if he's privately a little concerned that Father Time is bearing down on him at age 37. I think he'll have a tougher time with this one than he or many others may suspect, though I like Forrest to pull out a unanimous decision.

Uatu says...
Uatu cannot honestly assess Lockett, other than by boxrec.com. Nonetheless, he's going to make a prediction anyway. Purely based on the fact that he thinks that Pavlik is the goods, and that Pavlik is too aggressive to let a lesser fighter steal a decision, and based on the fact that Bob Arum ok'd the matchup in the first place, Pavlik by KO early.

Quintana barely beat Williams. Quintana caught Paul at the right place, right time. This time, Williams gets it done. Williams convincing decision.

Forrest is getting old. Mora has maybe gotten stale. Mora probably can't knock down or rattle Forrest, but, Uatu thinks he could take it by outworking Forrest. This is a tough call and an interesting fight. Forrest should be able to completely outclass him, but this a big chance for credibility for the Latin Snake. Uatu likes Mora by decision.

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