Franchise Thoughts: Pavlik-Hopkins? WTF?

Sorry about the vulgar connotation of the post title, but that was exactly the reaction I had when reading ESPN's Dan Rafael reporting that Kelly Pavlik will take on Bernard Hopkins on October 18. I enjoy watching The Ghost fight and I respect The Executioner for his longevity and his undeniable skills. Together? Not quite the same feeling.

I understand that Pavlik was having trouble putting together a meaningful fight. Rafael mentions Sergio Mora, Paul Williams and Winky Wright among the list of possibilities that didn't pan out. There's no question that on the basis of name recognition alone, the fight will sell. Even better for those of us here at BoxingWatchers, it's apparently headed for Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, meaning a road trip to see it in person is not out of the question.

A bigger question is whether or not that's a trip we want to make. We already saw Hopkins take on Joe Calzaghe and that wasn't exactly a barn-burner. Now we've got Pavlik in the Calzaghe role, with perhaps a tad less boxing skill but more power - or maybe not, since the fight will be contested at 170 pounds.

Though Pavlik is there to be hit more than Joe-Cal was, I give B-Hop roughly the same chance of knocking him out: that is, not much. Unless Hopkins gets sloppy (which is unlikely), the fight just seems destined to head for the same ugly decision as Calzaghe-Hopkins, quite possibly with Bernard telling everyone again how he really won the fight, the whole world knows it, etc.

I certainly don't begrudge Team Pavlik for trying to make money. The same goes even more for Hopkins, as every fight may be his last. I just can't shake the feeling that there was some other fight the middleweight champ could have made that would have served him better. If he wins, he beat an old fighter (albeit a great one) who's near the end of the road - and he probably won't look good doing it. If he loses, well... that's going to erase a lot of the gains he's made over the last few years.

It's telling that Bob Arum is quoted in Rafael's piece saying, "Kelly isn't thrilled with the fight." That's okay, Kelly. Not all of us boxing fans are thrilled either.

Update: Speaking of Rafael, he's also not digging this match-up.

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