Pavlik-Hopkins Undercard Live Blog

The wait is over for Kelly Pavlik and Bernard Hopkins - or at least almost over, as we have three undercard fights to get through first. Marco Antonio Rubio and Steven Luevano are two of the fighters in action tonight.

First up is middleweight prospect Daniel Jacobs, hailing from Brownsville, Brooklyn. His opponent, Tyrone Watson, was only brought in within the last week. Jacobs is 10-0 with 9 KO's and goes by the moniker, The Golden Child.

Watson lets his hands go early, but Jacobs looks comfortable with left hooks to the body and head. A right hand knocks Watson down with about a minute to go in the first round. Watson quickly goes down again, this time from two left hooks to the body, and that's it - Jacobs wins by first-round knockout.

If you are a fan of HBO's 24/7 series, next Sunday is the premiere episode of the series leading up to Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones, while November 16 is the debut for the series leading up to Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao.

Footage of the Pavlik-Hopkins weigh-in is shown, with Larry Merchant repeating the story that Hopkins said, "Penitentiary, four and a half years," and Pavlik replied, "In about 30 minutes, you'll be going back." Both fighters are shown backstage relaxing.

The next undercard fight sees Marco Antonio Rubio take on Enrique Ornelas. The winner of this fight becomes a mandatory challenger for one of Pavlik's middleweight titles, though few experts seem to think The Ghost will actually take that fight. Both men claim this fight will not go to the scorecards, and the announcers are expecting a slugfest.

Neither fighter gets an obvious advantage in round one, with both landing some solid shots. Ornelas gets Rubio's attention with a hard combo in the first minute of the second frame, but Rubio gathers himself and they fight pretty evenly from that point on.

Emanuel Steward breaks it down like this: Rubio has the better movement and hand speed, Ornelas is throwing the punches that make his opponent's head snap back. CompuBox has the men almost even in punches landed through four rounds.

Ornelas' left eye is starting to show some damage in the fifth round; he takes more abuse than Rubio for most of the round but lands a solid combination right before the bell to prove he is still game. With about 30 seconds left in the sixth round, Ornelas scores with a left hook upstairs that stuns Rubio for a second and gets blood flowing from his nose. Harold Lederman has Ornelas up four rounds to two.

After the seventh round, we go back to Hopkins' locker room to watch the referee go over the rules with The Executioner. This always makes me laugh, just because B-Hop has been through this so many times. The eighth round sees the work rate for both fighters pick up a bit. Jim Lampley is amused that Rubio's corner has told him he is boring the fans.

Rubio looks good for most of round nine, and some fireworks start to break out in the last ten seconds. Lederman has Ornelas up by one point; I haven't been scoring rounds but would not be surprised if the fight is close on the official cards. Halfway through the tenth, Ornelas backs Rubio up against the ropes with a sharp flurry. Back in the middle, he lands a sharp right straight down the middle.

Rubio's corner tells him he needs a knockdown as he heads out for the eleventh round. He presses the issue a little more, but Ornelas is still making him pay with counter shots. With 20 seconds left, Rubio pours it on and Ornelas' legs look rubbery, but he makes it to the final round.

Let's see if Ornelas can hold on or Rubio can close the show. Both men are landing bombs as they trade in the center of the ring. Rubio lands a pair of mean lefts with a minute to go. Ornelas is hanging in there and still throwing despite fighting with two swollen eyes. They fight until the final bell and it will go to the scorecards.

The judges score it 115-113 Ornelas, 115-113 Rubio and 116-112 Rubio, giving Marco Antonio Rubio the win by split decision. That was a good fight between two skilled boxers, though neither look like a huge threat to Pavlik should he choose to face them.

Lampley talks to Roy Jones about 24/7 and the Calzaghe fight. Roy seems very excited about both the show and his upcoming fight, saying that he needs to find a way to stop Joe from throwing so many punches. He also says Pavlik needs to win decisively tonight or he will have trouble winning on the scorecards.

Wrapping up the undercard is L.A.'s Steven Luevano versus Aussie Billy Dib. This is a featherweight title fight scheduled for 12 rounds. Dib is 21-0 with 11 KO's, while Luevano is 35-1 with 15 KO's.

Dib is listed as a southpaw but comes out in a conventional stance. Both men are counter-punchers by nature, and though they flash quick hands when they throw, there isn't much leather traded in the first round.

The announcers talk at length about how Dib is a big admirer of Prince Naseem Hamed, and though he fights with the same unorthodox style, he doesn't seem to have Hamed's power. Through three rounds, the fight hasn't become any more interesting.

Hopkins tells Larry Merchant that he feels he still has the same kind of effort in him that he showed a few years ago when he dominated Antonio Tarver. When asked if he's willing to take risks to win this fight, B-Hop says he is and will probably have to in order to come out on top.

In the fifth round, Luevano finds himself halfway through the ropes when Dib dodges out of the way, and Billy takes a free shot at him. The ref says, "Fight fair Billy. Fight Fair." Dib goes down about a minute into the sixth round, but it was clearly a trip/slip and the ref sees it that way too. Unless something dramatic happens out of nowhere, this is going to be a long 25 minutes or so until this one is over.

Pavlik tells Merchant he's prepared for 12 rounds, even if Hopkins comes out at a faster pace than usual. He doesn't want there to be any controversy, so he feels like he needs to beat Hopkins convincingly.

Meanwhile, Luevano turns more aggressive in the eighth round, pushing Dib off of him and smacking him with short punches. He doesn't seem to be in any danger from Dib's return fire, so this strategy seems pretty wise. The closing seconds of round nine feature the closest thing the fight has seen to a serious exchange.

Dib gets smacked with some good shots to open the tenth, forcing him to literally run across the ring to avoid going down. After eleven, I'm thinking Dib's only chance is to score a knockout, and he doesn't seem to have the power to pull that off.

Mercifully, this fight winds down. The judges score it 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 for Luevano, which was a lot more generous to Dib than I expected.

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