Pavlik-Williams Off Again... This Time for Good?

Though I've made jokes in this space a couple of times about not getting myself too excited about the Kelly Pavlik-Paul Williams fight that was supposed to take place on the first Saturday of December, I really thought it was going to happen. Maybe that was wishful thinking on my part, since Atlantic City is within reasonable driving distance of BoxingWatchers HQ, and I may have been able to attend the fight in person.

Of course the fight has now been called off again, because the staph infection in Pavlik's left hand has still not healed. Williams will still fight someone on HBO, possibly paired with a second fight from another location.

But will Williams ever fight Pavlik? ESPN's Dan Rafael says no. He goes on to say that Pavlik hasn't been completely healthy since before the Bernard Hopkins fight, and even though it was a tough decision, his team made the right call pulling him out.

Maybe so, but personally, I think his team's decision-making has been questionable since right after his second win against Jermain Taylor in February of 2008. Pavlik was a rising crossover star with seemingly nothing but good things in front of him.

Since then, he's had one joke of a middleweight title defense, another questionable one and was soundly outclassed by Hopkins. The infection can't be blamed on the boxer or his team - though promoter Bob Arum suggested the first time the Williams fight was postponed that Kelly wasn't making all of his doctors' appointments - but when he finally returns to the ring, he will be coming off of well over a year of inactivity and who knows how many missed opportunities.

For someone who fights a crowd-pleasing style and had such a good thing going with his "Pride of Youngstown" blue-collar back story, Pavlik has managed to turn into something of an enigma. It's hard to tell at this point whether his career has been waylaid more by bad choices or bad luck, but it's pretty astounding that it's gotten to this point less than two years after it was flying high.

Posted by The Franchise

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