With Kelly Pavlik recently announcing his retirement, I thought I’d take the time to contemplate what the proposed fight between Pavlik and super middleweight champion Andre Ward would’ve meant to both parties.
The only aspect of this fight not happening that makes me happy is that Top Rank won’t get paid off in the Ward fight and won’t get their hands in the super middleweight division for the near future, that’s probably just me being a hater. Other than that, I’m really upset that this fight isn’t going to happen (for the time being).
First, I think this fight had potential to be an outstanding fight from a style perspective. Pavlik is a guy that won’t make it easy on his opponent and I really want to see Ward uncomfortable. I give credit to Ward because he’s been in difficult, borderline uncomfortable fights before, but not against a person with the capabilities of making a dog fight like Pavlik.
I believe that the guys Ward has fought have been too good for their own good, maybe that logic won’t make total sense, but I just think Pavlik is a much more efficient fighter when it comes to utilizing his ability naturally. He can be frustrating, but he knows himself well enough to not let himself get reckless and it would be on Ward to step up and make a fight or work around his style to find a way to outclass Pavlik, which I don’t think would happen.
For Ward, Pavlik was a rite of passage. Pavlik would’ve been arguably the most commercially recognizable fighter on Ward’s resume and that would’ve went a long way into making Ward a more transcending figure. Pavlik wouldn’t make Ward a household name and it isn’t Hulk Hogan vs. Andre “The Giant,” but he does give him some much needed street cred.
If Ward wants to transition into breakout star in America’s eyes then he needs fights like this, and there aren’t a whole lot of fighters with that status. Almost every other fighter possible for Ward is a much tougher fight than the namesake is worth. As of now, Ward is doing all the right things by commentating on HBO, stopping by to give analysis on ESPN, and the time he spent with Showtime wasn’t done in vain. He has a really strong presence and he adds a certain degree of wholesomeness to the brute nature of a rugged business. Even with his good guy persona, you get the sense of genuine authenticity because it isn’t corny to be nice if that’s who you are.
Bottom line, you make a name for yourself in this business by beating the cash cows, having memorable fights with A-side opponents, or being flamboyant outside the ring. No such cash cow exists for Ward to benefit from, the A-side guys are far and few between, and he’ll never be caught burning $100 bills at a night club. So in essence, Ward must take advantage of every opportunity that he comes across. Of course, it isn’t his fault that he got hurt, but what might it cost him?
I’m not convinced the fight won’t happen and I’m really unsure that we won’t ever see Pavlik in the ring again, but for the sake of boxing’s future let’s hope if he does comeback then it’s against Ward.