Rick Reeno of BoxingsScene.com has learned that the long-desired, long-awaited middleweight showdown between lineal champion Kelly Pavlik and unbeaten IBF titleholder Arthur Abraham may finally come to pass in early 2010, provided both win fights later this year.
Abraham (29-0, 23 KO) has an optional defense on June 27 against Mahir Oral, in which he is heavily favored. If/when he wins, the plan is to get his mandatory fight with Giovanni Lorenzo out of the way in September. The Abraham team tried to do the Lorenzo bout on the June date, but say that Main Events (Lorenzo's promoters) asked for too much money. Reeno says the figure he heard was $400,000.
Pavlik (35-1, 31 KO) was scheduled to fight Sergio Mora on June 27 in the States, but was pulled out because of an injury he says he was willing to fight through. Top Rank has said they hope to have Pavlik return in September, probably still against Mora.
This is a fight worth really big money to German TV and I'd guess pretty damn good money to HBO considering what they paid for Dawson-Tarver II, and a source said much of it depends on both still having their titles. Every boxing fan worth their salt knows this is the fight at middleweight. If they both took an actual dump on their trinket belts, it's still for the middleweight championship of the world, a fight between the two best middleweights in the sport.
But Reeno also notes that both fighters see the potential clash as their last bout at 160 pounds. Both Pavlik and Abraham have had designs on moving up in weight, as they have struggled greatly to stay at the limit in recent fights. In that regard, it is important that both can make 160 and not go up to 168 or a catchweight together. If you can't call it the fight for the world's middleweight championship, some of the luster is lost.
Even if both really do move out of 160 whether they win, lose or draw, this is one of those few fights that just has to happen. The air isn't really clear at 160. Pavlik is the champ, but there's a guy in Germany who has had some American TV exposure that has been just as impressive, if not moreso in the eyes of many.
I also worry that should Top Rank go ahead with Pavlik-Mora, the whole thing could be spoiled. Pavlik would be a big favorite, but on the right nights Mora is a round-stealing, genuine snake of a fighter, and I mean that in the nicest way. He's got a style that if executed properly could give Pavlik all sorts of hell. If Mora were to beat Pavlik, both Pavlik and Abraham would probably just move to 168 and see what fights they could make there, and we'd lose what could be a hell of a battle.
But it is good to know that the folks who would be making this fight know that this is the fight to make, and are at the least paying it some good lip service.