Top Rank's last-ditch effort to create a buzz for a fight between middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik and super middleweight titlist Carl Froch for October 3 appears to be over. As many of us expected, nothing will come of it as Froch is committed to the Showtime super middleweight tournament beginning in October and November, and Pavlik's other strong potential opponent, Arthur Abraham, is moving up to participate in the six-man tourney as well.
That leaves Pavlik with an open date and few viable candidates. Felix Sturm escaped with his WBA middleweight title in Germany, robbing poor Khoren Gevor yesterday, and HBO's "low-ball" $2 million offer for that fight is nowhere near enough money to get it done, so that's probably right out the window.
Now, Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com is reporting that Top Rank and Lou DiBella are exploring a potential fight between Pavlik and 154-pound titlist Sergio Martinez. DiBella says Martinez is interested, which has to be in part because there are so few opponents at 154. With HBO relatively high on Martinez and Arum needing a dance partner for Pavlik that won't land him on another Top Rank-produced PPV, this sounds like a good idea.
And it's an intriguing fight, too. Martinez (44-1-2, 24 KO) was robbed of a win over Kermit Cintron when the fight was inexplicably scored a draw in February, and though Cintron impressively came back to upset Alfredo Angulo a few months later, HBO is not terribly interested in a Martinez-Cintron rematch. With James Kirkland in jail, Vernon Forrest unwilling to get near a ring that has Martinez in it, and Paul Williams looking to fight Sergei Dzinziruk at last report, there's really nothing else at 154 that would seem too attractive.
Martinez, a slick southpaw, does have the body to move up to 160. At 5'11", he'd be on the smaller side, but he has a 76" reach and a style that could help him make up for what he lacks in pure height. Pavlik would have a height and power advantage, but he'd also have to deal with a crafty fighter who punches better than his KO rate might suggest, and could give Pavlik all kinds of stylistic nightmares.
Frankly, consider me 100% in for this idea. Both guys need and deserve a good fight, and it's dangerous for both. Pavlik would be risking a lot here. He's the bigger name and I'm not sure he's got the style to handle Martinez, yet at the same time Kelly's a hell of a puncher and pretty good fighter in his own right. It also has a potential style clash written all over it, but you buys your ticket and takes your chance.