Pavlik's potential opponents down to four

WBO super middleweight titlist Karoly Balzsay may be the darkhorse to land an October 3 fight with world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. Winky Wright, Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez are also being considered. (via www.boxing.de)

Kelly Pavlik's been getting plenty of press lately, and here's some more:

Kelly Pavlik's handlers inched closer to his next fight this week, narrowing the list of possible opponents to four: WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm, WBC junior middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, former junior middleweight champion Winky Wright and WBO super middleweight champion Karoly Balzsay.

Balzsay would take place at 168, obviously, while the other three would be 160-pound championship fights. Bob Arum has said that October 3 is his date for Kelly Pavlik and that the fight will take place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, where Kelly has developed a good traveling show following.

I think I'd say my preferences are, in order:

  1. Winky Wright: Hey, he's aging and hasn't fought much lately, but I still think he's one of Pavlik's best tests. It could also be one final major test for Winky. If Pavlik won, it's a good win. I don't think Wink is washed up just yet. And Wright is absolutely the biggest name here, which Pavlik's career could desperately use.
  2. Sergio Martinez: Martinez and Pavlik both deserve a good fight and could provide each other with one. It's a really tricky style matchup for both. Martinez takes a good shot, but Pavlik can really rip that 1-2 when he's locked in. Martinez's craftiness and southpaw stance could be real trouble for Kelly. It's a really interesting fight, I think.
  3. Karoly Balzsay: I know it might seem kind of contradictory of me to say that Pavlik needs to go to 168 and then put the one potential 168-pound fight third on my list of four here, but as much as I have nothing against Balzsay and absolutely wouldn't mind Balzsay-Pavlik, the other two fights seem better to me for the time being. I think Kelly could probably do better business at 168, but Balzsay isn't going to get any more American TV money than Wright or even Martinez, both of whom have been featured on HBO in the past.
  4. Felix Sturm: I'd take it. I think Pavlik would stop him eventually. On Sturm's good days, he is a good fighter. I was probably overly harsh the other day when talking about him. I truly feel Gevor beat Sturm. Still, I'd take this one. In short, I don't think there's a bad fight among the four they're discussing. Good work, Bob.

I also wouldn't rule out Sergio Mora and his team trying to make a legal matter of Pavlik not fighting Mora. That fight was scheduled for June 27 and canceled, which Mora said last night on Friday Night Fights was due to "a bogus staph infection." Pavlik himself has even said he did have a staph infection, but could have fought. Mora said the deal was concrete and requires Pavlik to fight him, and that he wasn't going to let it go. So we'll see.

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