The highly-anticipated middleweight championship showdown between Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams will have to wait. ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reports that a staph infection in Pavlik's knuckle will take weeks to heal, and that the October 3 date for the bout will need to be pushed back.
And from the sound of things, Pavlik has nobody to blame but himself.
Pavlik co-manager Cameron Dunkin, who flew to New York on Monday morning, was headed to Pavlik's hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, Monday afternoon to meet with Pavlik and his team.
"His knuckle is infected," Dunkin told ESPN.com just before boarding his flight. "It's all infected. It's worse than it was. He has to go on an IV drip starting in the morning and do it for the next couple of weeks to get it cleaned out. It needs medical attention. He can't put a glove on."
Dunkin said the issue has given Pavlik (35-1, 31 KOs) problems for the past "five or six months." He said Pavlik had stitches removed a few days ago and was due to see his doctor on Monday afternoon to be cleared before flying to New York for the news conference.
"Instead, he goes in there and it's worse," Dunkin said. "The kid missed three doctor's appointments and when he showed up it was worse. I'm going there to get this all straightened out, meet with [trainer] Jack [Loew], his father [co-manager Mike Pavlik] and to talk to the doctor. This should have been healed a week ago."
Bob Arum does not sound pleased:
Top Rank chief Bob Arum was on his way to the airport in Las Vegas when he got a call from Dunkin telling him the fight had to be postponed.
"According to the doctor, Kelly hasn't been making his appointments. So what do you want me to do," Arum said. "They tell me it will heal and he'll be cleared in the next few weeks. It is what it is. What am I supposed to do? I have absolutely no emotion."
Pavlik, you may recall, had a June fight with Sergio Mora postponed and then canceled, which Top Rank blamed on a staph infection. Pavlik and his team have disputed that claim, as did Mora. Pavlik and the promotional company were in a contract dispute at the time. Pavlik extended his deal with Arum shortly after.
This sounds like an issue that should have been resolved months ago. If Dunkin is saying it's been five-to-six months, that's kind of ridiculous and negligent on Pavlik's part. It's a real injury and a setback, but it shouldn't have been this big of a deal. There's no way it should have interfered with two fights.
It's disappointing news to say the least. Pavlik-Williams is a fight fan's fight, dangerous on both sides and genuinely hard to predict. HBO and Top Rank say they'll be good to go on November 21, but Paul Williams' promoter Dan Goossen has not agreed to do that just yet. Goossen is promoting a bout that night between Andre Ward and Mikkel Kessler as part of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
Let's just hope they get Pavlik-Williams done and set before the calendar turns to 2010.