There's been a lot of talk that Sergio Martinez will beat Kelly Pavlik on April 17th. The theory is the Martinez has the same kind of movement that Bernard used to render Kelly so helpless. This theory is insulting to both Pavlik and Hopkins, and focuses on the least important aspect of the movement that Hopkins used last October.
Will Martinez want to constantly move to his right away from Kelly's right? Better believe it. He'll plan on leaning right like a Fox newscast. But fighters scrap game plans after a round or two, or moment or two as often as Peyton Manning scraps a play at the line of scrimmage, but with far less effectiveness.
Bernard is Bernard because he has shown in so many fights that he is disciplined enough to stick to the most regimented game plan. Hence the leather mask and ensemble he wears to the ring. (You can go two ways with that one, he likes being "disciplined" or excellent at "execution"). And what makes him Bernard "F'N" Hopkins to so many, is his ability to make the slightest or grandest change subtlety or demonstratively if the game plan is off.
Yet, the most important part of that stunning upset was not that Bernard wouldn't stand in front of him. It was that when he did, he backed Kelly up like Pavlik was in the French Military. And he did it all night.
You can count the number of times on one-hand that Kelly was even able to set that front foot down. But that was at 170 against a guy who's gone as high as light heavy. More than speed, Pavlik got muscled in that tussle.
It's obvious that at sometime at ring side or tape front, a conversation must have happened amongst Bernard's camp asking, has anybody backed this jackhammer up? Does this kid know how to fight backing up? At 170 plus, Bernard can back him up. We get him there, and Bernard will just gobble him. And he did.
Going forward Kelly is one of very top fighters in the world. Going backwards Kelly won't hold his belt, but at 160, who is going to back him up? Martinez, who is coming up from 154? Not a chance. Kelly's going to be moving forward like, well, like a Kelly Pavlik fighting at middleweight.
Will Martinez's movement give Kelly trouble? He gave Paul Williams a heap of trouble, but it was not due to his movement. When perpetual motion would have most likely been a high priority for team Martinez, he was very easy to find all night, willingly and effectively exchanging.
Was their game plan to use movement? Only the camp knows for sure, but it would have seemed to make sense. Was Martinez just unable to follow the strategy?
If Martinez is as easy to find for Kelly, the fight won't go past 6 or 7. Pavlik is a bigger puncher with a better chin than Williams. Paul sometimes backs straight up with his chin up and eyes down instead of sliding off to the side with his chin down and eyes up. The only time Kelly's ever left his chin up and out, was to taunt Jermain Taylor and he got dealt and knelt for it, so it's unlikely to happen again.
This is going to be an exciting fight. Martinez is very good and could be the top Jr. Middleweight out there. But it is just as likely that a few Jr. Middles would beat him. Martinez battled Kermit Citron to a very active draw, but ultimately did not leave with the W. And Citron is not in the same class as Pavlik (weight or talent).
Can Martinez move? Sure. Will he, or will he be able to? It's doubtful. Pavlik is more likely to put such pressure on Martinez that he runs him right out of the ring. The fight will end early in the seventh with Martinez going out swinging, but Pavlik going home still unbeaten at middleweight.