Source: The Vindicator
Dan Birmingham, the trainer of Winky Wright, has called out Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to try and make the much-discussed fight between middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and Wright before the end of 2008. Pavlik is currently set to face mandatory challenger Gary Lockett of Wales on June 7, a fight that is exciting to few besides Lockett.
From the article:
"These guys are all `B' fighters," Birmingham said of the latest lineup of potential opponents, such as Giovanni Lorenzo and Marco Antonio Rubio.
Gary Lockett will fight Pavlik this June.
"The fight people want to see Winky," Birmingham said. "In the forums, especially eastsideboxing.com, the fans want to see Pavlik in a real fight and Winky's name was mentioned most of the time.
"I believe HBO will eventually force him to fight Winky -- after all they are the real promoter," said Birmingham speaking by telephone from St. Petersburg, Fla. "It shows how afraid Arum is of Wink, when he doesn't mention his name."
"Arum is trying to give Kelly a soft defense, which is okay," Birmingham said. "But, by not mentioning his [Wright's] name, Arum is showing how scared he is of Winky.
"Kelly and [trainer] Jack [Loew] both say they want this fight. They both know that in order to be called the best, you have to fight and beat the best."
The only thing that Birmingham doesn't acknowledge is that Lockett is a mandatory, and thus Pavlik has little choice but to fight him, either on June 7 or immediately following that. After three straight big fights, Kelly Pavlik doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. He's demolished a demolition man in Edison Miranda, outslugged Jermain Taylor on a night where Taylor wanted to slug, and then beat Taylor in a good, close, well-fought boxing match the second time around. Even if I think Taylor won that fight (which I still do), Pavlik was always right there with him and showed that he's more than a big, strong kid with a heavy right hand. He can box.
The Lockett fight is not one that anybody is clamoring to see, but since fighters still believe in sanctioning body title belts, it's one that has to happen. Lockett being a mandatory challenger is ridiculous and I'd be all in favor of fighters handing these useless trinkets over to carry around the Ring Magazine strap, but that's not going to happen any time soon. The more belts you make, the more times someone gets to say they're staging The World Championship Fight every year, even if it's something like Ruslan Chagaev v. Matt Skelton, Edwin Valero v. WHO?, or Cristian Mijares v. Franck Gorjux.
I also don't think it'll take HBO forcing anybody's hand. Bob Arum and Winky Wright aren't exactly pals, but Arum has to realize as a businessman that the biggest money fight at 160 for his guy is against Wright. It'll happen.