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Pavlik-Hopkins: "It's happening," says Arum

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

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Source: Dan Rafael

From the Dan Rafael story at

Unable to secure a meaningful opponent to wage a middleweight championship defense against in the fall, Kelly Pavlik will move up in weight and face former light heavyweight champion and middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told Thursday.

Arum said he and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer struck a deal Thursday for the nontitle fight, which will take place Oct. 18 on HBO PPV at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Pavlik, 26, will move up 10 pounds and face Hopkins at 170 pounds, five under the light heavyweight limit, Arum said.

"There's a deal, but there are a few details to be tied up," Arum said. "But the fight is happening."

Well, that seems to be that. The fight will have a 50-50 revenue split, Jack Loew is saying all the nice things ("Bernard's great, this is an honor," etc.), and Arum is even admitting this isn't exactly what they wanted, but there's just nothing else out there.

Let's kind of point-counterpoint a good-bad list for this fight.

Good: This moves Mosley-Mayorga from PPV to regular HBO, and changes its date to Sept. 27. After two straight PPV weekends, it'll feel nice to not pay 50 bucks to watch Mosley wreck up Mayorga without breaking a sweat. Seriously, they thought they were going to charge us cash for this mismatch.

Bad: Seriously, they're charging us cash for a Bernard Hopkins fight. What is the last Bernard Hopkins fight that you wouldn't have minded paying money for? Hopkins-Tito? If you had paid 50 bucks for his April fight with Joe Calzaghe, wouldn't you have been disgusted with yourself? Bernard is great. He's also a butt fugly fighter with a dreadfully dull style.

Good: More attention for the 26-year old Pavlik, arguably the greatest hope for American boxing to achieve a new mainstream sort of star with the likes of Oscar and Floyd moving on. It is a major fight, perhaps the biggest of his career.

Bad: There's a real good chance Bernard Hopkins puts a dent in Pavlik's record. B-Hop can beat anyone. He won't knock Pavlik out, but as good of a puncher as Kelly is, I don't think he's knocking Bernard out, either. That means 12 rounds, and any Bernard Hopkins fight that goes 12 rounds can be won by Bernard Hopkins.

Good: The fight being made is a decent sign that we aren't yet going to enter another Top Rank-Golden Boy Cold War, as some had feared lately.

Bad: This is the best fight we get out of the Top Rank-Golden Boy ceasefire this year? Past Pacquiao-Marquez II, anyway.

Let's think about this fight, too. 43-year old Bernard Hopkins against 26-year old Kelly Pavlik.

The best thing that can happen -- for Pavlik, for boxing, for the fans -- is Kelly Pavlik knocking Hopkins out and sending him into retirement. As a fan, I don't hate Bernard Hopkins. I have the utmost respect for his talent, for his career, and for his toughness.

But it's guys like the 43-year old Hopkins that have been construction workers on the road that has led this sport to where it is. For years now, Bernard has maintained his status as an excellent fighter, a Hall of Famer-to-be, and a shrewd businessman. He's also rarely been worth the money or even time it took to watch his fights.

Bernard, because of the way he fights, is one of those guys I would never suggest a casual fan or slightly interested observer watch. And I'm not someone that thinks only slugfests or brawls are good for those fans. I've had people watch Mayweather and they're amazed by his pure speed and the way he moves. So it's not that. It's that what Bernard does isn't obvious. And it's certainly not exciting.

With the way Hopkins tired against Calzaghe, huffing and puffing his way through the last four rounds or so, it might be in Pavlik's best interest to come out and fight Bernard fairly hard for a while, and then turn up the heat and test what the old man has left in his legs and lungs. I'm betting -- because he's 43 years old -- that it's not enough.

But you know what will matter to Bernard? This fight is more money for the bank account. Once again, he's landed the big fight. Whether the paying public is interested will be another story.

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