You've probably all seen it by now, so let's just present the quick facts as reported by Dan Rafael:
- Kelly Pavlik will most likely defend his middleweight championship against Sergio Mora this summer
- The fight will be on PPV, as HBO and Showtime both passed
- It will be another split-site show, with Pavlik-Mora in Atlantic City and the rest of the card in Mexico
- Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. will be featured on the Mexico portion
- Arum is considering putting Antonio Margarito on the card as well
- The possible dates are June 20, July 18 and July 25
The deal has already been reached with Mora and Tournament of Contenders promoter Jeff Wald, and the Pavlik side will hammer it out soon, according to his manager Cameron Dunkin.
This is a really horribly unappealing fight, especially considering Bob wil try to sell it for $45 again. He knows Pavlik-Mora stinks, so he's going to try to bleed the Mexican market with Chavez and maybe Margarito to bump the sales of this one up. Apparently Showtime was interested only in a Pavlik defense against Vernon Forrest, which fell through when the Forrest camp wanted more money than originally agreed upon in a typical "we don't really want this fight" move. HBO passed on "other opponents" as well as Mora.
This is not surprising, though. HBO is sticking to their guns about quality fights, and Pavlik-Mora just isn't an interesting fight. It's also not really anyone's fault. This is about as big of a fight you can make for Kelly Pavlik right now. Arthur Abraham and Felix Sturm are just not financially logical right now. In a bad economy, you can't try to sell guys who have minimal names in the States when they DO demand a solid pricetag because they can make a ton of money in Germany without Pavlik against the likes of Lajuan Simon and Koji Sato.
It's a really shallow division. If you take Abraham and Sturm out of the equation, there's really nobody any more qualified than Sergio Mora. Pavlik's middleweight championship reign may turn out to be largely uneventful. We've seen Gary Lockett, who had no business in there, and Marco Antonio Rubio, who was a legit top ten contender that got run over because Pavlik's just way better than him.
I think the initial reaction to this might be that the fight stinks but that Mora's style could give Pavlik trouble. It won't. Mora is not the slickster he postures as. He's not that cute and he's not that effective defensively. He doesn't punch worth a damn and Pavlik is going to come at him all night. Sergio's really better off at 154 pounds, but of course he should take a fight with Pavlik at 160. It's by far his best money opportunity unless he were to fight Oscar de la Hoya. That he is taking it is a bit surprising given his past bonehead decisions.
I'm sure Arum will put Chavez in against someone that presents no real threat to him, and if he gets the feelers out and discovers that Margarito being included won't disgust quite enough people, he'll put him out there against Baldomir or somebody.
In all honesty, Pavlik has to fight and Arum is making a pretty sound business decision to target the Mexican demographic since he's relegated to PPV. I have no doubt Bob doesn't really want this fight on PPV, because the more Kelly fights off the networks, the more casual fans start wondering what he's been up to. But he can't sell Pavlik-Mora. I don't think anyone could have.