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Pavlik-Sturm lowball not surprising

Felix Sturm may not get the chance to fight middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik in October after HBO showed reserved interest in the fight. (via <a href=""></a>)
Felix Sturm may not get the chance to fight middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik in October after HBO showed reserved interest in the fight. (via

Rick Reeno of reports that HBO has offered a "lowball" amount of $2 million for a potential October 3 fight between middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and titlist Felix Sturm, citing the $3.5 million that they paid for Dawson-Tarver II.

I think Rick's comments on HBO being more a promoter than a network and holding promoters and fighters in the palms of their hands are spot-on, and that there are occasions where it would help if that were not the case, but it also does not surprise me that Pavlik-Sturm is not the hot commodity Bob Arum might have wanted it to be.

I like Kelly Pavlik a lot. He's one of my favorite fighters to watch. But you have to look at the facts: Since beating Jermain Taylor in 2007, he hasn't exactly performed from the business side and become the superstar Arum and Top Rank hoped he would. His pay-per-view rematch with Taylor was a disappointment, his fight with Gary Lockett drew awful ratings and press, and his bashing at the hands of Bernard Hopkins underperformed terribly on pay-per-view, too. Since then, he's fought Marco Antonio Rubio on Top Rank PPV, which was watched essentially only by the diehards. Whatever momentum he had as an attraction, he has lost.

Add in that Sturm's only real U.S. exposure was his controversial loss to Oscar de la Hoya years ago, and you have a fight that might not do so well ratings-wise and really might not be worth the money they want. The trouble with HBO's low offer is that someone has to pay the fighters, and without a better money deal from the network (Showtime is unlikely to be able to offer anything better), that'll be hard to do. Pavlik is the world middleweight champion, he demands a good purse. Same goes for Sturm, who can make great money fighting lesser competition in Germany. It's about results versus price; at $2 million, HBO wouldn't actively lose money for a fight that probably won't be a big hit, even if you can argue it should be. Sadly, Sturm isn't much bigger an attraction than was Lockett.

I do hope this fight will be made. Arthur Abraham is simply not available for a Pavlik fight this year, as he has Giovanni Lorenzo lined up as a mandatory challenger. And past Abraham, Sturm is the only good opponent at middleweight for Pavlik. Hopefully, even if it has to go to Top Rank PPV, this fight will come off.

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