Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com reports that former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will indeed be featured on the Pacquiao-Margarito undercard on November 13 at Cowboys Stadium. Pavlik will face Haitian journeyman Daniel Edouard at a catchweight of 164 pounds. Pavlik's manager Cameron Dunkin confirmed the chatter to Mr. Reeno, and said he thinks it's a good fight (three times).
I think this is a fight that should be given just about as little respect as possible. Edouard, 29, is 23-3-2 (14 KO) for his career, but has never really beaten anyone worth mentioning. His best win is probably over a then-unbeaten Willie Gibbs back in 2004, and he's also undersized. Edouard has fought a bit of his career at 160 or slightly above, but has also fought plenty at 154. He's 5'10" compared to Pavlik, who is right around 6'2" or so. Edouard does have a long reach (74" to Pavlik's 75"), but he's just not a legitimate opponent, or even a sturdy bounce-back guy. This is pure tune-up material and Edouard shouldn't be expected to offer much, if any, resistance for "The Ghost."
Edouard's losses have come to Jermain Taylor (TKO-3), Eromosele Albert (TKO-7) and in his last fight, a SD-11 (yes, 11) to Alfonso Mosquera in July in Panama, which I would in fairness advise to take with a grain of salt considering the cards in that fight were 109-104, 108-104½ and 106-107½ for Mosquera.
Pavlik (36-2, 32 KO) lost his middleweight crown in April to Sergio Martinez in a good fight where he was simply out-boxed. I think perhaps too much has been made of that loss. Martinez is a good, crafty fighter, but Pavlik had his moments and fought through plenty of blood, too. Martinez is simply more skilled than Pavlik. The biggest question about Pavlik going forward is his mental state. I think we've seen what he has physically, and it's enough to be a top fighter, if not a great fighter. But is he still there mentally the way he was when he knocked off Jermain Taylor? I don't think we've seen a whole lot of that Kelly Pavlik since then, the Kelly Pavlik who climbed off the canvas, survived round two, went back to his corner and smiled, "I'm good." Through a series of too-easy opponents (Gary Lockett, Marco Antonio Rubio, Miguel Espino) and one truly humbling loss to an aged legend (Bernard Hopkins), Pavlik does seem to have lost some of the fire and resolve he used to have. He wasn't bad in the Martinez fight, but he was definitely frustrated and not that "go-get-'em" guy he was before.
But a fight with Edouard? If they want to probe his effectiveness over 160, which it seems is at least half the idea here, then why would you choose a guy like Edouard? If Pavlik has any trouble with Edouard, he's going to have some serious thinking to do. Most likely, though, he's going to steamroll through him without much trouble. Edouard is no more a challenge than Lockett, Rubio, Espino, Bronco McKart or a number of others that we already know Pavlik can easily handle. In the end, Top Rank may just be looking to get Pavlik a win on a high profile card and set up a money fight with one of the names at 168 (Lucian Bute and Pavlik are both without many options, and HBO has supported both) or back at 160 with Martinez or Paul Williams. This fight might just be a W on the board to everyone putting it together, a means to a next step, because right now it's not as if Pavlik is in high demand, and he does need to get back in the ring.