When Brandon Rios dropped out due to injury, HBO and Top Rank needed a new co-feature for their July 7 show at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and they quickly tabbed former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik for the spot, and then signed up opponent Will Rosinsky, a New York fighter still more prospect than contender, who was last seen by most losing a competitive fight (not that it was scored that way) to Edwin Rodriguez last October on ShoBox.
Nonito Donaire will headline in a 122-pound unification bout against Jeffrey Mathebula.
Rosinsky (16-1, 9 KO) is looking at this as an opportunity, and tells David P. Greisman at BoxingScene.com that he feels he's catching Pavlik at a good time, and that he feels he can surprise a lot of people and win this fight. He said he saw Pavlik's last fight -- a rather routine beatdown of club fighter Scott Sigmon on June 8 -- and told his management he could beat that guy.
"I just saw that he wasn’t as active. His punches didn’t look as effective as they did when I was watching him a couple of years back. It could be a mixture of things. I can’t say age, because he’s only 30 years old — but it could be just the fact that he’s been pro for 12 years. And I think he’s burnt out."
... "It’s not only him. I still think Kelly Pavlik is a great fighter. I would never take nothing away from him. But I think it’s also me. I feel I’m ready to take that step up to fight a guy like that.
Pavlik (39-2, 34 KO) really didn't look particularly sharp to me, but he's in the process of putting it back together, and he was in with a guy who, while very tough and ballsy, just posed absolutely no threat to him whatsoever, just like Pavlik's first fight under Robert Garcia, a two-round win over Aaron Jaco on March 31.
I don't think Pavlik will go as easy on a guy like Rosinsky, who can box, and is definitely a notable step up over the likes of Sigmon and Jaco. Kelly Pavlik is probably not 100% "back" yet, but he's definitely not shown 100% in his pair of 2012 fights, and he hasn't had to. They were like extra training camp for him more than anything.
Rosinsky is a solid step up here, and while I could certainly see complaints about this being an HBO co-feature, that's just kind of how it happened. It wasn't like they brought this to HBO. It's a replacement fight that couldn't have been better on a month's notice.
That said, my gut feeling is Rosinsky won't give Pavlik any serious worries in this fight, and truthfully, if he does, I'd say the "Pavlik never becomes a top contender again" line of thought should be more of a serious consideration for everyone. He doesn't have to look great or knock this guy out in five rounds or anything like that, but if Rosinsky is able to trouble him seriously, then there should be some worry for Team Pavlik. And if I'm wrong and Kelly really can't do a lot better than he did against Sigmon, Rosinsky could be more of a live dog here than I'm expecting.
You gotta love both these guys getting back in the ring this quickly, too. Pavlik fought on June 8, and Rosinsky beat Aaron Pryor Jr over eight rounds on June 14. They're both getting an opportunity here with HBO exposure, and are rolling the dice on it.