Kelly Pavlik won pretty easily in tonight's ESPN Friday Night Fights main event, beating up on Virginia club fighter Scott Sigmon over seven rounds before referee Jay Nady mercifully stopped the fight, with Sigmon's face covered in blood as the bout became more and more of a one-way exhibition than a meaningful prizefight.
Though Pavlik (39-2, 34 KO) didn't shine in the bout, there were some positives. First of all, he got some rounds in, and right now, Pavlik could use the workout. Since May 2011, he'd fought just two rounds with Aaron Jaco, and even that 2011 bout with Alfonso Lopez was so flat that it could hardly be considered valuable for him.
Getting in seven rounds of active work tonight is good. Whether or not Pavlik intended to do that is another story. The ESPN team ran an angle where perhaps Pavlik was (as Nick Foxx put it in our live thread) gaining sadistic pleasure by slowly torturing Sigmon (22-4, 12 KO), as he had said before the fight he wanted to beat him up, after they'd had some kind of spat on the internet.
I can also say I thought Kelly looked better in close than he has in past fights. But that said, the reality is this was a weak opponent. Sigmon was all balls in there, and took a beating that would have made a lot of fighters go down and call it off well before this one was stopped. He had a ton of heart and grit, and was tougher than all hell. But he was outsized, outmuscled, outgunned -- outeverythinged, really. He stood no chance.
If Pavlik, now 30, is looking to get back to that world class level, there's a lot of work left to do in Oxnard. ESPN's Teddy Atlas suggested taking him off TV, getting him a couple more building fights, and letting him work out the kinks without the cameras. I don't think it's a bad idea, but modern reality is that Pavlik's fights will be televised somewhere. So we'll see every step of this comeback bid.
Time is on his side if he's patient. He'll have to take flak for that, but it just might be the right career move. Come back slow and get it back as it comes. Don't force it.
Here's all Scott Sigmon had to say on Twitter after the fight:
Thanks to my fans,my haters,and especially Kelly Pavlik for the opportunity. @PavlikKelly— Scott Cujo Sigmon (@ScottCujoSigmon) June 9, 2012
Jessie Magdaleno improved to 10-0 (7 KO) with a first round stoppage of Carlos Valcarcel (12-5-4, 5 KO). It was a very quick hook, as Valcarcel had gone down but came back up, and wasn't taking any real punishment when the reliable Tony Weeks stepped in. Perhaps Weeks had to use the facilities. Either way, I doubt it was going to get better for Valcarcel, who has dropped three straight.
In the televised opener, Mike Lee ran his Charmin soft record up to 9-0 (5 KO) with a six-round decision win over a chubby guy who fought on five days' notice. That guy's name was Eliseo Durazo (4-3, 1 KO), who has also now lost three in a row. Lee has a rabid section of fans that don't really seem to care about boxing, but do like to shout and chant and root for their bro.
Listen, I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I've got no problem with Mike Lee. He's doing what he wants to do, and whatever. This totally hype-led promotional stuff happens. But I believe he has absolutely no legitimate future in the ring, not at anything beyond the middle level of the sport, and that might be reaching.
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I just don't see anything in Lee's arsenal that makes me think this is a real boxing prospect. He fights guys one can barely consider "professional fighters" and seems to make no noticeable improvements from fight to fight. Most terrifying for his career prospects would be that he fights these guys and never looks remarkably better than any of them.
People say, "Well, he sells tickets." That will end, though. That will end as soon as he has to fight someone who can fight, because unless he dramatically improves, that's not going to end well for him. I am no more impressed by Mike Lee in the ring than I am by Kimbo Slice: "Professional Boxer."
Lee is a hard-working guy who is trying his very best. He's got a legit trainer and by all accounts busts his ass to get better. I just don't think it's there. He's not a legit prospect. That's my honest opinion as an observer, and is nothing to do with "hating" him or anything like that. I've always said I bet his boxing future is on the business side of things. I still feel that way. If he proves me wrong, I'll be the first to admit it, but that'll be a long time off, if it happens.