Pavlik denying Williams, boxing fans

August, 20, 2009
8/20/09
3:28
PM ET
Your weekly random thoughts. …

This whole Kelly Pavlik-Paul Williams postponement/cancellation is a mess. I just hope the fight comes off this fall, even if it looks a little shaky.

After a long, tough negotiation, one of the year's great fights was supposed to be announced at a formal news conference Tuesday afternoon in New York. Pavlik's manager, Cameron Dunkin, and much of Top Rank's staff were already there awaiting the arrival of Pavlik and the Williams camp.

Then, on Monday afternoon came word that the bout was postponed, according to Top Rank. Promoter Bob Arum and Dunkin said Pavlik had a staph infection on a knuckle on his left hand (something he supposedly has been dealing with for months) and that the bout would be delayed. At first, Top Rank announced it would be pushed back to Nov. 21 (a date it had cleared with HBO and the venue, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.). Then it was amended to Nov. 21 or a date in early December.

On the other side, Dan Goossen, Williams' promoter, who was not too pleased. The first he heard about the Nov. 21 date was from a reporter. It sounded fishy because anyone who glances at the boxing schedule -- I keep a very detailed one for ESPN.com -- would know that Goossen is promoting the Mikkel Kessler-Andre Ward super middleweight title bout on Showtime on Nov. 21.



It's a major fight that is part of Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic. Obviously, Goossen isn't going to promote another major fight against himself. That would be bad business and damaging to Showtime, which is paying a lot of money to Goossen for Ward's next four fights -- one tuneup and a minimum of three tournament fights.

When I called Goossen to ask about his take on moving Pavlik-Williams to Nov. 21 or into December, he was noncommittal and kept referring to the fight being "canceled."

When I asked him about being amenable to Williams facing Pavlik in December, he was measured in his response.

"Paul last fought in April, and we all want him back in the ring in October because he can't just sit around. He needs to fight," Goossen said. "We have no problem fighting Kelly Pavlik. We never have. That's who we all wanted to fight, but it might have to wait until next year. Does it makes sense for us to say we'll do the fight in December when we don't know if Pavlik will show up and we don't know the extent of his problems?"

Arum, on the other hand, assured me it would all be worked out this week, though it's pretty clear Arum himself isn't pleased with Pavlik.

He and Dunkin both said Pavlik missed at least three doctor's appointments and that the fighter didn't finally see a physician until just hours before he was supposed to leave for New York. Why would a world champion with a multimillion-dollar fight in front of him miss three appointments to have his hand checked? Remember, Pavlik makes his multimillion-dollar living with his hands.

It seems like very odd behavior and, quite frankly, highly unprofessional.

It took a lot to get the sides to agree on the fight. It would be a shame to see it go down the drain.

• I hope all boxing fans keep Showtime broadcaster Nick Charles in their thoughts as he battles Stage IV bladder cancer. He's one of the truly nice guys in the business. About the only thing he loves more than boxing is his family.

• I find it sad that Chad Dawson and promoter Gary Shaw went out of their way to get the WBC to sanction Dawson's Nov. 7 rematch with Glen Johnson for an interim title, going so far as to travel to Mexico to kiss the ring of WBC president-for-life Jose Sulaiman. Dawson, after all, once threw his WBC title away because he was being forced into a mandatory defense against Adrian Diaconu instead of being allowed to take a more lucrative and much-higher profile fight against former champ Antonio Tarver.

And what do Dawson and Johnson need a low-rent interim belt for anyway? It won't make them more money -- the fight is already set to be televised on America's biggest boxing platform, HBO -- and in fact will only cost them more money in sanctioning fees. If either Dawson or Johnson wants the WBC title, he should fight its legitimate titleholder, Jean Pascal. Dawson-Johnson II may be a strong fight between two championship-level guys, but somebody else already has the belt. The WBC, of course, can always find a way around reality. It shouldn't have sanctioned the interim-title fight, but I have come to expect nothing from the WBC when it comes to rational thinking. For the WBC, it means an extra payday and that is all that matters.

• If you missed "Tyson" in theaters, the DVD was released Tuesday. If you are at all interested in Mike Tyson, it is a must-see documentary. Director James Toback, with full cooperation from Tyson, does a remarkable job of chronicling the youngest heavyweight champion's life and career, from Tyson's frank and often raw perspective. An often-emotional Tyson narrates the entire movie, which features a terrific soundtrack, fight highlights and Tyson discussing the good, the bad and the ugly.

• Oscar De La Hoya "fought" Shaquille O'Neal this week in Las Vegas for an episode (airing Sept. 8) of Shaq's new television series "Shaq Vs.," in which O'Neal -- who ingeniously called himself "Manny Shaquiao" -- competes against athletes in their own sport during his NBA offseason. They used 16-ounce gloves and wore headgear during a five-round bout that took place in a large 24x24 ring. Shaq, who is 7-foot-1, 320-plus pounds, was "trained" by Freddie Roach. De La Hoya, who is 5-10 and probably weighed around 160 pounds, had Bernard Hopkins in his corner. Although I saw some video of the match on the Internet, I have no idea how it turned out. But I'll say this: If De La Hoya won, I can hear him now saying that he felt refreshed and invigorated and that it made him decide to end his retirement.

• I know Jeff Lacy is a shell of what he once was, but am I wrong to have been at least a little impressed with the way Roy Jones took him apart the other night?

• I still have a bad taste in my mouth after watching last week's horrible mismatches on "Friday Night Fights." Golden Boy can do better and deserves the criticism it has received for putting on such a woeful card, one that looked terrible on paper and was worse in reality. But ESPN, which shouldn't have turned down a solid fight between Danny Garcia and Tim Coleman for the eight-round opening fight, also deserves some of the blame. The fans deserved better than the embarrassment of a card. At least FNF should finish on a high note Aug. 28, when two title bouts will be featured: Juan Urango defending his junior welterweight title against Randall Bailey and Tavoris Cloud facing Clinton Woods for a vacant light heavyweight trinket.

• As much as I like Paulie Malignaggi, I think he's in big trouble against Juan Diaz on Saturday night.

• Bernabe Concepcion's way-after-the-bell cheap shot against Steven Luevano was one of the most egregious fouls I have seen this side of a certain ear bite.

• David Haye sure has been quiet lately, hasn't he?

• Middleweight prospect Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (20-0, 15 KOs), who hasn't fought in 11 months, in part because of a hand injury, was due back in the ring Wednesday night in New York on a small card promoted by Winky Wright and Cedric Kushner. But Quillin hurt his hand sparring last week and the card was postponed until Sept. 30. I like Quillin as a prospect. You just have to hope that the injuries don't totally derail his career.

• Paging Guillermo Jones.

• DVD pick of the week: The official announcement this week that Michael Katsidis would face rising contender Vicente Escobedo on the televised undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez pay-per-view Sept. 19 got me in the mood to watch the always-crowd-pleasing Katsidis in action. So into the archive I went, back to March 22, 2008, when Katsidis challenged Joel Casamayor, then the reigning lineal lightweight champion. Although Katsidis lost via 10th-round TKO, it was one of the most exciting fights of the year as Casamayor scored two knockdowns in the first round and Katsidis scored a knockdown in the sixth round. Katsidis was ahead on two scorecards entering the 10th round, when Casamayor knocked him down again and then finished him in a sensational slugfest.

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