- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Super middleweights Kelly Pavlik and Will Rosinsky, fresh off victories, aren't going to enjoy them for long. They are headed right back to the gym to train after an unexpected fight against each other fell in their laps Friday.
After former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios suffered an elbow injury earlier in the week, he was forced to pull out of a junior welterweight bout against Mauricio Herrera, which was scheduled to open HBO's "Boxing After Dark" card on July 7 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
When the Rios-Herrera fight fell apart, promoter Top Rank and HBO needed to make a new fight quickly. So now it will be former middleweight champion Pavlik squaring off with Rosinsky in a scheduled 10-round bout at a maximum weight of 169 pounds, their promoters told ESPN.com. It will be the co-feature on the card headlined by the Nonito Donaire-Jeffrey Mathebula junior featherweight title unification bout.
It came together Friday when Top Rank officials and promoter Lou DiBella met in El Paso, Texas, where they are promoting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s middleweight title defense against Andy Lee, who is with DiBella, on Saturday night.
A brainstorming session between DiBella and members of the Top Rank staff led to the fight, which HBO quickly approved and both fighters accepted.
"We talked about various fights, and it just occurred to me," DiBella said. "(Top Rank's) Carl (Moretti) knew Rosinsky and said, 'Helluva fight, let's do it.' I think we have a great chance to win. Rosinsky is hungry and fresh and a tremendous action fighter. What I like about the fight is they are both action fighters."
Rosinsky (16-1, 9 KOs), a former standout amateur from Ozone Park, N.Y., won a unanimous decision against Aaron Pryor Jr. on Thursday night in New York. It was Rosinsky's second win in a row since he suffered his lone defeat, a nationally televised decision loss to highly regarded prospect Edwin Rodriguez. Although the judges had the fight a shutout in Rodriguez's favor, it was a competitive fight and many thought Rosinsky, 27, could have even deserved a draw.
"He's been aching for an opportunity and now he has this and he is thrilled," DiBella said of Rosinsky. "He believes he will go out there and win. And if he doesn't he will have given it everything he has trying."
Pavlik (39-2, 34 KOs) headlined ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" on June 8 and rolled to a bloody seventh-round knockout of Scott Sigmon in Las Vegas. It was Pavlik's second fight since ending a 10-month layoff in March but only his third since April 2010, when he lost the middleweight championship to Sergio Martinez, which was followed by out-of-the-ring troubles -- including a stint in alcohol rehab and a DUI arrest.
"I think because of Pavlik's performance on ESPN, the rating that was generated, the interest in the super middleweight division and Kelly's willingness to come right back combined with Rosinsky winning his second in a row since the decision to Edwin Rodriguez, it was just a natural step for everybody," Moretti said. "I think Kelly gets tested."
The original plan was for Pavlik to return in the fall in a much bigger fight. But when the Rosinsky fight was presented to him, he took it without hesitation, manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com.
"We're ready to go," said Dunkin, who also manages Rios. "Rosinsky is a tough guy, was great amateur and he's a big guy who makes good fights. He and Kelly just fought, so they're both in shape. I feel bad for Brandon, but I feel good for Kelly.
"It's a fight we didn't plan on but this gives us a bigger fight now instead of waiting for another fight until September. Kelly was very excited about it and jumped all over it. He said, 'I'm ready to go.' "
Dunkin said Pavlik, 30, of Youngstown, Ohio, immediately would return to Oxnard, Calif., to resume training with Robert Garcia.
"Kelly said he would get a flight and go right back. Love the attitude," Dunkin said. "Kelly and Mike [his father] were like, 'Let's go.' I like that Kelly got home and was willing to go right back to Robert in Oxnard. This whole thing is very positive."
Moretti said before the deal was made with Rosinsky, he made calls to see about the availability of top British super middleweights George Groves and James DeGale but that they were not available or interested in facing Pavlik on short notice.
Super middleweights Kelly Pavlik and Will Rosinsky, fresh off victories, are headed right back to the gym to train after an unexpected fight against each other fell in their lap on Friday.