Pavlik could get shot at WBO title with win

Kelly Pavlik will fight Jan. 21 in an elimination bout in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- In the early morning of Oct. 8, as Kelly Pavlik, the undefeated middleweight contender from Youngstown, along with his trainer Jack Loew, waited for a flight at the McCarren Airport here, there was plenty of speculation about the 23-year-old's future.
The night before, at the Aladdin Resort, Pavlik won an important fight when his opponent, Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga, was unable to answer the bell for the 10th round of a scheduled 12-round fight for the NABF championship.
Pavlik (27-0, 24 knockouts in four years) has attained the best overall record in the 160-pound division.
His co-manager and agent, Cameron Dunkin, had in mind a spot Nov. 12, but Pavlik's right hand was aching after the Zuniga fight so that plan was scrapped.
Last week, Dunkin and Top Rank Inc.'s Bruce Trampler settled on a January date.
Elimination bout
"Kelly's next action in the ring will be Jan. 21 on a big pay-per-view card at the Thomas & amp; Mack Center in Las Vegas," said Dunkin. "He will be in a 12-round eliminator for the WBO middleweight championship."
That fight, according to Dunkin, will be on the under-card of the 12-round main event for the super featherweight title between Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao.
Dunkin said the best opponent for Pavlik is Edison Miranda, another young fighter from Colombia who resides in Miami. According to Dunkin, Miranda (24-0, 21 KOs) is a mirror image of Pavlik KOs and ranked fourth in the WBO rankings behind Felix Sturm, Bernard Hopkins and Pavlik.
"A win here will put [Pavlik] in a position to fight the [Jermain] Taylor-Hopkins winner, as he would vie with Sturm at the top of the World Boxing Organization rankings," said Dunkin.
Taylor is the current belt holder and has a fight scheduled against Hopkins Dec. 3.
Win could lift him to top
Dunkin said an impressive showing against Miranda could land Pavlik atop the WBO rankings, and a bout with either Sturm or the winner of the Taylor-Hopkins fight, perhaps in April.
"Our idea is to get [Pavlik] out here to camp as soon as possible to have him ready for a January bout," said Dunkin.
Loew is pleased that Pavlik's career seems to have finally reached a point where he is getting a chance to fight for championships.
"It is time now that we are in a number one place where we can't be avoided," said Loew. "When we know what we have to do, we will do it.
"This is a crossroads fight for Kelly that has a larger significance than the Zuniga fight," added Loew. "Of course, every fight from now on will be more important than the previous fight. Kelly learned from his month of hard conditioning before the Zuniga fight, where all the hard work was in Vegas, is that conditioning is so important."
Pavlik likes route
Pavlik, ranked No. 7 by the WBC, No. 9 by the WBA and No. 11 by the IBF, is happy with the route that Dunkin wants to take through the WBO where Pavlik's ranking is best.
"I definitely want this fight because it is a step up against a guy [Miranda] who has an undefeated record like mine," he said.
Pavlik admitted he would not have been ready for a bout later this month.
"I needed time to recover from a hard fight that was a war and my hand was sore, but it will definitely be ready for this fight in January," he said.
Pavlik said he would start light workouts immediately, and extensive conditioning will probably take place in Las Vegas.

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