Pavlik, Arum could court ‘King Arthur’
By Joe Scalzo
YOUNGSTOWN — If Kelly Pavlik can get past Marco Antonio Rubio next week, he may get an audience with the “King.”
Pavlik, the WBC and WBO champion, has said repeatedly he would like to unify the middleweight titles. His most logical opponent would be IBF champion Arthur Abraham (aka “King Arthur”), who is scheduled to defend his title on March 14 against Lajuan Simon in his native Germany.
“There is a difference between the best fight and the biggest fight,” said Pavlik’s promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “The biggest fight is financial and the best fight is ... what boxing people would regard as the best fight. That clearly seems to me to be Abraham.
“But financially, nobody knows who Abraham is in this country. And it’s very, very hard turning it into the biggest fight.”
Arum faces the same problem with WBA champion Felix Sturm, also of Germany. Abraham, Pavlik and Sturm are ranked 1-2-3 by Fightnews.com but only Pavlik is known stateside. Abraham did fight Edison Miranda in Florida last June on Showtime but that’s his only U.S. appearance.
Sturm has also fought once in America, losing by unanimous decision to Oscar De La Hoya in June of 2004 in Las Vegas. His last nine bouts have been in Germany.
“I’ve talked to both German promoters,” said Arum. “I am confident at some time we’ll be able to do those fights.”
The main snag (not surprisingly) is money. If Pavlik agrees to fight in Germany, the bout would air in America on Saturday afternoon — not exactly the prime money-making time slot. If the fight is in America, it would air around 4 a.m. in Germany, which would drive down European profits. Plus, it’s unlikely the fight would air on pay-per-view since few American fans are familiar with the Germans.
“You have to feed two thoroughbreds and sometimes you can only feed them with one pail,” said Arum. “It is a problem, but it’s not an insurmountable problem.”
If neither fight happens this summer, Arum could turn to either John Duddy (who is fighting on the pay-per-view undercard at Madison Square Garden before the Pavlik and Miguel Cotto bouts) or Anthony Mundine.
“Duddy is certainly a big name,” said Arum. “That could be a monster fight either in Cleveland or Madison Square Garden.
“It might not appeal to you as the best fight out there — Abraham probably would — but it’s probably bigger than the Abraham fight.”
Although Pavlik has looked better at 160 pounds, he’s still open to eventually moving up to super middleweight.
“It’s definitely not out of the question,” he said. “As the days and months and years go by, it gets harder to keep this scrawny body scrawny.
“But there’s a lot here at the middleweight division we need to accomplish before moving up.”