Unfair criticism? Kelly Pavlik has won his three middleweight title defenses by knockout, but because they came against lesser-known prospects Gary Lockett, Marco Antonio Rubio and Miguel Espino, he has faced criticism from some circles. Pavlik believes that’s unfair, considering he jumped two weight classes to fight Bernard Hopkins after Paul Williams backed out of a fight against Pavlik, then planned to fight Williams before a staph infection forced him to cancel the bout. “I will take dangerous fights when I’m 100 percent and ready to go,” he said. Pavlik also wondered why middleweight champions such as Arthur Abraham (who held the IBF bout before jumping to super middleweight), Felix Sturm (the WBA champion) and Hopkins (who held the title longer than anyone in history) weren’t held to the same standard. “Abraham got his title by somebody vacating the belt and who did Arthur Abraham defend it against? Sturm was hand-given his title and, again, who has he fought? Who did Hopkins fight besides [Felix] Trinidad and [Oscar] De La Hoya?”
Middleweight prospects: As Marvin Hagler’s promoter, Top Rank Boxing chairman Bob Arum was part of the middleweight division’s golden age in the 1980s. Arum believes super middleweight has become the middleweight division of the 21st century. “I think people have gotten bigger since Hagler fought,” he said. “I think when Kelly cleans out the middleweight division, he can go up to 168. There’s a lot of competition there.”
Not so fast: Jermain Taylor’s former promoter, Lou DiBella, disagreed with Pavlik’s opinion that Taylor hasn’t been the same since his knockout loss to Pavlik in 2007. Taylor lost a rematch to Pavlik in 2008, then decisioned Jeff Lacy before losing back-to-back fights to Carl Froch and Abraham by 12th round knockouts. “If Pavlik hadn’t been champion, he wouldn’t have got that decision [in 2008],” DiBella said. “I thought Jermain’s performance against Lacy was really good. And you’ve got to remember he was winning the  fight clearly before he got knocked out.” DiBella said the Froch loss was the one that damaged Taylor. “That was a really bad knockout because it came late in the final round,” he said. “That’s what sort of did it. DiBella stepped down as Taylor’s promoter following the Abraham fight, saying Taylor should retire.
Bus trip: As of Friday, there were 10 spots available on the East Side Civics’ bus trip to Atlantic City, which leaves Friday at 4 a.m. and returns next Sunday evening. Fans can get discounted fight tickets with their purchase. For details, call Jim Davis at (330) 518-7067, Lori Greenwalt at (330) 727-8278 or Mike Cefalde at (330) 787-4228.