Pavlik’s career comeback continues tonight on HBO

By Bruce bourquin

manhattan beach, Calif.

Super middleweight boxer Kelly Pavlik has a more accomplished background and a 4 1/2-inch height advantage over New Yorker Will Rosinsky, but tonight will be no less important than any of his recent fights.

That’s because Rosinsky is seen by some boxing experts as just another brick in the wall Pavlik (39-2, 34 knockouts) is trying to build in the former middleweight champion’s comeback attempt to another title shot.

The fight will be on full display on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark”, beginning at 10 p.m. in the outdoors at The Home Depot Center in Carson, 15 miles south of Los Angeles. The fight is the undercard to the Nonito Donaire-Jeffrey Mathebula WBO/IBF title unification main event fight.

Pavlik weighed an identical 168.2 pounds to Rosinsky, with another contrast being Pavlik’s notable tattoos to Rosinsky’s notable lack. Pavlik will hope to tattoo Rosinsky with enough jabs, power punches and possibly knockout blows to win. Pavlik’s considered a heavy favorite to not only beat Rosinsky, but possibly stop him before the billed 10-round fight.

But make no mistake — Pavlik is focused and takes Rosinsky (16-1, 9 KOs) very seriously.

“The comeback is now,” Pavlik said. “Hopefully this can be a pebble for the WBA. This is a big fight for me. It’s a good opportunity for me to come out and put on a good fight. I’ve got the experience, I think I’m a more polished fighter. I know I’m taller than he is. I’ve watched a lot of tape on him. He reminds me a lot of [Scott] Sigmon, maybe a little more polished. He has a decent record, he’s got some worthy players on his resume.”

Pavlik beat Sigmon by seventh-round TKO on June 8 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

That fight was seen on “Friday Night Fights” on ESPN2 and this is yet another prime-time ticket even for Pavlik, with top-ranked fighters like Andre Ward in the same weight class.

They talk about “coachability” in the NBA ranks. Pavlik has been very trainable, according to trainer Roberto Garcia, Pavlik’s trainer who has worked with him in Oxnard, Calif., since early January.

“It’s a great opportunity to get on HBO,” Garcia said. “He’s had basically three months of training. He’s been more than what I expected. He didn’t come in thinking he’s the former super middleweight champion of the world. He came to learn and listen to us. He did everything he was told.”

The outdoor setting isthe third of Pavlik’s career, the last of which coincidentally came in July, against Rico Cason on July 1, 2003. That was his 18th straight victory to start his career.

Pavlik will also fight for just the third time in California. His debut came on June 16, 2000, a TKO win over Eric Tzand. He won on Jan. 27, 2007, in Anaheim, over Mexican boxer Jose Luis Zertuche. His training during the past several months with Garcia in Oxnard has gone quite well.

“It’s my first fight at The Home Depot Center,” Pavlik said. “I know it’s going to be outdoors. It’s been phenomenal [training in Oxnard]. It’s gone very well. The atmosphere [in Oxnard] is perfect for boxing.”

At the weigh-in, there appeared to be more support for the underdog Rosinsky, with one fan shouting, “He’s not ready for you.”

The world shall see if Pavlik’s ready tonight.

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