BREAKING NEWS: Pavlik vs. Williams Canceled! Original preview and prediction still available below.
Kelly Pavlik vs. Paul Williams is a fight that the sport of boxing needs. It also comes at a time (December 5th) that could lead boxing fans into 2010 with a great taste in their mouths, excited for the upcoming year. Below I’ll preview the main aspects of this potential fight of the year and let you know who is going to win and why.
Pavlik vs. Williams Preview
Anyone who knows boxing, knows that this fight is what boxing is all about. The buzz around this fight is growing daily and for good reason. What intrigues me most about this fight is the fact that both Pavlik and Williams are exciting fighters who throw a lot of punches, yet they do it in a completely different manner and their styles couldn’t be any more different.
Kelly Pavlik, the current undisputed Middleweight Champion lit the world on fire 2 years ago when his surprise knockout win over Jermain Taylor. The sky was the limit for the young lion. In the two year that have past since then, Pavlik has made 2 defenses of his middleweight titles, both uninspiring TKO wins against overmatched manadatories. Sandwiched in between those two fights was a drubbing at the hands of Bernard Hopkins, albeit at 170 pounds. Pavlik’s reign has been disappointing to say the least. Pavlik’s shot to climb back into the spotlight and regain the acclaim of so many will come on December 5th against Williams.
Paul Williams, a former champion at 147 and interim champion at 154 is moving up yet again to challenge for belts in a third weight class. Williams who many see as “the most avoided boxer in the sport” has struggled to put himself on the map due to his inability to find big fights. His biggest win to date came a couple years ago when he defeated Antonio Margarito. Similar to Pavlik, Williams also suffered a huge setback when he was thoroughly outboxed by Carlos Quintana, a crafty pro but a fighter who was not considered to be at Williams’ level.
Williams was able to avenge that loss in devastating fashion with a 1st round KO of Quintana in the rematch. Most recently, Williams dominated a post-prime Winky Wright over 12 rounds, winning every round on one judge’s scorecard. Williams will be looking to finally break through onto the big stage with a win over Pavlik.
Let’s break down the key factors to this fight and see who has the advantage in each.
Williams’ win over Margarito was very impressive in its own right but Pavlik’s two wins against Jermain Taylor are probably more impressive than anything Williams has on his resume. Taylor had two wins over Bernard Hopkins, who Pavlik would come to learn much about, and had never been down before. Pavlik’s TKO of Taylor shocked the boxing world. Edge to Pavlik on best win.
However, recent resumes tell a different story. Pavlik has fought two tomato cans as mandatories and got embarrassed by Hopkins. Since the Quintana loss, Williams has KO’d Quintana, TKO’d hardened veteran Verno Phillips who hadn’t been stopped since 1987 and pitched a virtual shutout against future HOF’er Winky Wright. Edge to Williams on the level of competition as of late. Pavlik’s KO of Edison Miranda tips the scale in his favor but it’s very close.
Pavlik’s one punch power is unrivaled in the sport of boxing. His “1-2” could be the best in the business. When you also consider that Pavlik throws 60-80 punches per round his opponents are usually in for a tough night. Thirty-one KO’s in thirty-six fights tell the story of the punishment Pavlik delivers with each right hand that he lands. Williams’ knockout percentage 27/38 is nothing to scoff at but most of his knockouts come from his constant pressure and an accumulation of his effective but less than show stopping punches.
Winky Wright and Antonio Margarito have gone 12 rounds with Williams and even though their faces were bruised and battered, neither opponent hit the canvas or even appeared to be close to doing so. Nobody has been able to withstand Pavlik’s power if they’ve felt it (Hopkins never felt Pavlik’s power).
While Pavlik will be looking to use his power to win the fight, Williams will be counting on his speed to deliver his punishment while avoiding whatever Pavlik is trying to offer up. Williams throws upwards of 100 punches per round, each and every round. Because of Williams’ freakish 82 inch reach, these punches come from all angles and are delivered with precision and speed. Williams also uses terrific head movement to avoid getting hit as his head is often available to his opponents because he fists are always in use. Pavlik will never be confused as a fast fisted fighter and this fight will do nothing to change that notion.
This one’s tough. Pavlik has shown a great heart time and time again in his fights. He was wobbled more than once in his fight with Edison Miranda before turning the tables and knocking him out. He was floored by Jermain Taylor, leading many people to think that Taylor/Pavlik was a total mismatch. Kelly proved the doubters wrong by picking himself off the canvas and mounting a comeback on way to a TKO win. And even though Hopkins made Pavlik look completely one dimensional in their fight, Pavlik took a ton of punishment and never quit. He kept coming forward until the final bell.
Williams heart may not have been tested as many times as this but it takes a lot of guts to get back into the ring and face the man who handed you your first loss . Williams did so and knocked the man out in the very 1st round. Williams has also shown a sturdier chin than Pavlik, having never been down and having gone 12 brutal rounds with Antonio Margarito who some see as the Pavlik of the welterweights. This one is too close to call but we’ll find out the answer come December 5th.
Pavlik vs. Williams Prediction:
I haven’t seen the betting odds on this fight but I’m guessing Pavlik will be a slight favorite when the line opens to the public, and for good reason. Pavlik is the true middleweight, never having lost at middleweight. Pavlik is the power puncher. Pavlik will also be the crowd favorite as he always draws well in Atlantic City. All of these factors could lead to a knockout win for Pavlik on fight night. I just don’t see it unfolding that way.
What I see in Pavlik is a one dimensional fighter capable of beating down anyone who allows Pavlik to dictate the pace. When someone else dictates the way the fight is going to go, a la Hopkins, Pavlik is left without a plan B and looks like a fish out of water. In order for Pavlik to get going he needs to get in a rhythm. Nobody at 160 pounds has made Pavlik break his. Williams is that guy.
Williams plans to and will throw close to, if not surpass, 100 punches per round and Pavlik can’t just eat them because his chin isn’t reliable enough. Pavlik will struggle with his rhythm throughout this fight because he won’t have a free second to find it. Pavlik will land a punch here and there but because Williams won’t let Pavlik breathe long enough to load up, they won’t have his full power behind them.
Williams will win 8 rounds in this fight and although there may be some hairy moments for the Williams camp late in the fight, he’ll win enough rounds to become the new undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World.
As fight night approaches, stay tuned for more Pavlik vs. Williams coverage!