Boxing


Sharkie's Machine: Kelly Pavlik Wrecks Edison Miranda In Seven; Taylor decisions Spinks

edison miranda20.05.07 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr. The REAL Main Event was disguised as the under-card at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis Tennessee, where in a WBC eliminator bout, Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik (26-0, 28 KO’s) hunted down the ever-dangerous Edison “Pantera” Miranda (28-2, 24 KO’s) with constant pressure and solid boxing skills in a highly anticipated match up Saturday night. This is the kind of fight that fans want to see, two guys on top of their game, taking the big risk of fighting each other.

The so-called Main Event was a boring contest of a Bull, (WBC Middleweight Champ Jermain Taylor, 27-0, 17 KO’s) who couldn’t catch the Matador (Cory Spinks, 39-4, 11 KO’s), who couldn’t hurt the Bull. Spinks was able to win the first two rounds by out-boxing and landing cleaner, pity-pat punches. Taylor went on to win almost every round that followed on the basis of pressing the fight, landing the stronger punches and sustaining zero damage from Spinks, who managed to make Taylor look bad, even in victory.

This fight was a lose-lose situation for Jermain Taylor because if he won, well, he was supposed to win over yet another, blown up Welterweight opponent. If Taylor lost, or even if the fight was close, Taylor’s stock would plummet. This fight turned out to be so boring that fans were booing from the third round to the end. They even chanted, “Cory, Cory!” to either inspire Spinks to pull an upset or to let Taylor know that they weren’t the least bit impressed with his choice of opponent. Imagine if Taylor’s camp wasn’t able to choose who to fight, but was instead, mandated to fight the top contender that actually earned a shot at the Title?

I don’t understand how Spinks gets a shot at the Middleweight Champ’s Title in his first bout at 160-pounds? What about all the other top contenders in the division? Of course, there’s lots of banter about how Team Taylor tried to ink this fighter or that one and they all turned the offers down. Spinks was actually a substitute for Sergio Mora, who declined to fight in what he claimed to be Taylor’s backyard. Does Mora expect the Champ to go fight the Challenger in the Challengers choice of venue? It sounds a lot like bullshit to me.

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For all the excitement that swirled around Edison Miranda for his ferocious style of fighting, Kelly Pavlik humbly came in as the underdog who executed a simple plan that turned the hard-hitting Miranda into a soft swiping kitty. To his credit, Miranda showed a lot of heart when things looked bleak. This match showed Pavlik to be the superior boxer, the more accurate puncher and in the end, the man with the better chin.

Maybe Miranda just had a bad night. Maybe he overlooked Pavlik, who managed to dominated him in every round with the possible exception of the second round, where Miranda was able to mount some effective offense, but even in that round, good arguments can be made that Pavlik landed at a higher rate and was busier and more effective for more of the round.

The Fight

Round 1
An immediate slugfest ensued as they met at center ring to exchange punches. Both landed some good shots but Pavlik took control of the action by applying pressure and forcing Miranda to fight going backwards. Pavlik consistently pressed Miranda towards the ropes with his jab and followed through with combinations that scored. Pavlik caught Miranda with a big right that rocked him. As Pavlik worked Miranda against the corner ropes, it looked like Miranda might not make it out of the first round. It was only the first round and Miranda was looking weakened, his punches had no snap. Pavlik had his way with Miranda. 10-9 Pavlik.

Round 2
Miranda’s corner advised him to stay at center ring and not move backwards toward the ropes. Within seconds, Miranda’s back was against the ropes and Pavlik was pressuring and forcing him to fight backwards anyway. Miranda came on strong midway into the round and caught Pavlik with a few clean punches to the face. Pavlik came on strong late in the round and scored often, again forcing Miranda to backpedal. Both guys had some good moments but Pavlik had more of them. 10-9 Pavlik.

Round 3
Pavlik used his size advantage impressively, using his jab and always mindful to keep Miranda going backwards. During one slugfest, Miranda landed a shot to the nose that made Pavlik bleed but it was Pavlik doing the most damage and controlling the action. Miranda looked spent late in the round and threw a couple of low blows. The referee, Steve Smoger warned Miranda. That was the third warning by that point. Pavlik looked great and en route to a knock out win. 10-9 Pavlik.

Round 4
Though Miranda’s corner implored him to change strategy and take the fight to Pavlik instead of allowing the reverse, Miranda was incapable of doing so. As soon as he’d press just a little, Pavlik went right after him and turned Miranda back into a defensive mode, where Miranda rendered ineffective. Pavlik cracked Miranda with a right hand that stunned him again. Miranda’s right eye was swelling badly. His face was puffing up all over the place. He was getting his ass handed to him by a guy who did all his talking in the ring. Pavlik’s superior boxing skills were proving too much for Miranda. Pavlik punished Miranda, who was going backwards the whole round and capped off the round with a clean, left, right combo. 10-9 Pavlik.

Round 5
Miranda tried to adjust midway by boxing from the outside. Again, Miranda threw a low punch and again was warned. At one point, Miranda tapped his chest and waved Pavlik in. Pavlik happily complied and some good shots were applied. Miranda showed heart and came on with a series of scoring rights. It was a good moment for Miranda but far from enough to have won him the round. 10-9 Pavlik.

Round 6
Miranda tried to be the Presser instead of the Pressed, but that didn’t work out. Pavlik steered him into the ropes and landed another big right, followed by more punches that saw Miranda drop. Smoger counted and Miranda got up quick enough but didn’t look too steady. Miranda spit out the mouthpiece and Smoger gave him all kinds of time as he walked him to his corner to replace the mouthpiece. Smoger took a point from Miranda for forcing this blatant extension of recovery time. When action resumed, Pavlik went for the finish, throwing a volley of punches that floored Miranda again. Miranda beat the count and the bell rang, saving him from being knocked out. 10-6 Pavlik.

Round 7
Miranda was physically spent, beat up and ready to crumble but tried to fight on. Pavlik walked right through him with punches that drove him into the ropes where he was floored again by a right, left, right combination. The referee stepped between the fighters and it was over. Pavlik had won by TKO- 7.

* *

Congratulations to Kelly Pavlik, who proved himself to be one of the most exciting fighters in the Middleweight division. During the post fight interview, Pavlik implied that Miranda was over-rated and that he knew from watching his fights that Miranda was not good going backwards, so it was his strategy to force him to fight that way. When asked if he wants to fight
Jermain Taylor, he said, “Of course I want to fight the Champion.”

There was more excitement in one round of Miranda vs. Pavlik than there was in the entire Taylor vs. Spinks fight. The only exciting thing about Taylor vs. Spinks was that one Judge, Dick Flaherty, scored the bout 117-111 in favor of Spinks. Maybe we can all use a shot of whatever Flaherty was drinking Saturday night.

When Jermain Taylor was interviewed after his boring fight, he praised Kelly Pavlik for his victory over Miranda. When asked if he wanted to fight Pavlik, he said, “I’ll fight anybody!” When pressed by HBO’s Larry Merchant for a clearer answer, Taylor said he would fight whoever will make him the most money. So, there you have it. This is what today’s Middleweight Champion is—a businessman first and a warrior second. It’s high time for some serious changes in how boxing operates. It’s time for a ranking system that rewards contenders that earn their way towards a Title instead of the incoherent way Champions are made these days.

I’m sure most fans want to see Jermain Taylor fight Kelly Pavlik next. Since WBA Champ Felix Sturm and IBF Champ Arthur Abraham have no mandate to fight Jermain Taylor, it will boil down to money and politics over the spirit of competition and the quest to render a single Champion of the division. According to Taylor’s camp, Sturm and Abraham have turned down offers to fight Jermain, so it’s unlikely these so-called Champions will fight each other.

Taylor is a good fighter. Though he doesn’t knock a lot of guys out, he finds ways to win, though at times controversial and ugly. Too many of Taylor’s opponents have been smaller men of dubious qualification. Pavlik has shown himself to have high quality boxing skills, a good chin and respectable power in both hands. I can’t help but think that if Taylor had fought Pavlik Saturday night instead of Spinks, Taylor would have lost his Titles. But all the speculation in the world doesn’t mean a thing until those two guys step in the ring and fight.

Lets hope Taylor vs. Pavlik happens soon. It may not ‘save boxing’ but it would be a step in the right direction.

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Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 20.05.2007



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