Boxing


The Most Exciting Fighter In The World Today - Michael Katsidis Or Kelly Pavlik?

kelly pavlik21.11.07 - by James Slater: To this writer's way of thinking, when it comes down to just who is the most exciting and constantly thrilling fighter currently slinging leather, there are only two names that need to be considered. Enter Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik and Michael "The Great" Katsidis. Both guys are quite simply pulse-quickening when in action.

Every time out. Never in a bad fight, both Youngstown's Pavlik and Australia's Katsidis are real throwback warriors, warriors who would have fit very neatly into the boxing scene of the 1950's. No, I wasn't around then, and if you want an accurate review of how golden and great the '50's really were, then you could do a lot worse than to either ask Ted "The Bull" Sares, or read certain sections of his new book.

Still, though I haven't the number of years to be able to recollect the 1950's and its great sluggers, I can watch tapes of that eras boxers doing their stuff. And yes, both middleweight Pavlik and lightweight Katsidis would've fitted right in, for sure. But who of the two men is the number one when it comes to the ultimate crowd-pleaser fighter today?

Both men have had a great and exhilarating 12 months this year, with both ascending to their first world title in 2007. Katsidis and Pavlik have solidly asserted themselves as the new guard when it comes down to who the fans should shell out the dollars to come see. The Aussie slugger got his hands on a belt (albeit an interim version of one) first. Outgunning Britain's 28-year-old Graham Earl in February, Katsidis won, to this writer's mind anyway, THE fight of the year for '07. Not only that, but the 2nd round of the unforgettable war that was Katsidis-Earl was probably the round of the year. Who can forget the way Katsidis had Earl down and surely out on three occasions, twice in the 1st and once in the 2nd, only for the gutsy Brit (himself one of today's more watch able fighters) to come back roaring at his tormentor - sending him reeling in that 2nd round? Katsidis , of course, recovered and went on to win at the end of 5 of the most brutal and electrifying rounds seen in many a year, when Earl's corner pulled their man out. Katsidis had arrived on the world stage, and those who saw him do so couldn't wait to see him in action again.

Unfortunately, the WBO lightweight interim king would only fight once more throughout the remainder of 2007. But what a fight he gave us on that occasion. Again! Going in with the 22-year-old southpaw, Czar Amonsot of the Philippines, on the under-card of the Hopkins-Wright clash, Katsidis once again put on the fight of the night. Giving us his second fight of the year contender, Katsidis wound up a bloody, almost unrecognisable mess in his fight with the courageous challenger. What was recognisable, however, were Kastidis' qualities as a truly barnstorming fighter. Once more he thrilled us in a huge way, picking up a gruellingly acquired UD after 12 zinging rounds. Due to the bad cuts he picked up in his latest battle, Katsidis was out of action for the rest of the year. All we can say is, roll on 2008 and his next bout. With his all-out, a hundred-miles-an-hour attacking style, Katsidis doesn't figure to have the longest of careers, but for as long as the 27-year-old is here he is a dead-cert to entertain us. Enormously.

But what of Pavlik, Katsidis' only real rival when it comes to most exciting fighter in the world?

"The Ghost," too, had a great and thrilling year. First up, he went to war with Mexican veteran, Jose Luis Zertuche, in January. What followed was a hell of a way for the ultra-exciting middleweight to begin the year. In a great fight, Pavlik took some hurt at times, before brutally KO'ing Zertuche in the 8th round. It was a super battle, with a stunning finish, but there was more to come from Pavlik before the year was out. Much more. Fighting the highly dangerous and respected Columbian, Edison Miranda, in a WBC middleweight eliminator in May, on the under-card of reigning 160 pound champ Jermain Taylor's fight with Cory Spinks, Pavlik completely stole the show. Taking everything the powerful Miranda could unload early on, Pavlik absorbed the hurt and drove Miranda backwards. Never letting him really gain the upper hand, Pavlik stopped the game 26-year-old known as "Pantera" in the 7th round of yet another great fight. Now undeniably the most worthy challenger for world champ Taylor, Pavlik's big chance was in the works. And how the 25-year-old failed to disappoint when his shot arrived.

Getting up off the floor in round 2 of their super fight in September, Pavlik resumed throwing his bombs and advancing aggressively. His nose somewhat bloodied, as it had been in the Miranda war, Pavlik refused to lose. He finally caught "Bad Intentions" in the 7th, again, just as with the Miranda fight, and ended matters in fine style. The previously unbeaten Taylor was left in a heap in a corner at two-minutes and fourteen seconds of the round, utterly destroyed. Kelly Pavlik was the new middleweight king.

A rematch is scheduled for February 2008, and if it's half as good as fight number one it should be a fight not to be missed. But then, are any of Pavlik's fights worth the risk of missing? Hell, no! That's just the way it is with Pavlik, he never, ever lets the fans down. He is, without a doubt, the first or second most exciting fighter on the planet right now. The first or the second? You get the gist of who I feel such a contest is between by now I hope.

When it comes to thrill-a-minute performances, get-off-the-canvas-to-win-at-all-costs mentality, sheer guts and heart and other qualities that the greats of yesteryear are revered for, Kelly Pavlik and Michael Katsidis stand alone on today's boxing landscape. When it comes down to who is the more electrifying of the two, I can't separate them. Both are simply slugfest-providing, massively watch able, fearless boxing warriors.

Just ask yourself, who of the two would you choose to watch if both men were fighting on different channels at the same time? That's a mind boggling thought. Almost as mind boggling as what an epic fight Pavlik and Katsidis would give us if they were both boxing at the same weight. How incredible would that fight be?!

In real terms, however, both men have already given us the two best fights of the year. 2007, the year of "The Ghost" and "The Great."

Article posted on 21.11.2007



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