This Saturday, April 17th, the Middleweight Championship of the world is on the line. Champion Kelly Pavlik will defend his title against veteran contender Sergio Martinez. Pavlik won his title in 2007 by scoring a stunning knockout of Jermain Taylor. Since his signature wins over Taylor, Pavlik’s career has been up and down but he has managed to hang on to his belts.
Challenger Sergio Martinez just recently rose to prominence as a widely respected contender recently despite being a pro since 1997. Sergio fought the majority of his career in Argentina and Europe, but his greatest success has come in his recent fights in the United States. Martinez offered brutally tough resistance to highly ranked and respected contenders Kermit Cintron and Paul Williams. Martinez came away with a loss and a draw from those two matches, but earned the respect of the fans.
The writers from RSR offer their predictions for this evenly matched, interesting title bout.
Sergio Martinez is a wonderful fighter and is just the sort to frustrate a guy like Kelly Pavlik. I’m picking a minor upset here with Martinez winning via unanimous decision, unless we get the same judges that scored his fight with Kermit Cintron. Great fight.
“Bad” Brad Berkwitt
Sergio Martinez by unanimous decision.
I’m leaning towards Sergio Martinez’s slickness, angles and hand speed to see him through the rough spots that Kelly Pavlik will surely put him through when they meet. While I wouldn’t be shocked to see Pavlik wear Martinez down and stop him late, I have a feeling that the game Argentinean has just enough experience, moves and guile to edge the bigger champ and take the crown via a close unanimous nod down the stretch.
Gina L. Caliboso
Wow – the rangy sometimes unpredictable Kelly “Ghost” Pavlik will go up against Sergio Martinez – the last fighter to knock down Paul Williams? This is a great match up. Both Pavlik and Martinez have a lot to prove, notably Pavlik because he’s on a comeback for respect. Pavlik avoided Williams for most of last year and Martinez gave Williams a fight in their last meeting. I predict Martinez will defeat Pavlik over 12 rounds, but notwithstanding, Pavlik’s reach and size usually looks good and his inside fighting combinations can have him tasting victory. If Martinez has done any fine tuning since the Williams fight, it’s that he must stay in the fight from the get go and wear down his opponent. He cannot be intimidated by Pavlik at all. Prediction: Martinez over 12 rounds with a split decision.
I can see this being a frustrating night for Pavlik. While Pavlik’s power will trouble Martinez, I can see him struggling with the Argentine’s speed and wiliness. I’m going to say that Martinez becomes the victim of yet another dubious decision loss.
It is hard to imagine that Sergio Martinez won’t have a fair amount of success in this fight. He moves incredibly well and Pavlik, simply put, does not. Martinez should create many of the same angles that Hopkins used to bedevil Pavlik when they fought last year.
Unfortunately, Martinez will likely have to fight at a pace that is hard for any fighter to maintain and he has a noted tendency to fade late in fights. Martinez will surge to a lead on the cards, but, the supremely conditioned Pavlik will begin to break Martinez down as he begins to tire in the second half of the fight. Pavlik by TKO in round 11 or 12.
Martinez is a skilled opponent who has all of the tools to follow the game plan of how to beat Kelly Pavlik laid down by Bernard Hopkins. This will not be easy for Pavlik it all, and kudos to him for taking on such a tough opponent. I am banking on Pavlik learning from his mistakes and improving since the Hopkins fight, and for his size advantage to play a role. Pavlik wins a close unanimous decision but takes significant damage in the process.
Dan “Tex” Cohen
Pavlik vs. Martinez pits a large, stalking power hitter against a snake-like serpent with versatile chops and plenty of volume. Expect a good fight. Some are leaning toward Martinez based on his performances against Kermit Cintron and Paul Williams. I see Kelly Pavlik as a bigger challenge than either of those guys. For one, he hits a helluva lot harder. For two, his punches are based largely on accuracy and advantageous leverage from intelligent countering. Pavlik won’t be as open as Williams. The most overlooked X-factor in this fight? The age of Martinez. At 35 years old, you just never know when this guy will lose a step. For a fighter that relies on speed, that’s a big deal. Pavlik by close UD or late stoppage.
Kelly Pavlik in 4! Right hook on the chin brings the KO!
I think Martinez will give Pavlik a few problems, but expect Kelly to be too strong over twelve rounds and come out with a unanimous decision.
Kelly Pavlik – 6
Sergio Martinez – 4