Pavlik, Martinez revved for showdown
Report by David Finger
Photos by Chris Cozzone
Although the boxing world’s attention was firmly centered on the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight, the greater Dallas area took advantage of its rare position as the center of the boxing world this weekend to host the first press conference for the upcoming Kelly Pavlik versus Sergio Martinez fight.
The Pavlik-Martinez fight, scheduled for April 17 in Atlantic City on the Boardwalk Hall, already has created a buzz with boxing insiders, and many are anticipating a near sellout crowd as the popular Pavlik has already established himself as Atlantic City’s favorite star. But if Atlantic City has a “favorite underdog”, Sergio Martinez almost certainly holds that title. After all, it was back in December of last year in the same arena that he is to fight Pavlik that Martinez put forth the grittiest effort seen by an Argentine fighter since the legendary Jorge Castro versus John David Jackson fight in 1994.
“We are very, very pleased that HBO has chosen to televise this match,” promoter Bob Arum (who along with Martinez promoter Lou DiBella is promoting the event), “because we get it out to the widest possible audience. We want to get the best fights seen by the most possible people.”
Arum, then took time to compare the young Argentine boxer or another fighter who he worked with many years ago.
“When I look up here and I see Sergio, it reminds me of how I got involved in promoting middleweight fights in 1974…in promoting the great Argentine Carlos Monzon.”
Arum also relished in what promises to be an exciting fight in one of the most exciting divisions in the sport’s long history.
“I love the middleweight division, and thanks to Kelly Pavlik I’m back in the middleweight division.”
Co-promoter Lou DiBella also spoke about the upcoming battle, and reminded the press in attendance that he was coming into this fight with something of a chip on his shoulder personally.
“This is going to be a hell of a fight,” DiBella stated before adding, “I’m use to this guy here (Kelly), he beat me twice, beat my guys twice, once badly.”
But DiBella feels that Sergio Martinez will be the man who can even the score for Team DiBella and that even though Paul Williams was named the winner in their last fight, that the boxing world knows who really won the fight. DiBella spoke about his post fight meeting with both fighters back in December. “Paul was a terrific fighter, but he looked like he was in Vietnam that night and Sergio looked like he went dancing.”
DiBella then went on to also make some comparisons to the legendary Carlos Monzon.
“I think this is the best fighter to comer out of Argentina since Carlos Monzon. I think that great tradition of great Argentine fighters will continue and you’ll have a new world champion. I know we have a very tough night, I believe Martinez will walk out (of the ring) a superstar.”
Sergio Martinez then took the podium to speak on the fight, promising not only a victory, but a knockout.
“This time I’m much better, and I am sure that I will win and I will win by KO. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I plan to take advantage of that. I really want to take this belt to Argentina and I always will be behind my idol, Carlos Monzon.”
With all of the talk of Carlos Monzon, however, Pavlik trainer Jack Lowe finally had his fill.
“One thing I can tell you, Martinez is not Carlos Monzon,” Lowe fired back dismissively, “So I’m not going to worry about that.”
Lowe then took a jab at Lou DiBella. “On April 17, Lou DiBella will be 0-3 against team Pavlik". Maybe (then) he’ll quit trying to find someone to fight Kelly.”
Finally, Pavlik, the defending middleweight champion, took the podium. Admitting that 2009 was a “bad year” for him, Pavlik promised to rebound in dominant fashion in 2010.
“I think one way to show I am not a fighter who turns down big opportunities and big fights is to take this fight.” Pavlik commented, “To me this is a huge, huge fight.”
Pavlik then promised a taste of the Kelly Pavlik of old. “You know how I fight and what I bring to the ring. It’s all or nothing, and I’m going to go out there and let the fireworks go. It’s going to be a good one.”
With both fighters promising a war, Bob Arum took the final jab at Martinez as the press conference closed.
“After the telecast, we are contracting with Madonna to sing ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina.”