By Keith Idec
Kelly Pavlik isn’t intimidated by the probability of battling Lucian Bute later this year.
Pavlik respects the unbeaten Bute, but he is certain he already has boxed a better left-handed fighter in Sergio Martinez.
“I think [Bute is] a very good fighter,” Pavlik said on a conference call Wednesday. “There are certain things that are questionable about him. I think he’s probably one of the better body punchers in the sport today, by far. But I think he’s got pretty good boxing ability, too.
“I don’t think he’s as talented overall as a Martinez, as far as movement and [being] slick. But he’s slick enough and he moves enough. He’s got the whole package. But I think what everybody [will see] when I go into that fight, you know, it’s going to be a different Kelly Pavlik.”
Executives with Top Rank Inc., which promotes Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs), and Interbox, which represents Bute (29-0, 24 KOs), are negotiating a deal for them to square off for Bute’s IBF super middleweight title in the fall. The target date for the fight is Nov. 5 and Pavlik anticipates having to travel to Montreal, where the Romanian-born Bute resides and regularly draws big crowds at Bell Centre, for the opportunity.
“The thing we would have to do is block the fans out, go in there and focus on the game plan that we’re working on and do that,” Pavlik said. “It’ll be hard, I mean, to get a decision. Even if I was winning by eight rounds, I think it’s going to be very hard to pick up a decision there. … But I think with Showtime, where people can watch, we’ll see. But I think I would have to go for a knockout. I think that’s very important if I fight over in Canada.”
To secure the Bute bout, Pavlik must defeat Detroit’s Darryl Cunningham (23-2, 10 KOs) in a tune-up fight Aug. 6 in Youngstown, Ohio, Pavlik’s hometown. Showtime, which signed Bute to a three-fight contract last year, will televise the Pavlik-Cunningham bout.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.