By Keith Idec

It typically takes prodding to get Kelly Pavlik’s former manager to say anything at all.

For Cameron Dunkin to say something negative about a fighter, you know he was angry. Dunkin indeed took great offense to Joe Smith’s comments about Pavlik and his loss to Bernard Hopkins, which were part of a story posted on on Thursday (

When asked among a group of reporters recently why his fight against Hopkins would be different Saturday night than the Hopkins-Pavlik fight eight years ago, Smith said, “Kelly Pavlik is nothing compared to me,” among other things.

Dunkin, who manages Terence Crawford and numerous other fighters, felt compelled to defend the retired Pavlik.

“First of all, Hopkins was 43 when he fought Kelly,” Dunkin told “He’s now 51. That was eight years ago. And my guy was a middleweight. This guy’s a light heavyweight. My guy was a 60-pounder and fighting a much better Hopkins. Kelly knocked out Jermain Taylor. What’s this guy ever done? He hit Fonfara with one punch in the first round. Anything can happen in the first round. We’ve never seen him go the distance with anybody who can fight and he has a loss on his record already. And that certainly wasn’t against anybody any good.”

Pavlik knocked out Taylor in the seventh round to become boxing’s undisputed middleweight champion nine years ago in Atlantic City. He beat Taylor by unanimous decision in their February 2008 rematch in Las Vegas, which was contested at a catch weight of 164 pounds.

He defended his middleweight titles one more time against Wales’ Gary Lockett, whom Pavlik knocked out in the third round of their June 2008 bout. Four months later, Hopkins dominated Pavlik in a pay-per-view main event contested at a catch weight of 170 pounds. Hopkins battered Pavlik and won by wide margins on all three scorecards (119-106, 118-108, 117-109) in October 2008 in Atlantic City.

“Comparing Pavlik and [Smith] is a joke,” Dunkin said. “It’s like a Rolls Royce and a Volkswagen. This guy’s a joke. It’s ridiculous for him to make comments like that [about Pavlik]. And I was rooting for the guy because he’s young and fresh and everything. I’m not rooting for him anymore. I hope Hopkins slaps the crap out of him, and I think he will.”

Long Island’s Smith (22-1, 18 KOs) and Philadelphia’s Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC) are set to square off in a 12-round, light-heavyweight fight HBO will televise Saturday night from The Forum in Inglewood, California (10 p.m. ET/PT).

The 34-year-old Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) went 6-1 after Hopkins defeated him, but lost his WBC and WBO world middleweight titles to Argentina’s Sergio Martinez about 18 months after Hopkins beat him. The Youngstown, Ohio, native hasn’t fought since he out-pointed Will Rosinky (19-3, 10 KOs) in a 10-rounder in July 2012.

Smith also defeated Rosinky in a 10-rounder a year ago at Barclays Center. Dunkin considers that one of the few things Smith has in common with Pavlik.

“This one pissed me off,” Dunkin said. “Somebody should defend Pavlik. He was a world-, world-, world-class fighter. When he beat [Edison] Miranda, nobody gave him a shot. And to go and beat Taylor twice – to knock him out and then go beat him by decision in the rematch, I mean, my goodness, he’s a real fighter. And he was a middleweight, much smaller than Hopkins, and giving up weight.

“And yeah, he got slapped around. But he never complained about being on an IV, being sick and having the flu. He went ahead and fought because he wanted the money. But he never complained about that, never cried. He just said, ‘Hey, the guy was too good. The guy was a great fighter. I couldn’t hit him and that’s the way it is. I wasn’t at my best, but I don’t know if my best would’ve done anything with this guy.’ He was so great to Hopkins, such a professional, and to have some guy demean you like this, a guy who landed one punch against a guy who was 28-3, who’s not a great fighter himself – I’m not smoking on Fonfara, but he’s not a great fighter. And he had one lucky punch, and he’s never done anything. To come out and say Pavlik was nothing compared to him, Pavlik could’ve given this guy 15 pounds and beat the crap out of him.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.