The big winners this weekend (other than Pretty Boy Floyd of course) were Kimbo Slice and Kelly Pavlik. Both men cemented the fact that they are legitimate stars in their sports. So, the question remains, where do they go from here?
It seems as though there are three options being presented to both fighters: a logical, longshot and a stupid choice. Let’s break it down:
* Kimbo Slice vs. Sean Gannon (1-1) ; Kelly Pavlik vs. John Duddy (23-0)
Gannon gained a lot of notoriety when he became the first man to defeat Kimbo in a bare-knuckle fight in 2004. Some might say that victory landed him a spot in the UFC (he lost his debut to Brandon Lee Hinkle in 2005). Slice has been wanting a rematch ever since and continues to ask for it. Gannon hasn’t competed (legally) since his loss to Hinkle but I am sure that a nice payday would bring him back.
Duddy first has to defeat Walide Smichet this weekend but no one is expecting him to lose. His style is a perfect match for Pavlik. Much like “The Ghost,” he also has a very loyal following. After a soon-to-be 24 straight victories he deserves a shot at the title.
Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson (14-8); Kelly Pavlik vs. Lucien Bute (21-0)
Let’s start with Bute. The Montreal(!)-based fighter would have to move down a weight class because Pavlik’s camp has said he has no interest in moving up to Super Middleweight. Plus, the only way I see Pavlik moving up is to fight Joe Calzaghe. Bute has a 2/29 bout against the always game William Joppy but, much like Duddy, no one expects him to lose. While I think this would make for a more intriguing bout I don’t think Bute has a big enough name to get the shot…yet.
As for Thompson, if he would have defeated Brett Rogers this weekend I would have moved him up to “logical” status. Given his experience, the former Pride veteran would not be viewed as another tomato can but the fact that he lost to Rogers doesn’t make him worthy of a shot at Slice. If he does pick up a couple of victories in a row I would love to see this matchup.
Kimbo Slice v. Ken Shamrock (26-12-2); Kelly Pavlik vs. Felix Trinidad (42-3-0)
Forget the fact that I think it’s idiotic for Shamrock to be fighting Buzz Berry prior to his huge showdown against his brother Frank. If the brother vs. brother fight is really going to happen why risk putting him out there for no reason? More to that point, why would you risk his career even more by pairing him up with Kimbo? Makes no sense. After the Frank fight – totally. But not now.
Don’t even get me started on Tito-Pavlik. What has Trinidad done in the last five years to deserve a shot at the champ? Sure, he guarantees a least 500,000 PPV buys but, still, Pavlik would gain nothing by defeating him. In fact, he has more to lose than to gain. Case closed.