Mid-Afternoon Muesli: Book Pavlik vs. Trinidad NOW!

***UPDATE: Looks like I need to update my top 5 MMA draws. Couture and Liddell can draw their 500,000+ buys but Kimbo, man, he draws CBS.

I would like to take this moment to retract any and all negative comments I have made over the last few weeks with regards to a potential Kelly Pavlik vs. Felix Trinidad bout. As you may recall, when I first heard the rumor that this fight was being discussed I became deeply depressed. I thought it would be a step back for Pavlik and would ultimately prove nothing.

Then, I read that Pavlik-Taylor II only generated 225,000 pay-per-view buys and, instantly, I saw the light. If Felix Trinidad can get 500,000 people to pay 50 bucks to watch him lose to Roy Jones Jr. I bet he can at least get 350-400,000 to purchase a Pavlik-Trinidad tilt. Maybe even more. It’s sad to say but Pavlik needs the rub. At this point, he won’t get it from anyone but Trinidad.

Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder if Kimbo Slice had anything to do with that low buy rate? Now, I know the Pavlik fight was on pay-per-view and Kimbo’s fight wasn’t but I also know a ton of casual fight fans who chose to watch Slice-Abbott over what was sure to be a great rematch between Pavlik-Taylor.

When The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale‘s pulled in a great rating on Spike on the same night as Mayweather-Hatton (1.8 household; 2.8 in the Male 18-34 demo) it proved that there isn’t a huge crossover between MMA and boxing fans anymore (or ever was). However, this particular case may prove to be a little different because Slice is more popular to the general Joe Sports Fan than Pavlik and Taylor combined. Sad, I know, but true. However, Pavlik is way too good to have only 225,000 buys attached to his first title defense.

Bob Arum must learn from the Kimbo Phenomenon and if he wants to expose Pavlik to the world he needs to match him up against a personality and icon like Tito Trinidad. Fans buy fights to see fighters they love or hate get it on. For the most part, they prefer flash over substance. That’s why the UFC did whatever it had to do to sign Lesnar and are passing on the likes of Matt Lindland. That’s why UFC 81 will highly surpass UFC 82 in PPV buys. It’s also why Kelly Pavlik should fight Felix Trinidad as soon as he can.

What’s Next For Kimbo & Kelly?

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:

Logical:
* 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.

Longshot:
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.

Stupid:
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.

Mornin’ Muesli: 15 Random Thoughts From An Amazing Saturday Night

img_8304-slice-vs-abbott-01.jpg

1. Kelly Pavlik is no flash in the pan

2. Miami sure does love them some Kimbo. What an amazing crowd

3. Even in defeat, that was Jermain Taylor’s best fight as a pro

4. Tank Abbott must be a Ric Flair fan

5. Other than the fact that there were no knock downs, I enjoyed the second Pavlk-Taylor fight better than the first

6. Ok, we’ve seen Kimbo fight two tomato cans. Now it’s time for him to fight some stiffer competition. Sean Gannon, anyone?

7. Nice to see a solid undercard on a boxing PPV

8. For Yves Edwards to be truly “back” he needs to fight a top-20 contender. Until then, I just don’t buy it

9. James Thompson needs to rethink the way he starts fights

10. Brett Rogers and Scott Smith should share KO of the night honors. Still not sure which one was better but both men looked great.

11. Very disapointed in Antonio Silva’s performance. In fact, props to Ricco Rodriguez. Hopefully this helps him get his life back in order

12. Bill Goldberg needs to take it down a notch. He is way too aggressive and I hate the fact that he is so visible in the cage after the fights. When the fighters are giving each other props he shouldn’t be jumping in there too.

13. Enough with the DJ after fights. And while we’re at it, enough with making the fighters wear EliteXC hats too. It’s so weak.

14. What’s with all the Shamrock vs. Kimbo talk? Aren’t we in agreement that if Shamrock defeats Buzz Berry next month that he should then fight his brother, Frank?

15. If Pavlik really does fight Trinidad next I will truly fall into a deep depression.

Will The Ghost Of Jermain Taylor Return?

One of the most anticipated boxing rematches of the last few years is just over 24 hours away and I, for one, can’t wait. Of course, it’s Pavlik vs. Taylor II. The last time we saw these gents they were engaging in arguably the 2007 fight of the year which saw the pride of Youngstown, OH, Kelly Pavlik, beat up on Jermain Taylor and, as a result, snatch away his Middleweight title.

Sadly, Taylor exercised a clause in his contract so tomorrow’s rematch will be fought at 166 lbs instead of 160 meaning the belt won’t be on the line. Weird, I know. And while I also know boxing titles are pretty much useless these days this fact still kind of bugs me. Just doesn’t seem right but, oh well, we are getting the rematch while the first epic is still very fresh in our minds so I can’t complain too much.

As always, Mr. Large (not to be confused with Mr. Big of Sex And The City fame) from No Mas and The Sporting Blog took a stroll with me in The Park to break down tomorrow’s mega-fight. We also discussed:

* Alexander Povetkin’s victory over Eddie Chambers a couple of weeks ago

* Should Chambers move to Cruiserweight?

* What’s next for Povetkin?

* Carlos Quintana’s shocking Welterweight title victory over Paul Williams

* Williams’ extreme weight gain before the bout

* Is it smart for Quintana to fight Shane Mosley next?

* Will lightning strike twice for Pavlik

* What does Taylor have to do to win this time around

* Will Taylor regret not having Manny Steward in his corner

All that and we even discuss a little Bute vs. Joppy! You had to know that I would somehow find a way to talk about my countryman.


Large – 02/15/08

JarryPark’s 15 Moments Of ’07 – #14: The Ghost Of Youngstown

For the next couple of weeks, JarryPark.com will countdown the 15 most memorable combat sports moments of 2007. Some will be positive while others will be negative. Some will have happened in a ring or cage while others on the outside. Every day, we’ll feature a single moment as we bid adieu to ’07. As we present each moment, feel free to agree or disagree with any of our selections in the comments section below.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering why we chose fifteen the answer is quite simple: You take the “7” from ’07 and the “8” from ’08, add them together and you get 15. Duh.

#14: The Ghost Of Youngstown
What: Kelly Pavlik defeats Jermain Taylor to capture the WBC and WBO Welterweight title
When: September 29, 2007
Where: Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ

You know it was a busy twelve months in combat sports when arguably the best boxing fight of the year comes in at number fourteen. What a fight! Few fans had Kelly Pavlik on their radar going into 2007 but he is now one of the brightest young stars in the sport. The 25-year-old dismantled Taylor in this particular bout but will have to do it again in just a couple of months as both men will face each other in Las Vegas. Strangely enough, their rematch won’t be for the 160-lbs Middleweight titles Pavlik snatched away from Taylor in September but at a catch-weight of 166-lbs (this is Taylor’s doing, by the way). How the mighty boxing title has fallen. That said, if their February 16th, 2008 bout can offer half the excitement their first showdown did we have an early candidate for fight of the year.

Further Enlightenment:
With Upset Of Taylor, Pavlik Sheds Years Of Obscurity [USA Today]
Pavlik’s Win Kicks Off Exciting Fights This Fall [ESPN]
The Unfriendly Ghost [No Mas]