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Duddy's chances (or no chance) of victory against Pavlik?

On the undercard of Klitschko/Ibragimov, middleweight contender John Duddy fought Walid Smichet (I had to check fightnews to get his exact name right, which indicates just how unknown he is) and was lucky to escape Madison Square Garden with a W according to many of the journalists and viewers at ringside. During the telecast of Klitschko/Ibragimov, HBO showed some highlights of Duddy's fight and it appeared as though he was taking a really bad beating. He had suffered a number of lacerations on his face and had a really badly busted up left eye.

However, being the a NY fighter and knowing that a potential title fight with middleweight king Kelly Pavlik could potentially be on the horizon for June in that very same ring, the official judges awarded Duddy with a majority decision. The official scores were 95-95, 98-92 (twice). A fight between Pavlik and Duddy will draw the masses from the metropolitan area, possibly Ireland (knowing that Duddy is an Irishman who resides in the NY), and Youngstown OH, but judging from the highlights of Duddy's performance last night, that match up is also going to produce a one-sided massacre!

Kelly Pavlik is a world champion and the jury is still out as to whether Duddy is even world class. He's a hype job who has been carefully protected throughout his career, and taking on Pavlik would be going from a small mud puddle to the ocean. Such a move can almost be classified as career suicide. Based on the cuts on the Duddy's face, and the time it will take for them to heal, a June showdown with Pavlik is likely in jeopardy for the time being.

Klitschko outclasses and outpoints Ibragimov!

Wladimir Klitschko retained his IBF/IBO heavyweight titles and won the WBO belt by defeating Sultan Ibragimov with an extremely cautious, yet dominant unanimous decision win at Madison Square Garden.

Klitschko's primary weapon was the left land; he couldn't miss Ibragimov with that shot. So much for Ibragimov taking Klitschko's height away. As I said before the fight, Wladimir Klitschko is a tall man with amateur experience. Paul Williams is a tall man with no amateur experience and gave his height away when he lost to Carlos Quintana. Ibragimov was not as fortunate to accomplish the same feat tonight.

Occasionally Klitschko would fire his signature right hand that has put so many previous victims to sleep, but rarely did he fire that punch tonight. Even trainer Manny Steward expressed his disenchantment, implying, "you shouldn't even be going twelve rounds with this guy." Had Klitschko thrown as many right hands at Ibragimov as he did against Chris Byrd two years ago, my prediction of a 9th round knockout may have very well come true. Yet, Klitschko elected to fight a safety first fight and won on points instead.

Official scores were 119-110, 117-111, and 118-110. Boxing Chronicles scored it 119-109, giving Ibragimov round 1.

Heavy weight house cleaning Part I: Klitschko, Ibragimov meet tonight to unify two titles!

First heavyweight title unification fight since 1999!

Tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the universally recognized #1 heavyweight in the world, Wladimir Klitschko, will put his IBF/IBO belts on the line in a unification match with undefeated WBO titlist Sultan Ibragimov. Ibragimov is coming off two back to back wins over Shannon Briggs and Evander Holyfield. Klitschko has beaten the likes of Samuel Peter (who is challenging WBC champion Oleg Maskaev on March 8 in Cancun), Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock, and Lamon Brewster.

This fight marks the first heavyweight unification in nine years, the last one taking in 1999 between Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. For Klitschko, this is an opportunity to advance his status as the best heavyweight in the world on his march to the legitimate world heavyweight title. Ibragimov, on the other hand, hopes to use his amateur experience as well as his awkward southpaw style to derail the Dr Ironfist Express and make his own noble climb to the championship. Maskaev and Peter might have something to say about this, but first they must handle their own business on March 8.

Take the Klitschko/Ibragimov winner and put him against the winner of Maskaev/Peter and that, ladies and gentlemen and boxing fans, will give you the Universally recognized heavyweight champion of the world. First thing is first, Klitschko and Ibragimov must settle their business tonight at Madison Square Garden. Let's call it chapter one in what is so far two part saga to attempt to clean up the heavyweight division.

On ESPN Friday Night Fights last night, Teddy Atlas shockingly picked Ibragimov to win this fight. The reasons behind his prediction were his beliefs that Ibragimov would take away Klitschko's height and reach and force him to fight a little man's fight, using the method and strategy of the Carlos Quintana's upset win over Paul Williams a couple weeks ago as his analogy.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that is not always going to happen in fights between tall and short fighters. I would remind you that Williams also had no amateur experience, whereas Klitschko was a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist. Ibragimov had an extensive amateur background as well, so that truly makes this a case of good big man against good smaller man.

As I look at the one common opponent both of tonight's combatants share on their respective professional records, Ray Austin, I recall Ibragimov struggling to a split decision draw against Austin in July of 2006, while Klitschko virtually crushed Austin and made him look like an over matched sparring partner in less than two rounds. That is one of the many reasons why Klitschko is the favorite going into this fight. Not only for that reason, but also for the fact that he's faced the better quality of opposition and he has more professional experience than his opponent.

When two pugilists have extensive amateur experience, it can sometimes come down to size and professional experience. That is where Klitschko has an edge over Ibragimov. Klitschko is the bigger man. Bigger man, bigger punch.

Prediction: Klitschko by KO9.

Boxing Chronicles Scorecard: Pavlik/Taylor II

Here is how I scored the fight Pavlik/Taylor fight last weekend, round by round. If you have not yet seen the fight, be sure to tune in to HBO tomorrow night. The fight will be rebroadcast as part of a doubleheader with the live heavyweight title unification fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov. While watching, feel free to compare your score with that of the official judges, unofficial ringside score keeper Harold Lederman (who scored the fight 115-113 for Pavlik), and yours truly who scored the fight a draw:

Round 1: 10-9 Pavlik
Round 2: 10-9 Taylor Total: 19-19
Round 3: 10-9 Taylor Total: 29-28 Taylor
Round 4: 10-9 Pavlik Total: 38-38
Round 5: 10-9 Taylor Total: 48-47 Taylor
Round 6: 10-9 Taylor Total: 58-56 Taylor
Round 7: 10-9 Pavlik Total: 67-66 Taylor
Round 8: 10-9 Taylor Total: 77-75 Taylor
Round 9: 10-9 Pavlik Total: 86-85 Taylor
Round 10: 10-9 Taylor Total: 96-94 Taylor
Round 11: 10-9 Pavlik Total: 105-104 Taylor
Round 12: 10-9 Pavlik Total: 114-114

TOTAL: 114-114 (6-6)

Back from a long hiatus: Pavlik/Taylor II post fight wrap up!

Boxing fans, I have been away from this site for a while, but a new year has been upon for a month and a half now. Guess what? This year is picking up where 2007 left off in terms of big intriguing fights.

Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor fought their rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last weekend. The fight, which will be shown on HBO tomorrow night, was televised live on HBO PPV.

Let me start off by saying that I knew this fight was going 12 rounds. Very rarely do you see a great fight, which ended in a KO, end within the distance a 2nd time in a row. Usually, a rematch of a crowdpleasing fight that ended in a brutal stoppage is not as exciting and it goes the distance based on the improvements of both combatant's defense (especially Taylor is this case). As it turned out, Pavlik defeated Taylor for the second consecutive time. This time, however, it was by means of unanimous decision. The official scores were 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113. Watching this fight at my favorite local Sports bar Miami Mike's, I thought the fight was closely contested. Boxing Chronicles scored the fight a draw at 114-114. This fight was pretty much witin the neighborhood of 7-5 for either guy or a draw.

While Pavlik virtually outworked Taylor down the stretch in the final two rounds, Taylor boxed better the first nine rounds than he has in the last three years of his career. Scoring of the fight depends on whether the viewers liked Pavlik's sheer activity or Taylor's cleaner punching. I liked both respective attributes on the part of two world class pugilists. Hence, the draw on my scorecard. The official judges obviously went with the busier fighter. No argument on my end, nor should there be any argument from any of the fans or media. Even though he lost two in a row, the effort Taylor put forth to exact revenge did nothing to dampen or reduce his credibity.

I thought both guys fought a tremendous fight. In terms of a rematch living up to an original classic, that is about as close as it gets to matching the intensity, drama, and action as the fight. While it didn't quite match the brawl that they staged in Atlantic City last September, it was a highly entertaining and crowd pleasing rematch from my stand point.

Taylor's chin was never as weak as some people wanted to believe it was. It was not as though Taylor lost the first fight to Pavlik by stoppage because he had a weak chin. That's completely inaccurate. He lost because he was worn down by an accumulation of punches. Anybody who gets hit with about 20 right hands, clean on the noggin, is inevitably going to collapse. If Taylor's chin was ever as weak some people suggested, he would've been blown out by one punch. Pavlik landed a lot of punches over the course of the 19 rounds he fought with Taylor. Taylor would not have gone 19 rounds with a puncher like Pavlik if his chin was made of glass.

Where do both boxers go from here?

For Pavlik, it's a return to middleweight. His 166lb tussle with Taylor was merely a one night stand. According to Pavlik's promoter Bob Arum, Pavlik's next outing will be a defense of Middleweight Championship that will likely take place at Madison Square Garden in NY in June, either against John Duddy or Felix Trinidad. Pavlik vs Trinidad for the Middleweight Championship? So soon after Trinidad lost a fight to Roy Jones Jr at 170lbs last month? Knowing that Trinidad has fought three times in the last six years? We'll see if the governing bodies are willing to sanction that contest as a championship fight under those circumstances.

As for Taylor, he could find himself in the ring with Jones later this year. Either way, we can all be assured that Taylor's days at 160lbs are long gone. Look for him to campaign as a super middleweight when he does return to the ring again. After two grueling fights with Pavlik, Taylor is probably served taking some time off. From 2005 up until last weekend, Taylor has fought Hopkins twice, Winky Wright, Kasim Ouma, Cory Spinks, and Pavlik back to back. A rest is long over due for Taylor.