Tonight, boxing fans are in for what could potentially be one of the most important nights in a long time. We have two of the best known fighters in the world coming off of their first career losses. Fighters have always said that it's not getting knocked down that is the biggest challenge, it's how you react to that adversity.
Youngstown's own Kelly Pavlik was thought to be the next big thing in the world of boxing, and he still very well could be. Kelly was knocking people out and grabbing national attention with his powerful right and left hands. He was beating people that he wasn't supposed to beat, and doing it in impressive fashion. The record of "The Ghost" was a perfect 34-0 with 30 of those wins by knockout.
Enter the "Executioner" on October 18th of 2008. Bernard Hopkins is a legend in the fight game and the best middleweight of all time. Many people thought he was done and shouldn't be in the ring with the new kid on the block. Then there were people who thought it was a horrible fight for Kelly to take on ... and boy were they right.
On that October night, nothing went right for Kelly Pavlik. He was dominated in every way and lost every single round in what was a 12 round blowout. That fight was not for Kelly's middleweight titles due to the fact they fought at a catch weight of 170 pounds.
Many rumors surrounded Pavlik leading up to the fight. The weight was going to hurt him and that he was injured. Other reports said he was sick for two weeks and couldn't prepare correctly. To Kelly's credit, he never once made excuses , he just said he got beat by a better fighter that night.
The fact that Kelly Pavlik will be fighting in his hometown of Youngstown has to have him jacked up and ready to climb through the ropes. Standing in front of him will be a tough and gritty Marco Antonio Rubio.
This fight will be for Pavlik's middleweight belts at 160 pounds. I think boxing fans will be entertained by this main event fight. It has action written all over it. Pavlik will likely throw bombs and use his power to take advantage of the straight ahead style of Rubio.
Both fighters love to trade and the chins will be a huge factor tonight. I believe Kelly wants to put on a show as a thank you to his loving and very loyal fans in Ohio. Rubio is very aggressive and will be ready for the challenge. Tonight's fight will show what Pavlik is made of and just how hungry he is.
I expect Kelly Pavlik to come out and try to simply destroy Rubio. If he trys to sit back and counter punch he might be in for a close and tight fight. The more confidence Rubio is able to build up, the tougher he will be in the later rounds. Pavlik's power just might derail that and force him to do things he isn't used to doing.
The second part of the dual pay per view is another top fighter coming off of his first ever loss.
Miguel Cotto was bloodied and beaten by Antonio Margarito last year. Was it due to the illegal wraps that we now know Margarito tried to use against Shane Mosley? I have a feeling that is exactly what happened.
Cotto to me is a top five pound for pound fighter and will prove it against an unknown fighter in Michael Jennings. His vicious body attack will be on display in what should be a tune up fight. Look for Cotto to come out on a mission very similar to Kelly Pavlik.
Miguel Cotto will have his hand raised early and will be back on the winning track.
Two of the most respected fighters in the game will be on display tonight. Both of them are coming off of their first career losses and will look to show fans everywhere that they will be tough to defeat moving forward.
The two fights take place in different arenas but boxing is on the right track with two headliners on one pay per view card. The sport needs more events similar to this one if it wants to continue to grow. My biggest issue with the sport of boxing is the horrible undercards. Tonight is a start to fixing that.
Tune in for a treat. "Let's fight two."