Kelly Pavlik has yet to make his first middleweight title defense, but his promoter is already working on an historic bout that could help him make a record held by a boxing legend.
Promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday that he has had preliminary discussions about a bout between Pavlik, the unbeaten middleweight champion, and Joe Calzaghe, the unbeaten super middleweight and light heavyweight champion, with Frank Warren for a potential Pavlik-Calzaghe mega-bout sometime in November.
Arum said he plans to meet Warren in person next week in both New York and Atlantic City.
Pavlik will defend the middleweight belt on June 7 in Atlantic City against the Warren-promoted Gary Lockett.
If Pavlik, who is a 10-1 favorite, disposes of Lockett, Arum said he'd pursue a bout later in the year with Calzaghe, whose father, Enzo, trains Lockett.
Arum said a bout, if it were made, would be held at 168 pounds. That would give Pavlik the opportunity to hold the middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight titles simultaneously, becoming the only fighter other than Hall of Famer Henry Armstrong to do so.
Armstrong, who is widely regarded as one of the four greatest fighters in boxing history, held the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight titles simultaneously in 1937.
No one has done it since.
With no obvious major challenger remaining for Pavlik at middleweight – Arum said other options for Pavlik if he is successful against Lockett are Ricardo Mayorga, Marco Antonio Rubio and Arthur Abraham – Arum likes the idea of pursuing the big-money match against Calzaghe.
Calzaghe holds The Ring title belts at light heavyweight and super middleweight and also has the WBA, WBC and WBO titles at 168 pounds. Pavlik has The Ring, the WBC and WBO belts at middleweight.
If Calzaghe made 168 pounds, it would give Pavlik the opportunity to add all of Calzaghe's belts. If Calzaghe came in over 168, then only the light heavyweight belt could be at stake.
"It's a fight that we've talked about and it's a fight that may make a lot of sense," Arum said. "Kelly has no problem fighting at 168 pounds. Obviously, Frank is looking for a big fight to put Joe in and Kelly would qualify there."
Neither fighter has an exclusive television contract and Arum said he'd pitch it to CBS and NBC, as well as traditional boxing outlets such as Showtime and HBO. Arum said the fight would be a pay-per-view bout, but said that wouldn't preclude either CBS or NBC from doing some sort of a preview show.
He said one of the traditional broadcast networks "would do the show if they got something in return."
HBO has great success with its series "24/7," a show that previewed Floyd Mayweather bouts against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. Mayweather-De La Hoya did a record 2.5 million sales on pay-per-view, while Mayweather-Hatton has exceeded 900,000 buys.
Arum said promoters pay for shows such as "24/7" and the countdown series that HBO occasionally runs in advance of a major bout.
"There's no cost to them and it's great programming for them, as well," Arum said.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef said another advantage of the preview show is that the network will go to great lengths to market it.
If the bout can be signed, it would be one of the year's great matches and would be one of the classic boxer vs. puncher battles that have enthralled boxing fans. Pavlik is one of the game's hardest punchers and has knocked out 29 of the 33 men he's faced.
Calzaghe has 32 knockouts in 45 bouts, but isn't considered a one-punch knockout artist like Pavlik.
Former world champion Roy Jones Jr. has been mentioned as a potential Calzaghe opponent, but Jones is on the downside of his career. While such a bout would still have a lure because of Jones' name, it wouldn't match a Pavlik-Calzaghe bout for competitiveness and intrigue.
- Joe Calzaghe
- Kelly Pavlik