ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Unbeaten Kelly Pavlik (31-0, 28 KOs) gets the shot he's been waiting on for years when he challenges champion Jermain Taylor (27-0-1, 17 KOs) for the WBC middleweight title at Boardwalk Hall in a fight being broadcast live on HBO. Here are the keys to victory for each man:
Keys to victory
1. Get busy: Pavlik throws a high volume of punches, but if Taylor does the same, it will not only limit Pavlik's opportunity to throw but it might also present an opening for a hard counter shot.
1. Left hand high: Pavlik can't be sloppy and leave his left at his waist, because Taylor hits hard enough to make him regret it.
2. Stay off the ropes: Taylor gets into trouble when he lays on the ropes. That would allow the hard-hitting Pavlik to tee off. Taylor needs to keep the fight in the center of the ring.
2. Don't wrestle: Grappling on the inside could wear Pavlik down. He has a long, lanky frame and should try to fight at a distance, which will also put Taylor at the end of his punches.
3. Overhand right: Pavlik's left often hangs dangerously low. It's an opportunity for Taylor to connect with one of his best punches, the overhand right.
3. Lead with the right: Pavlik needs to mix things up occasionally and the best way to do that is to lead with his powerful right more than once.
4. Start quickly: This is Pavlik's first time in the intense main event spotlight. If he's affected by the jitters, Taylor can best capitalize early.
4. Spin away: After Pavlik finishes a combination, he shouldn't stay and wait for Taylor to fire back. He needs to end his combination and then pivot away from Taylor, forcing the champion to reset and chase him.
Rating the fighters
Comparison of Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik on a rating of 1 to 10 in several key categories:
Pavlik has one-punch KO power.
The jab is a crucial punch for both men in this bout.
Both like to head hunt.
Speed and quickness
Pavlik's hand speed could surprise Taylor.
They're offensive fighters.
Taylor has never been down.
Pavlik wants to get the fight into the late rounds.
Taylor hasn't looked good in his three fights with Emanuel Steward.
Taylor has a point to prove to his critics at home in Arkansas.
Close fight that either man could win, but expect to see Taylor escape with a unanimous decision.