Kelly Pavlik, Not Lucian Bute, Should Be Getting Praise

Tyler CurtisAnalyst IApril 19, 2010

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - DECEMBER 19: Kelly Pavlik celebrates after defeating Miguel Espino for the World Middleweight Championship during their match on December 19, 2009 at the Beeghly Center in Youngstown, Ohio.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Being a professional boxer must be very confusing. The fans and media want you to fight the best available opponents.

If you don’t then you're considered a ducker. If you do and then lose you're considered no good. To please the fans and the media must be confusing as hell.

I bring this point up because Lucian Bute is getting praise heaped upon him, while Kelly Pavlik is considered done after his last loss. Of course the backing of HBO has helped Bute.

Pavlik falls into fighting top opponents and losing; Bute falls into fighting less than stellar opponents and winning. Bute seems to get a pass because the best are fighting in the Super Six.

Well, my problem is that Bute could have fought any of them before but did not. Bute has had a title since 2007 but has made no effort to fight the top super middleweights.

He beat Sakio Bika to put himself into position to fight for the IBF title and then beat Alejandro Berrio to win the title.

Since winning the title he has not made one defense against a top 10 opponent. Beating William Joppy, Edison Miranda, and Fulgencio Zuniga are not good defenses at all.

Joppy was about 500 years old when they fought. Zuniga and Miranda are both big punchers but they are not top 10 fighters and had little chance of beating Bute.

His best defenses were against Librado Andrade. He “won” the first fight and knocked out Andrade in the second fight. When Andrade is your best defense that is pathetic.

He is very tough but very limited. If the first fight wasn’t in Montreal he would have lost the title. Bute is very talented but he is not the No. 1 super middleweight.

I give Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, and Carl Froch a chance against him. Froch is the one that I would be worried about but he is super tough and finds a way to win.

Now, when you look at Pavlik everyone is convinced he is done. All he has done is win the middleweight title and fight the best available opponents.

He did have his Gary Lockett, Marc Antonio Rubio, and Miguel Espino fights. Those fights are inexcusable. Other than those fights he hasn't fought top opponents since 2007.

He beat Edison Miranda to gain a shot at the middleweight title. You may wonder why this is a good win for Pavlik and not Bute. When Pavlik fought him he was on a tear and many people believe Pavlik just beat the fight out of him.

He then beat a prime Jermain Taylor to win the title. He then beat him again in his next fight. He lost to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez in his other big-time fights.

The loss to Hopkins was totally unexpected. Although Pavlik knew he had trouble with slick boxers like Hopkins he signed on to fight Martinez.

He didn’t duck him. He could have fought Paul Williams or a lesser middleweight champion. He knew Martinez had a style he had trouble with and took it anyway.

The loss to Martinez shouldn’t spell the end of Pavlik. He does it old school. He fights anyone and he doesn’t worry about how his style matches up.

Also after the loss Pavlik did not give any excuses. He owned up to what happened and said he would like to fight Martinez again.

People shouldn’t be jumping off the Pavlik bandwagon and onto the Bute bandwagon. I will stay with the fighter who doesn’t handpick opponents so he can look good.