Wednesday 20 September 2017

Boxing: Shock Pavlik defeat leaves Irish pair's title dreams in tatters

Thomas Myler

BOXING being a totally unpredictable sport, it looks as though the world title plans of two of our leading middleweights John Duddy and Matthew Macklin have been scattered like tenpins in a bowling alley.

New York promoter Bob Arum of the powerful Top Rank organisation had been in talks with the managers of Duddy and Macklin for one or the other to face Kelly Pavlik for the world middleweight title in September.

But the American has now lost his title in an upset to the Argentinian southpaw Sergio Gabriel Martinez. Pavlik, favoured to repel the challenge of Martinez in defence of his WBC and WBO belts, was outboxed and outpunched by the challenger.

There was a return fight clause in the contract which Pavlik's people are fully expected to take up. But that could take up to several months to take place.

All of which leaves Duddy and Macklin hanging round for a world championship that might not even happen. As it is, no contracts have been signed. "We are fully committed to give Pavlik a return fight," said Martinez's promoter Lou DiBella. "The fight would not necessarily have to take place in the US. But I'm afraid the names of Macklin or Duddy have not come up."

Before the Pavlik fight, Macklin's manager Brian Peters had arranged to have talks in Atlantic City with the American's connections but that scene has now changed dramatically.

It now seems likely that Macklin and Peters will change their focus of attention to the IBF and WBA world middleweight titles, both held by Germans -- Sebastian Sylvester, the IBF champion, who has won 33 of his 36 fights and Felix Sturm, the WBA champion, who has 32 wins, two losses and a draw.

Meanwhile, Duddy is in hard training in New York for his scheduled 10-rounder against the Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Junior in San Antonio, Texas on June 26.

Short Jabs

FORMER two-time world heavyweight champion Herbie Hide may be a big favourite to win the Prizefighter cruiserweight competition in London tomorrow, but the only Irish contender Darren Corbett has others plans. The Belfast veteran, with 28 wins in 34 fights, reckons his big punching will win out.

Elsewhere, Dublin promoter Phil Sutcliffe has an attractive card lined up for the Citywest Hotel on Friday, May 28 but he is looking for a sponsor. Interested parties should contact Sutcliffe on 0879719193.

Meanwhile, Irish Junior Cadet Championships get under way at the Stadium tomorrow and continue on Saturday and Sunday.

Irish Independent

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