Fresh off the biggest win of his career, Billy Lyell is looking toward bigger and better fights. After beating previously unbeaten WBO#2, WBC#3, IBF#6 “Irish” John Duddy (26-1) this past Friday, Team Lyell is exploring viable options for Lyell’s next middleweight bout which includes trying to land a fight with WBO and WBC middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik. Lyell’s manager, Pat Nelson, has been bombarded with offers since the fight with Duddy ended. Nelson states, “My phone was ringing before we left the ring. Most notably, we’ve been offered a rematch with Duddy this summer in Dublin, Ireland. Also, offers have come from Golden Boy Promotions and Sauerland Event, the German based company who promotes IBF middleweight champ Arthur Abraham. However, a fight with Pavlik seems to make the most sense.”
Team Pavlik had been considering Duddy as the champ’s next possible opponent. Now, NABC middleweight champion Billy Lyell (19-7) has obviously placed himself in the middleweight mix. Lyell states, “After beating the #2 middleweight in the world, I feel that I deserve a shot at a championship. I have been boxing my entire life, and my goals are no different than any other professional boxer. Ultimately, I hope that the hard work and committment will lead to a world championship opportunity.”
Others in boxing agree. Former IBF lightweight champ, Harry Arroyo is one of them. Arroyo states, “To be fair, Kelly should give Billy a shot. After Kelly beat then #2 Edison Miranda, he was awarded an opportunity at the title. Why not Billy? It makes perfect sense.” Arroyo is no stranger to fights between locals not being made. In the 80’s, a much talked about matchup between WBA champ Ray Mancini and Arroyo never came to be and left thousands asking ‘Why?’.
One reason that a Pavlik-Lyell fight may never take place is that both Billy Lyell and Kelley Pavlik have the same trainer, Jack Loew. Nelson adds, “It’s problematic. Jack has trained both men since they were boys. Indeed, Jack would have to prepare Kelly to punish or even knock out Billy. That would be a difficult thing for any decent human being to handle. Although I truly empathize with Loew’s situation, boxing is rarely about compassion. It’s a business and a sport involving champions being challenged by contenders, and in this case Youngstown has both.
Nelson envisions a title fight at Youngstown State University’s Stambaugh Stadium sometime this summer. A local title fight matchup could also give a boost to the struggling local economy in Youngstown. “Keeping our money in Youngstown is important. Spending our diminishing disposable income in New Jersey would be a shame.” added Nelson. Pavlik is tentatively scheduled to face Sergio Mora in Atlantic City in June. Mora is presently coming off a loss at 154 pounds. “In my opinion, Lyell is better than Mora and undeniably better than Duddy, states Nelson. “Why should Ohio residents travel and spend money to see a fight in Jersey while a viable challenger walks the streets of Youngstown?” Nelson added.
A former welterweight contender and stablemate of Pavlik and Lyell agrees. Kenny Sigurani feels that both boxers deserve recognition and opportunities. Sigurani states, “Another world title fight in the area benefits all of us. No matter what happens in a Pavlik-Lyell title fight, the money and the middleweight titles will remain in Youngstown.” Hopefully, reasonable minds will prevail, and another championship match in Youngstown comes to fruition.