“It felt great to get back in there,” said WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik after his fifth round stoppage of very game WBC #3 Miguel Espino on Saturday night. “There was a little rust in there, but I tip my hat to the kid. He came to fight.” The champion said his injured left hand came through the bout in good shape. “It’s a little tender right now but no problems in the fight tonight. We threw hooks, we threw jabs, we threw body shots and it held up.”
Pavlik was originally slated to fight Paul Williams, first on October 3rd, then on December 5th, however when a lingering staph infection on Pavlik’s left hand would have postponed the fight a second time, the Williams Camp would agree to no more delays and chose to fight Sergio Martinez instead. Pavlik now wants to take care of unfinished business with Williams. “That’s the top name in the division and I want him,” stated ‘The Ghost.’
“We wanted him (before) and we ended fighting Hopkins because he pulled out of the fight. That’s why we jumped up two weight divisions because Paul Williams pulled out of the fight. This last fight we signed the contract a month before he did, unfortunately with the staph infection, which is medically proven, we couldn’t fight. But Paul Williams, you’re not the most feared fighter. You’ve got a guy standing right here in Youngstown, Ohio that wants you!”
Promoter Bob Arum added, “Kelly had a contract signed by Kelly and by Paul Williams to fight on December 5. Kelly’s hand didn’t allow that fight to happen. But the contracts were signed and I say this to those loudmouth guys with Williams. Just initial the contract. We’ll do it first thing next year. That’s all they have to do. The terms are set up. And if they don’t do it let them shut their damn mouths!”
Arum also mentioned the possibility of a unification fight between Pavlik and WBA champion Felix Sturm.
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Espino, who showed incredible heart in the bout said, “I’m mad at myself because [trainer John Bray] had a perfect game plan. But when Kelly hit me and I didn’t feel it that much, I said ‘the heck with the game plan, let’s rumble.’ That’s what I did. He caught me flush with uppercuts. I was never seriously hurt, but it is what it is.”