Former world champion continues on comeback trail
By Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: Former undisputed world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik needed to look terrific tonight inside the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel and, more importantly, he needed to get some rounds in. Pavlik achieved the latter part of his second comeback fight; it took him seven full rounds to dispose of opponent Scott Sigmon. But in the process, “The Ghost” didn’t look quite like the dominant world beater he was just a few short years ago.
That being said, Pavlik dominated Sigmon for every minute of the fight and punished his nemesis throughout. Many figured that Pavlik would dispatch of his foe early in the duel but the Virginia-based fighter was much tougher than expected and forced Pavlik to earn his 34th career stoppage.
Throughout the contest Pavlik ripped hard left hooks to Sigmon’s body and peppered him with short counter left hooks and straight rights up top. Pavlik never appeared to be punching as hard as normally does, presumably a tactic of torture to teach Sigmon a lesson for the mountain of trash talk he threw at Pavlik in the days leading up to their fight.
Sigmon’s face slowly began to redden and puff up and by the end of the fifth, his nose and mouth were a waterfall of blood. Nevertheless, Sigmon refused to back down and continued to talk to Pavlik mid-fight and tried everything in his power to back the constantly-stalkingYoungstownnative away. His tactics never worked and it led to the fight being stopped between rounds seven and eight; he was taking a merciful beating and there was no point in continuing.
Though Sigmon was staggered a few times in the fight from counter left hooks, he was never in any real peril in terms of being taken out. Pavlik landed the vast majority of his punches, but the ultra game Virginian never stopped trying to steal Pavlik’s thunder.
“I wish I could’ve done better out there,” Pavlik, now 39-2, said after the fight. “I mean, I beat the kid to a pulp but I give him credit. He could take a punch; he can take a good body shot.”
Pavlik may have gotten his adversary out there sooner had he not engaged in such a phone booth-type of fight. He didn’t use his vast reach advantage as much as he probably should have and he never really turned on his punches with enough distance to deliver the crushing blows he’s become known for, something Pavlik acknowledged.
“I stayed on the inside a little too long, thinking he would get tired,” he admitted. “But the kid was in shape. Robert kept telling me to keep him on the outside and keep my distance and I think if I would have done that more I would have gotten him out of there sooner.”
Where this leads Pavlik is anybody’s guess. It’s far too early for him to jump in against one of the upper echelon fighters of the super middleweight division, but he is on the right track. He’s stayed sober and appears to have rekindled his love for both life and boxing and Pavlik knows it could be a long road to travel en route to reclaiming the status as one of the world’s best. Sigmon fell to 22-4 with 12KOs.
Local prospect Jessie Magdaleno simply overwhelmed opponent Carlos Valcarcel and stopped him in the opening frame of their fight. After a tentative two minutes, Magdaleno found a chink in the armor and bullied Valcarcel into the ropes. A straight left hand crashed home on the Puerto Rican’s jaw and the punch sent him onto the seat of his trunks.
Valcarcel (12-5-4, 5 KOs) was able to climb back to his feet, but as soon as he was allowed to continue, Magdaleno swarmed him and unloaded a frenzy of punches until referee Tony Weeks stepped in and called off the mugging. The official time of the TKO came at 2:25 of the very first round, allowing Magdaleno to improve to 10-7 with his seventh knockout.
Mike Lee, a young cruiserweight prospect who is gaining more and more notoriety seemingly by the day, had to earn his unanimous decision win against Eliseo Durazo. Though the former University of Notre Dame star dominated his opponent, Durazo was simply too tough to fold under the pressure.
Lee employed a vicious body assault that would have wilted weaker men, but Durazo kept coming forward regardless of how many brutal hooks to the body he absorbed. To his credit, Lee never appeared frustrated and continued to plug away, but his lack of raw punching power made it obvious that a sensational knockout on primetime television probably wasn’t going to happen midway through the bout.
Still, Lee (9-0, 5KOs) landed virtually every punch in his arsenal repeatedly and never came close to losing the fight. He had better speed, movement, and more power and he wound up cruising for six rounds and earned the lopsided decision; he won via tallies of 59-54 on all three scorecards. Durazo (3-3) was deducted a point in the third for repeated low blows.
There was plenty of confusion in the fight because after the fourth round, the fighters and their teams were notified that the fight had been switched from a four rounder to a six round affair, apparently mid-fight because neither camp seemed to know what was going on.
Also on the card:
Rudy Puga (3-0) knocked out Tommy Turner (2-2) at 2:19 of the second round; Gerardo Robles (18-10) won a majority eight round decision over Roger Gonzalez (27-6) via tallies of 75-75 and 76-74 (twice); Saul Rodriguez (4-0) unanimously toppled Kevin Davila (1-1) with scores of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37.
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June 8, 2012