Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao

Boxing Analysis: Pavlik's Rehab, Pacquiao-Marquez III and More

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Written by Nick Tylwalk

Though there was boxing on TV this weekend, HBO and Showtime are quiet as the sport takes a short breather before the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley card next Saturday.

That being the case, it's a perfect time for some...

SHOE SHINING

* Twenty years from now, one of the most interesting boxers to look back on from this time will undoubtedly be Kally Pavlik. As the former middleweight champ readies to return to the ring as a super middleweight on the Pacquiao-Mosley undercard, it will mark the start of the latest chapter in a career that has seen almost equal parts triumph and tragedy. At least Pavlik's alchol rehab went well.

Or did it?

Two of the most respected boxing writer around saw it differently. I've often thought that Pavlik's public and private personas were more distinctly different than any other current fighter, and it may not be until he hangs up the gloves years from now that we figure out which one held more truths...

* I guess good things really do come to those who wait. At least that seems to be the case for Juan Manuel Marquez who apparently will get his wish in the form of a third fight with Pacquiao this fall.  It's a bout that makes sense assuming Floyd Mayweather continues to be an unwilling and/or unavailable opponent for Pac-Man, especially since Andre Berto's recent loss took him out of the running. A win by JMM would add an exclamation point to an already stellar career, while a decisive Pacquiao victory should silence some of his critics who felt Marquez won one or both of their first two fights. I'm sure some haters will say Marquez is too old though...

* It's been a weird week for Baltimore Ravens safety turned pro boxer Tom Zbikowski, who failed the pre-fight drg test following his fourth career win last Saturday, then passed a more thorough test this week. I don't know Tommy personally or anything, but I find it hard to believe he would have been smoking marijuana recently considering his team has him fighting every few weeks. As for his "day job," it appeared Zbikowski may have to report back to football when a judge put the kibosh on the NFL lockout a few days ago, but it's now back in effect. Like I said, weird week...

*  Kevin Iole's current column about the CBS-Showtime promotion of Pacquiao-Mosley is definitely worth a read. It's interesting to see that the deal was born as much out of frustration with HBO as a desire to shake things up on Top Rank's part, but the motivation really doesn't matter in the end. Even before reading the piece, my gut feeling was that the numbers for the fight will be huge. Pacquiao is becoming a true worldwide icon, and his status among casual sports fans - people who don't know and may not even care about the lack of danger posed by some of his recent foes - only grows as he continues to win. And we all know that Mosley has never been a huge draw, but he does have name recognition among the general public. Numerous people who don't usually mess with boxing have been asking me about the fight, so it seems like the buzz is definitely building. Imagine if Mosley defies the odds and makes it a thriller...

* It's a repeated theme in my blogging that the thing holding back the current group of under-30 American boxing stars is not a lack of talent - there's actually plenty of that - but their collective inability to draw big crowds. Here I'm thinking of Timothy Bradley, Andre Ward and Berto (until he was starched by Sergio Martinez, I would have included Paul Williams as well). It's a definite problem, especially when it's a factor in complicating proposed fights like Bradley-Amir Khan. Is the answer better marketing of young fighters? Is it a lack of larger-than-life personalities or the absence of real rivalries until boxers already have world titles? Is there anything that even can be done about it? If I knew the answers to those questions, boxing would be ten times as popular as it is now, and I'd be czar of the sport in the U.S. for life.

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