The title fight between Aiken boxer Paul The Punisher Williams and undefeated middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik has been postponed and possibly canceled.
Pavliks promoters at Top Rank Boxing claim that a lingering staph infection in the WBC/WBO champions right hand has forced a postponement of the highly anticipated Oct. 3 fight in Atlantic City, N.J. Two dates that Top Rank mentioned as alternatives, Nov. 21 and Dec. 5, are not available with the TV networks, and the fight may be cancelled if a suitable date cant be found.
The news that came out in a press release Monday night before a schedule Tuesday promotional press conference caught Williams promoter Dan Goossen by surprise.
If a release was sent stating that Pavlik was fighting November 21, I would be very interested in finding out who hes fighting, Goossen said in a release. As were all aware, weve just learned of Pavliks decision to cancel the press conference and thus the fight, and we will evaluate where we go from here.
The news is frustrating to the Williams camp, as the three-time world champion has struggled to find top-caliber opponents willing to fight him in any weight class from welterweight (147 pounds) to middleweight (160).
They say theres something wrong with his hand, said George Peterson, Williams trainer of Pavlik.
Pavlik postponed and then canceled a summer bout with Sergio Mora citing the same injury, and many speculated that he used it as an excuse to get out of a matchup and payday he wasnt happy with.
The Williams-Pavlik fight was expected by many to be the fight of the year between two young champions in the prime of their careers. Williams is eager to get in the ring with a fighter of Pavliks caliber.
From this fight he was going to get his proper due, what weve been so long awaiting, Peterson said. Its put on the back burner and again well have to ride tall in the saddle until we get another situation. Our training camp has been the best that weve had in 11 years. But it doesnt do any good if we dont have an opponent.
HBO has set aside Oct. 3 for Williams, and his promotion team will research trying to find another opponent for that spot in the schedule. A decision is expected to be made before the end of the week, but the speculation is that Pavlik and Arum are having second thoughts about the matchup and are trying to get out of the fight.
Top Rank understands the risks involved with fighting Williams. It took a court resolution for Williams to get his mandatory WBO welterweight title shot against Arums Antonio Margarito in 2006, which Williams won in a unanimous decision.