Arum eyeing MSG for Pavlik title defense with Duddy
Although middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik has a rematch on Feb. 16 with former champion Jermain Taylor, it will take place at 166 pounds, as per Taylor's rematch clause from their original contract.
That means even if Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs) loses, he will still be the middleweight champ, and promoter Bob Arum is already looking ahead to Pavlik's first defense.
Arum told ESPN.com Thursday that he is planning that fight for Madison Square Garden on June 7, the night before the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York.
That has been the traditional date for another of Arum's stars, welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto. However, because Cotto will defend his title against "Contender" star Alfonso Gomez on April 12, he won't be available in June. So Arum is planning a Pavlik-John Duddy bout in the main event and said he will give the Puerto Rican fans a heavily Puerto Rican undercard, which means fighters such as junior flyweight champ Ivan Calderon and junior featherweight contender Juan Manuel Lopez figure to be on the show. Duddy (23-0, 17 KOs), who is from Ireland but living in New York, is big ticket seller in New York.
"I've met with the Duddy people. We had a nice meeting. He'll be Pavlik's next opponent. They want the fight," Arum said.
Arum added that he has been in conversations with Sauerland Event, the German promoter for middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham (25-0, 20 KOs), who could wind up in the co-feature against Main Events' promoted Giovanni Lorenzo (26-0, 18 KOs).
"I've talked to Sauerland's people and they'd like to have Abraham fight here," Arum said. "That's how we're moving -- to end up with a Pavlik-Abraham fight. Kelly wants to stay at middleweight in 2008. The only reason we're doing the over-the-weight fight is because of the crazy Taylor people. It's in the contract. We wanted to fight for the title."
HBO has also had conversations about putting Abraham on.
Arum said he has no TV deal in place for Pavlik's first defense but that HBO and Showtime are interested.
"I am in the beautiful position of not having Pavlik tied up with any network," he said. "We'll listen to the best offers and go from there."
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.
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