Arum planning Pavlik-Rubio bout in September

Updated: April 13, 2008, 2:39 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik's first title defense happens this summer but that hasn't stopped Top Rank promoter Bob Arum from making plans for second title defense.

Pavlik is scheduled to make his first title defense against Wales' Gary Lockett (30-1, 21 KOs) on June 7 at Boardwalk Hall. Arum told ESPN.com on Saturday night he has made a deal for Pavlik's second defense.

If Pavlik (33-0, 29 KOs) beats Lockett, a mandatory challenger and underdog, he will next face Marco Antonio Rubio (41-4-1, 36 KOs) of Mexico on Sept. 27, Arum said.

Arum added that he would like to bring Germany's Arthur Abraham to the United States to defend his version of the title on the undercard to set the stage for a Pavlik-Abraham showdown in late 2008 or early 2009.

Arum, in Atlantic City promoting Saturday night's Miguel Cotto-Alfonso Gomez card, said he met with Rubio's representatives here on Friday and made a deal.

"That's the plan we have," said Arum, who would like to put the fight on HBO, which will carry the Lockett bout and has aired Pavlik's last four fights. "Rubio is a tough opponent and a good puncher."

Arum said he intends to stage the match in Ohio because Pavlik is a Youngstown native. He would like to hold the fight at Cleveland Browns Stadium but is unsure if the date is available pending the release of the Browns' schedule.

If he can't hold the fight there, Arum said Quicken Loans Arena, which is home to the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, is an option.

Cameron Dunkin, Pavlik's manager, told ESPN.com that he is on board with Arum's plan.

"We're fine with it. We're just waiting to hear where it's going to be," Dunkin said. "But we have got to get by Gary Lockett first. We don't like to look ahead, believe me. I won't even really talk to Kelly about it until after the Lockett fight. That's the way he is. Kelly doesn't want to talk about it because he takes every opponent very seriously. He is not overlooking Lockett. But if things go our way, we're fine with Rubio."

Rubio has won seven consecutive bouts, including a seventh-round TKO of Jose Luis Zertuche in February. A year earlier, Pavlik stopped Zertuche in the eighth round.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.