Pavlik's staph infection postpones bout

Updated: August 17, 2009, 7:06 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik's Oct. 3 title defense against Paul Williams was postponed Monday because Pavlik is dealing with a nagging staph infection on the middle of his left hand, promoter Top Rank said.

A news conference in New York city to formally announce the fight was scheduled for Tuesday, but was called off Monday afternoon after a number of people involved in the fight had already arrived in New York, where they received the news.

The date for the much-anticipated fight -- which took weeks to finalize after a brutal negotiation -- to be rescheduled is up in the air, but the dates under consideration are Nov. 21 and Dec. 5, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN.com.

Top Rank and HBO both were OK with Nov. 21, as was host site Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

However, Dan Goossen, who promotes Williams (37-1, 27 KOs), also promotes super middleweight contender Andre Ward. Goossen is promoting Ward's title opportunity against Mikkel Kessler on the same night in one of the bouts that is part of HBO rival Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic.

"As you are aware, we've just learned of Pavlik's decision to cancel the press conference and thus the fight and we will evaluate where we go from here," Goossen told ESPN.com in an e-mail.

Goossen has yet to agree to Pavlik-Williams for Nov. 21, telling ESPN.com in a separate e-mail that if Pavlik was fighting Nov. 21, "I would be very interested in finding out who he's fighting."

Pavlik co-manager Cameron Dunkin, who flew to New York on Monday morning, was headed to Pavlik's hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, Monday afternoon to meet with Pavlik and his team.

"His knuckle is infected," Dunkin told ESPN.com just before boarding his flight. "It's all infected. It's worse than it was. He has to go on an IV drip starting in the morning and do it for the next couple of weeks to get it cleaned out. It needs medical attention. He can't put a glove on."

Dunkin said the issue has given Pavlik (35-1, 31 KOs) problems for the past "five or six months." He said Pavlik had stitches removed a few days ago and was due to see his doctor on Monday afternoon to be cleared before flying to New York for the news conference.

"Instead, he goes in there and it's worse," Dunkin said. "The kid missed three doctor's appointments and when he showed up it was worse. I'm going there to get this all straightened out, meet with [trainer] Jack [Loew], his father [co-manager Mike Pavlik] and to talk to the doctor. This should have been healed a week ago."

Top Rank chief Bob Arum was on his way to the airport in Las Vegas when he got a call from Dunkin telling him the fight had to be postponed.

"According to the doctor, Kelly hasn't been making his appointments. So what do you want me to do," Arum said. "They tell me it will heal and he'll be cleared in the next few weeks. It is what it is. What am I supposed to do? I have absolutely no emotion."

This isn't the first time Pavlik has had issues with the infection. In May, Top Rank said the infection was the reason a scheduled June 27 defense against former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora was canceled. Pavlik, who was in a contract dispute with Top Rank at the time, and his team dispute that the infection was the reason.

Pavlik hasn't fought since a dominant ninth-round knockout of Marco Antonio Rubio in his second title defense on Feb. 21.

Williams, a former two-time welterweight titleholder, owns an interim junior middleweight belt, but fought at middleweight on April 11. He scored a near-shutout decision victory against former undisputed junior middleweight champion Winky Wright.

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.

ALSO SEE