Quick hits: Pavlik's opponent, more

Updated: September 23, 2010, 2:18 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

There has been a change in plans for the comeback of former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.

Pavlik, who lost the title to Sergio Martinez via decision in April, will still fight in the co-feature on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito HBO PPV card at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but instead of facing Daniel Edouard as originally planned, he will face Brian Vera.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said they made the switch when concerns were raised about Edouard's fitness to fight. According to Arum, Edouard collapsed because of a blood pressure problem following a split decision loss to Alfonso Mosquera in his last fight in July in Panama.

"We had him examined and he passed, but the Panamanian commission filled us in on what happened about him collapsing after the last fight and we figured we didn't need the trouble," Arum said. "We'd just rather go in a different direction."

Giovanni Lorenzo, who dropped a decision to middleweight titlist Felix Sturm on Sept. 4 in Germany, was offered the fight with Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs), but turned it down.

The offer was "pretty light" and Lorenzo was concerned about taking an opponent of Pavlik's class so quickly after a hard title fight, Kurt Emhoff, Lorenzo's manager, told ESPN.com.

"We'd only have six to seven weeks to train after just a few weeks off," Emhoff said. "Obviously, that's not ideal timing for a fight with someone the caliber of Kelly Pavlik."

That's where Vera (17-5, 11 KOs), who is from Austin, came in. They'll meet at 164 pounds, according to Cameron Dunkin, Pavlik's co-manager.

Vera, a former participant on "The Contender" reality series, has lost four of his last five fights. The lone win during the slump was an upset third-round knockout of Sebastien Demers on his turf in Montreal on ESPN2. In March 2008, Vera pulled off a major upset, also on ESPN2, when he stopped Andy Lee, heralded prospect and 2004 Irish Olympian, in the seventh round.

"They got the contract back, so the fight is done," Dunkin said. "Tough fight. It's not the guy I wanted, but it was the guy [trainer] Jack Loew wanted, so we did it. I think it's a tougher fight than some of the other guys mentioned. It's a rough fight. I had James Kirkland fight him, so I know what Vera can do, and you know what he did to Andy Lee. He's a real fighter. Kelly has to be in shape and be prepared for a rough fight."

• Wladimir Klitschko's representatives offered former cruiserweight champ Jean Marc Mormeck (35-4, 22 KOs), who is 2-0 as a heavyweight, a shot at the title on Dec. 11. But Klitschko adviser Shelly Finkel told ESPN.com that Mormeck's asking price was much more than they planned to spend on an opponent, so the fight won't happen. Finkel added that Mormeck, whose heavyweight victories have come against Vinny Maddalone and Fres Oquendo in his last two bouts, said he might be able to deliver a lucrative site in Paris and the fight could happen in the spring. "If Mormeck brings a site, Wladimir would be very interested in defending the title in France," Finkel said. Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) knocked out Samuel Peter in their rematch on Sept. 11 for his ninth defense.

• Junior middleweight James Kirkland was slated to be released from a Texas prison on Sept. 17 and into a halfway house to serve the rest of his term, but the release has been delayed because of a lack of space at the halfway house, co-manager and attorney Michael Miller told ESPN.com. Miller said when a bed is cleared, Kirkland, 26, is expected to be released to the halfway house. While serving time at the halfway house, Kirkland will be allowed to train, Miller said. One of the most promising rising contenders in boxing, Kirkland has been in prison since April 2009 on a probation violation related to a gun charge near his home in Austin. Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) is supposed to make his return Nov. 6 in Newark, N.J., on the untelevised portion of Zab Judah's HBO fight against Lucas Matthysse.

• The grand re-opening of trainer Angelo Dundee's famed 5th Street Gym in Miami is set for Thursday. The old facility is where Dundee trained Muhammad Ali, among other champions. Scheduled to attend the ceremony are Dundee, Ali, promoter Don King, trainer Emanuel Steward and historian Bert Sugar. "It's an emotional time for me," Dundee said. "I put my heart and soul into the gym with my brother Chris. I'm proud that's its re-opening, and I hope they can catch some of the lightening in a bottle the way Chris and I did back in the day." Tom Tsatas, Dino Spencer and Matt Baiamonte spearheaded the project with the blessing of Dundee and his son, Jimmy. The gym opens to the public on Saturday.

• Nothing is final, but the working date for the rescheduled Carl Froch-Arthur Abraham Super Six bout on Showtime is Nov. 27, according to Sauerland Event, Abraham's promoter. The venue in Monaco, where the fight was scheduled to be on Oct. 2, is not available on Nov. 27, so either the date will change so Monaco can host or Sauerland will work with Showtime to find a new venue. The fight was postponed because Froch claimed he had a back injury.

• Bantamweights Jorge Arce and Lorenzo Parra, former world titleholders, fought to a draw in Culiacan, Mexico, on Saturday night in the "Top Rank Live" main event. The bout was announced as a draw, but no scores were read at the end of the broadcast. After the telecast went off the air, a scoring error was discovered that gave Arce (55-6-2, 42 KOs) a victory and Parra (31-2-1, 18 KOs) a loss. Top Rank told ESPN.com that another discrepancy was found, and the result was changed back to the draw it had originally been announced as. The scores were as follows: 95-95, 98-93 for Arce and 97-94 for Parra.

Quotable

"He can't talk his way into greatness. He needs to fight a name fighter." -- Emanuel Steward, who trains heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, on titleholder David Haye, who has ducked Klitschko and his brother Vitali, a fellow titleholder, for two years