Fight of the Day #5: Kelly Pavlik vs Edison Miranda

Setting the stage: Kelly Pavlik and Edison Miranda were the two leading middleweight contenders for champion Jermaine Taylor and they met in Memphis in May 2007 to get their title shot. This was an exciting collision course that I still remember all these years later. Pavlik came up out of Youngstown, Ohio and was featured a good deal on the now defunct Versus Network and had racked up a record of 30-0 with 27 KO’s and was knocking on the door of Jermaine Taylor. Miranda entered as a more proven fighter with a record of 28-1 with 24 KO’s and 21 of those KO’s in the first round. Miranda was a lethal puncher who broke out on ESPN with a seventh round technical knockout over title challenger Howard Eastman. Miranda had one hell of a story and was abandoned as a child and had to survive on the streets. He was so easy to root for and hope to succeed and he went to Germany to challenge Arthur Abraham for the IBF middleweight title and he was defeated by unanimous decision after numerous point deductions. Abraham also had to fight with a severely broken jaw, there was some controversy over the point deductions. Miranda rebounded by stopping Willie Gibbs inside the first round and took a ten round decision over the undefeated Allan Green where he survived a scare as he hit the canvas. He returned the favor by dumping Green on the canvas twice in the final round. In Memphis the event was headlined by Jermaine Taylor defending his title against 154 lb. titlist Cory Spinks. Taylor had defeated the legend Bernard Hopkins twice to win and retain the middleweight crown but his title reign failed to live up to the expectations of fans and pundits. He spent his reign facing 154 lb. fighters like Ronald Wright, Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks while two of his stripped titles belonged to popular German based fighters Felix Sturm and Arthur Abraham. Miranda was brash in the build up and spent more time talking about Jermaine Taylor and how he would knockout the champion perhaps looking past his tough challenge. Taylor had an outburst at the press conference when he was pushed past his limit and lashed out at Miranda.

This fight is Crunk.

Larry Merchant

The fight between Pavlik and Miranda was brutal but it was much more one sided than I could remember. Right off the jump Kelly Pavlik marched forward and looked to initiate a fire fight with the hard punching Miranda. His camp believed that the power in Miranda’s hands would vanish if he was forced to back up and counter. Pavlik bored in forward and continuously trapped Miranda on the ropes and Miranda really had no other option. He was not a slick mover and Pavlik was massive for the weight class and had a four and a half inch height advantage. Pavlik worked his jab, cross, and left hook to the body combination over and over. Occasionally Pavlik would be slow to bring his hands back and and left his head exposed to right hand counters but he ate them. Miranda had a late round one surge and Pavlik walked to the wrong corner but on further examination I do not think he was as hurt as I remembered. Pavlik poured the pressure on in the second round after Miranda’s corner begged him to keep his hands up. The results in the second, third and fourth round were more of the same with Pavlik pounding away on Miranda who sat on the ropes and tried to score in between the onslaught. The fifth round saw a last stand by Miranda as he waved Pavlik in and connected on a few hard right hands in the round. Again, Pavlik ate what got through and kept coming for more. In round six Pavlik floored Miranda and referee Steve Smoger took forever to put the mouthpiece back in and had to take Miranda to his corner and gave Edison a long recovery. It did not matter as Pavlik had Miranda on the floor again with little time remaining in the round. Miranda was finished but his corner let him go out there in the seventh round and Pavlik hammered him until Steve Smoger waved off the contest as a seventh round TKO for Kelly Pavlik.

Epilogue:

Kelly Pavlik would go on to win the middleweight championship just four months later at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. He also stopped Taylor in the seventh round which was waved off by referee Steve Smoger. Pavlik would go on to reign for two and a half years and make three successful title fights with two non title fights against former middleweight champions Jermaine Taylor and Bernard Hopkins. The Hopkins fight was a total disaster for Pavlik who was totally outclassed from beginning to end and he never regained the form he showed in 2007 when he won the title. He had a well documented drinking problem and that sank his career along with some other outside of the ring issues. He has since turned it around with his own podcast and appearances on other boxing media and the Joe Rogan Experience. As for Edison Miranda he was never the same after this fight and though he had a few more highlight reel knockout victories he ultimately got destroyed in the rematch with Arthur Abraham and lost nearly all of his high profile fights after this one. Maybe things would have turned out better if he was not sent out for the seventh. I will contend to this day that I still believe Miranda would have knocked out Jermaine Taylor had he gotten his opportunity but the world will never know.

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