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NO MIDDLING IN THIS WEIGHT CLASS.

Byline: ROBERT MORALES BOXING

Promoter Bob Arum made a statement this week that, at best, came off as rhetorical.

``I think Kelly Pavlik is the best middleweight out there, including Jermain Taylor,'' Arum said Tuesday. Arum, chairman of the board of Top Rank Inc., was in town to formally announce the Jan.27 card at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Pavlik will take on Jose Luis Zertuche of Mexico in the 12-round co-feature. HBO will televise it, and the super flyweight fight between former flyweight champion Jorge Arce of Mexico and Julio David Roque Ler of Argentina.

By the time Arum made his lofty assessment of Pavlik, he had already been told by a Daily News reporter that fellow promoter Lou DiBella had issued a challenge to Pavlik in regards to one-punch knockout artist Edison Miranda.

Like Pavlik, Miranda is a legitimate top-10 fighter. Miranda doesn't have the prettiest style in the world, but he is 27-1 with 24knockouts, 17 in the firstround.

Miranda is ranked No. 1 by the International Boxing Federation, No. 5 by the World Boxing Council and No. 3 by the World Boxing Organization. He knocked out Willie Gibbs in the first round last Saturday, then proceeded to call out both Taylor and Arthur Abraham, the IBF champion.

Abraham handed Miranda, of Colombia, his only loss last September in Germany. Miranda broke Abraham's jaw, but Abraham still won a unanimous decision because Miranda had fivepoints deducted during the fight.

DiBella, who promotes Taylor, said that Miranda is not yet ready for Taylor. Furthermore, he said Miranda's accomplishments against mostly mediocre competition do not warrant him getting a shot at Taylor's WBO and WBC belts.

So DiBella had an idea.

``I think Jermain would slaughter (Miranda), but that's not the issue,'' DiBella said Tuesday via telephone from New Jersey.

``The issue is, I don't think his resume demands it. I think style-wise, there are a lot of other good fights I can make for Jermain.

``And Miranda, you want to put Miranda in a great fight, let him prove himself against a Kelly Pavlik kind of guy -- if Kelly Pavlik's man enough to take that kind of fight.''

Pavlik, just 24, is from Youngstown, Ohio. He is tall at 6-foot-2 1/2 and he has a sparkling record of 29-0 with 26 knockouts. He is ranked No. 2 by the WBC, No. 4 by the World Boxing Association, No. 5 by the WBO and No. 9 by the IBF.

``Kelly Pavlik will fight anybody,'' Arum said. ``He is not going to wait around for Jermain Taylor. But I'm not going to put Kelly Pavlik in a fight like that (against Miranda) unless it is on HBO or Showtime and the money is good.''

Let's not kid ourselves. Neither DiBella nor Arum really want their fighters having anything to do with Miranda. He may be awkward, but Miranda has devastating power. He is just the kind of fighter who can knock out anyone, such as a Taylor, who is having trouble living up to his potential, his championship status notwithstanding. Or a Pavlik, who has not faced anyone who hits anywhere near as hard as Miranda.

DiBella, however, isn't buying all the hype. He had his own special comparison regarding Miranda.

``Here's what I think of Edison Miranda: Ricardo Mayorga without the drugs and his bad living,'' DiBella said. ``He's an interesting story, he's totally one-dimensional, he has no clue how to box. If you don't have a chin and you can't box, then you got no chance.''

DiBella did admit, however, that as a fan, he wants to see more of Miranda ``because anyone that has that one assassin punch, is fun to watch.''

The difference between Miranda and Pavlik is that Miranda can at least say he has been in with one true world-class fighter in Abraham. And there are more than a few who believe Miranda got ripped off in that fight.

Pavlik's ledger is completely void of any world-class opponents.

In his last fight last month, Pavlik knocked out Lenord Pierre in the fourth round. Pierre would have difficulty cracking a top-100 ranking.

As recently as the middle of last year, Pavlik, in back-to-back fights in June and August, knocked out opponents who were a combined 21-25-3.

Miranda-Pavlik would be very appealing. Two budding middleweights with tremendous power. It's the kind of fight promoters need to make and not worry so much about their fighter getting a loss.

Taylor-Miranda would be even better. But something tells us that Arum and DiBella are going to avoid Miranda as long as possible. But Pavlik better worry about Zertuche before anyone else. Zertuche is 19-3-2 with 14 knockouts and he might well be the toughest opponent to date for Pavlik.

Chambers rises in heavyweight ranks

Rob Murray Sr. has worked with a number of top fighters over the years, including middleweight great Bernard Hopkins, as both are from Philadelphia.

But Murray told the Daily News on Friday that he believes Philadelphia heavyweight Eddie Chambers is superior to anyone with whom he has been connected in this sport.

``This is the most talented fighter I have ever been involved with,'' said Murray, Chambers' manager, via telephone from Philadelphia.

Chambers was signed last week to a promotional contract with Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions in Sherman Oaks.

Goossen Tutor will co-promote Chambers along with Rob Murray Jr., president of Score America, a much smaller company.

``Dan having presence on Showtime and HBO, when he speaks, people will listen,'' Murray said. ``They are not going to listen to my son like they are going to listen to Dan Goossen. He has the presence we need to put Eddie out there.''

Chambers, 24, is 27-0 with 15 knockouts. His highest ranking comes from the International Boxing Federation, which has him No. 15. The first thing one notices when scanning his bio is that he is 6-foot-1, but his fighting weight is usually in the 215-pound range. He has fought as high as 220 but as low as 207.

In this day of the large heavyweight, it makes one wonder how he will compete should he rise into the top 10 and beyond.

``I guess the big thing people are saying about Eddie is that he's got a lot of talent, but you know, his size,'' Goossen said. ``I've been around a lot of heavyweights. Some have that gigantic size and some have what you might call the size of the great heavyweights from 30 years ago, 20 years ago.

``I've seen a lot of 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7, 250-, 260-pound heavyweights that I believe couldn't hold a candle to Eddie Chambers.''

Goossen has known the Murrays for years. He said they kept him abreast of Chambers' progress, and then Goossen decided to see for himself. So he put him on a Goossen Tutor card last August in Reno, Nev., and Chambers responded with a fifth-round technical knockout of Domonic Jenkins, a journeyman from Dallas.

``I was sold lock, stock and barrel as soon as I saw him in the ring,'' Goossen said. ``He's an exciting offensive- and defensive-minded fighter who loves to fight.''

Goossen said he is working on getting an opponent for Chambers for a fight that would be televised Feb. 9 on ESPN.

With 15 knockouts in 27 fights, Chambers has a mediocre knockout ratio. But Murray said there is so much more to this young heavyweight.

``He has very sharp eyes, real good hand speed, real good foot speed and he has a real good knowledge of what he is doing in the ring,'' Murray said. ``He has a very good chin, he is hard to hit and he punches in combinations.''

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With his one-punch knockout power, Edison Miranda, left, might be the middleweight no one wants to face.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 23, 2006
Words:1311
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