Aside from Pacquiao, another Filipino fighter from Mindanao will again showcase his talent against a still unnamed opponent. Richie Mepranum will fight in the junior bantamweight division. He will be the lone Filipino in the under-card. The scene stealer actually will be a super middleweight match between former world champion Kelly Pavlik and “The Contender” superstar Brian Vera.
Pavlik (36-2, 32 KO) served a major notice to the public when he annihilated on July 7, 2006 former WBO junior middleweight champion Bronco McKart by sixth round TKO in his first defense of his NABF middleweight title. McKart scored a knockdown when both of Pavlik’s gloves touched the canvas in the fourth round. Pavlik knocked McKart down twice in the sixth round before the referee stopped the fight.
Brian Vera (17-4, 11 KO), who is from Forth Worth, Texas, is expected to be cheered by the partisan crowd.
Vera attended Westwood High School and lettered in football, a sport he had played since a child in Pop Warner. His brother, Gilbert “Boogie” Vera is also a professional boxer and his Father was a two-time IBA champion in the Heavyweight division. Vera began his professional career in 2004 and would go onto get some big wins over Etienne Whitaker and Samuel Miller.
He is one of the featured boxers on the third season of the boxing reality TV series, The Contender, The Contender (season 3), which premiered September 4, 2007 on ESPN. Vera suffered his first professional loss in the opening fight of the contest to the shows runner-up Jaidon Codrington.
Recently, Vera fought undefeated and highly touted prospect Andy Lee. In a fight that he was supposed to lose according to most critics, Brian Vera pulled up the upset win and TKO Andy Lee in the 7th round. Though the TKO was questionable by many, Andy Lee’s face was beaten and swollen compared to Vera’s face which had no bruising. Vera also has losses to James Kirkland, and Craig McEwan.
Pavlik headlined in his hometown at the Covelli Centre on November 2, 2006 and put on a dominant performance against Lenord Pierre. Pavlik scored a knockdown with a right hand late in the first round, and rocked Pierre repeatedly in the second and third rounds. Pavlik knocked down Pierre again with a left hook in the fourth round and the referee stopped the fight.
On January 27, 2007, in Anaheim, California, Pavlik defeated Jose Luis Zertuche by eighth round knockout in his second and final defense of his NABF middleweight title. It was a fast-paced, exciting fight that concluded when Pavlik landed a right hand that froze Zertuche in his tracks and then landed an uppercut that dropped him face-first to the canvas.
Pavlik defeated Edison Miranda on May 19, 2007, by TKO in the seventh round. The fight was a WBC eliminator bout. This fight established him as the #1 middleweight contender. During the sixth round, Pavlik knocked Miranda down to the canvas twice. After the first knock down, Miranda spat out his mouthpiece, causing referee Steve Smoger to deduct a point. As the sixth round ended, Miranda seemed unable to continue, but came out nonetheless. In the seventh round, Pavlik trapped Miranda in a corner with a barrage of vicious shots, forcing Smoger to stop the fight.
In Atlantic City, New Jersey, in front of a pro-Pavlik crowd (approximately 6,231 Youngstown natives made the trip), Pavlik defeated Jermain Taylor on September 29, 2007.
In the pre-fight build-up, Taylor’s trainer Emmanuel Steward went on record as calling Pavlik “overrated” and promising a knockout win for his boxer.
It nearly happened, as Pavlik was knocked down in the second round and tossed about the ring for much of that round. However, using his reach advantage and ability to trap opponents in the corner, Pavlik slowly turned the tide on Taylor. By the sixth round, many at ringside such as HBO commentator Larry Merchant saw the fight even. HBO’s unofficial scorer Harold Lederman even had Pavlik leading the fight at the halfway point. Despite this, he was trailing on all three official scorecards. In the seventh round, Pavlik stunned his opponent with a clean left hook to the chin and backed him against the ropes knocking Taylor out with a barrage of punches. With the victory, Pavlik became The Ring, WBC, and WBO middleweight champion. After the fight with Taylor, Pavlik and his father, Mike Pavlik Sr., accidentally left their paychecks in their hotel room. He was subsequently named The Boxing Times Fighter of the Year in 2007.
After the defeat, Taylor activated his clause for a non-title rematch, which was held on February 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with both fighter weighing-in at super middleweight. Pavlik won the fight by unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112, 115- 113), handing Taylor his second defeat.
Pavlik made his first title defense of the Middleweight Crown against WBO # 1 mandatory challenger Gary Lockett on June 7, 2008, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Pavlik defeated Lockett by third round TKO after Enzo Calzaghe, Lockett’s trainer, threw in the towel after Lockett was down for the third time in the fight.
In a nationally televised HBO non-title bout on October 18, 2008, 43 year-old Bernard Hopkins (49-5-1 with 32 KO’s) won a unanimous decision over Pavlik. Hopkins and Pavlik fought at the higher light heavyweight limit in a twelve-round non-title bout. Hopkins dominated the whole fight with multiple punch combinations, good defense and movement. Both fighters fought after the bell, and needed to be separated by their corners.
On February 21, 2009, his first bout after his humiliating defeat to Hopkins, Pavlik defeated Marco Antonio Rubio (WBC #1 contender) in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio at the Chevy Centre by ninth round technical knockout. Pavlik dominated the fight, forcing Rubio’s corner to concede the bout prior to the start of the tenth round.
Pavlik fought Contender alum Miguel Espino on December 19, 2009 at the Beeghly Center on the campus of Youngstown State University and won with a fifth-round TKO.
Following his win over Miguel Espino, Pavlik was set to fight Paul Williams. However, due to a major staph infection and an allergic reaction to some antibiotics that nearly killed him, Pavlik was forced to drop out of the fight. He was eventually able to fight again against the junior middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
On April 17, 2010, Pavlik attempted to defend his middleweight title for the fourth time against junior middleweight champion, Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City, NJ. The fight was for Pavlik’s WBC, WBO and Ring Magazine Middleweight titles. Pavlik was defeated by Martinez by a unanimous 12-round decision.
Martínez controlled the early rounds with quick in and out movements, refusing to heavily engage with Pavlik. Martínez managed to cut Pavlik’s left eyebrow in the first round. Pavlik then started to mount a comeback in the middle rounds by blocking Martínez’s punches more effectively. Pavlik spent most of his time headhunting trying to land a hard right, which did help Pavlik get a knockdown in the seventh round.
In the late rounds Martínez came back and started to open up Pavlik’s cuts more, making his face extremely bloody. In the post fight interview Pavlik said he couldn’t see due to the blood.
I can’t wait to watch this bout which will definitely steal the attention from the equally explosive main event.
By Rey Fortaleza