Pavlik eyeing June title defense against Duddy

By Larry Fine
Tuesday, December 11, 2007; 4:34 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik hopes to defend his titles against Briton John Duddy in June, promoter Bob Arum said on Tuesday.

Pavlik, 25, claimed the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization belts last September by stopping American champion Jermain Taylor in the seventh round in Atlantic City.

"We're looking at defending against Duddy in June," Arum told a news conference to promote a non-title rematch for Pavlik against compatriot Taylor on February 16 in Las Vegas.

Pavlik took his record to 32-0 with 29 wins within the distance in his victory over Taylor.

Northern Irishman Duddy, 23-0 with 17 knockouts, also has a February test to pass first.

Duddy, who outpointed former European champion Howard Eastman of Britain on Saturday, is signed to fight American Matt Vanda, 37-5, on a February 2 Madison Square Garden card featuring the WBC heavyweight title bout between Russian Oleg Maskaev and Nigerian Samuel Peter.


First up for Pavlik will be Taylor in a fight at 166 pounds as stipulated by a rematch clause in the original deal sought by Taylor, who had planned to move up in weight.

Their dramatic, action-packed first clash saw Pavlik floored and wobbly in the second round before storming back to stop previously unbeaten Taylor, who fell to 27-1-1.

"There's going to be fireworks in the ring, just like the first fight," Pavlik told reporters. "You know what's going to happen in the next fight.

"I'm going to be there, I'm going to throw a lot of punches. What am I going to do that's different? Nothing."

Taylor, on the telephone from Little Rock, Arkansas, where his wife, Erica, gave birth to their third child on Monday, said he was looking forward to the rematch.

"He fought a great fight and I have all the respect in the world for him but he did take something of mine," said Taylor. "I have a lot to prove to everybody and I'm going to do it."

Their first tilt was named Fight of the Year by the WBO, which also named Pavlik as Fighter of the Year.

Taylor promoter Lou DiBella said after the Pavlik bout that his boxer would continue as a super middleweight or light heavyweight.

(Editing by John Mehaffey and Ken Ferris)

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