Pavlik-Espino Preview

Kelly Pavlik defends his middleweight titles this Saturday against Miguel Espino on Top Rank pay-per-view. Pavlik will be fighting in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio for the second time since becoming champion. The pay-per-view event will also include a co-feature lightweight fight from Toluca, Mexico between Humberto Soto and Jesus Chavez. The action begins at 9pm ET on Saturday night. Join Inside Fights for live coverage the night of the fight.

Kelly Pavlik vs. Miguel Espino
WBO/WBC Middleweight Titles

Kelly Pavlik, 35-1 (31 KOs), has had a polarizing run as middleweight champion. His biggest fights as middleweight champion have come in catchweight bouts in which his titles haven’t been on the line. His title defenses have come against less than thrilling opposition. A big title fight had been made between Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams for early December but Pavlik pulled out with life-threatening staph infection. Pavlik made a quick recovery and signed to fight Miguel Espino just two weeks after he was scheduled to fight Williams.

Miguel Espino, 20-2-1 (9 KOs), falls in the category of less than thrilling opposition for Pavlik. Espino has yet to lose since appearing on the first season of The Contender, an 11-fight win streak that is misleading due to Espino’s own lack of quality opposition. Espino will have to deal with a motivated Pavlik, who has a lot to prove after the negative press he has received in the last month.

Humberto Soto vs. Jesus Chavez

In the split-site co-feature, former super featherweight world champion Humberto Soto, 49-7-2 (32 KOs), makes his move up to the lightweight division to take on Jesus Chavez, 44-6 (30 KOs). Chavez is a former super featherweight and lightweight world champion but is becoming an elder statesman of the Mexican 135 pound fighters. As a result, Chavez has been in the ring with some of the best lightweight fighters. He was also involved in the fight that led to the tragic death of Leavander Johnson. Chavez hasn’t won a major fight since that day. If Soto is patient, he will find his opening. If not, this could prove to be an exciting scrap.

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