AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonArum, Pavlik’s promoter, said the perception many have for white fighters is partially responsible for Pavlik being overlooked. Another factor, Arum said, is Pavlik’s overall ability, which includes a powerful punch. Arum said that during a meeting with HBO executives about a year ago, he brought up Pavlik in an effort to try to get him a fight on the network. “They all laughed at me because there is a perception with boxing network guys, with boxing people, that if you are a white guy, you can’t fight,” Arum said Wednesday during a conference call. “But that is not the case with Kelly, and Kelly Pavlik will fight anybody in the middleweight division.” Ross Greenburg, president of HBO Sports, disputed Arum’s comments when contacted by this newspaper. He said Pavlik’s name has come up in the past, and that he would have no problem approving him as an opponent in a big fight. Pavlik has never fought on HBO, nor on one of Showtime’s main cards. Pavlik has fought on ShoBox, a minor-league version of Showtime Boxing designed for up-and-coming fighters. Pavlik also has fought on ESPN. Pavlik, 23, will take on Jose Luis Zertuche (17-2-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico on Jan. 21 on the undercard of Erik Morales-Manny Pacquiao II at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The card will be available on HBO pay-per-view, but Arum was quick to point out that HBO is only carrying this telecast. It is not paying for it. Arum is. Kelly Pavlik has not been able to crack the starting lineup on boxing’s two largest networks – HBO and Showtime – and Bob Arum said some of it has to do with Pavlik being white – an allegation vehemently denied by a cable TV official this week. Pavlik, of Youngstown, Ohio, is 27-0 with 24 knockouts. He is a top 10 middleweight whose highest ranking is in the World Boxing Organization at No. 3. “It is a disgraceful and undignified remark by a disturbed man,” Greenburg said of Arum’s comments regarding white fighters. “That is pretty much all we have to say. It is sad. This has nothing to do with race.” Arum went on to say he doesn’t believe the network executives mean any malice toward white fighters. “It is not that the people at the networks are bad people,” Arum said. “They judge (fighters) by their color or racial background, and the general tendency is that white guys can’t fight. Therefore, it is much tougher for a white guy to break through than if Kelly was a different race.” Race aside, Pavlik is just the sort of fighter a promoter of a champion might want to avoid. Not only does he have 24 knockouts in 27 fights, he is 6-foot-3, which makes him an even tougher nut to crack. Arum said he would like Pavlik to next fight Jermain Taylor, who holds three of the four middleweight belts, but doubts he can get the deal done – at least not until Pavlik becomes the mandatory challenger. Arum also said he offered Pavlik as an opponent to top contender Winky Wright, but that Wright’s promoter, Gary Shaw, “almost fainted” when Pavlik’s name was mentioned. “The guy we want to fight, who I’m confident he (Pavlik) can beat, is Jermain Taylor,” Arum said. “But here is the problem, and it’s a problem that permeates boxing: The Taylor people will not fight Kelly Pavlik at this point because they are afraid of him and they are afraid of him because he presents a real challenge. “He has tremendous knockout power. In boxing, if you have a champion, you try to keep him away from a puncher.” Pavlik, who said he is not looking past Zertuche to a shot at Taylor, Wright or anyone else, picked up the ball from Arum. He said it perturbs him when he hears people describe him as being a “good white fighter.” “It kind of upsets me a little bit,” Pavlik said. “I think I am just an overall good fighter. A lot of the networks, they don’t want to see a lot of white fighters because of the reputation that white fighters don’t win a lot of titles. “But if you look out there, there are a lot of good white fighters. White fighters are making a comeback.” Saturday’s Showtime card featuring Zab Judah defending his three welterweight belts against Carlos Baldomir has picked up some steam now that Judah, should he win, will fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. on April 8 in Las Vegas. But the card, as a whole, has the potential to be boring. Judah should easily defeat Baldomir. The other bout of note is a cruiserweight title unification fight between Jean Marc Mormeck and O’Neil Bell. Cruiserweight fights, at least those in this era, are often slow-paced and lacking in excitement. But Bell, who holds the International Boxing Federation belt, tried to pump some life into this fight with some trash talk during a conference call. “I am diverse,” said Bell, of Atlanta via Jamaica. “I must be able to adapt to whatever situation arises. If it comes to a point where I need to fight him backing up, I will. If it comes to a point where I need to go toe to toe with him, I will. “If it comes to a point where I need to set him up for a devastating knockout, I will.” Mormeck, the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association champion from France, scoffed. “He is going to have to fight because if he fights like he talks, it is going to be boring for everybody,” Mormeck said. “He needs to get known and earn respect from everybody. He should not try to get known here because he is not going to get known by fighting me. “O’Neil should just train and not talk too much.” The telecast begins at 9 p.m. from Madison Square Garden in New York. Joel Julio (25-0, 22 KOs) of Colombia will headline Friday’s ShoBox card from Cicero, Ill. He will take on Robert Kamya (15-5, 4 KOs) of Uganda in the welterweight main event. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2213 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!