Youngstown, Ohio's Kelly Pavlik, who held a middleweight title from 2007-2009, and represented the hopes and dreams of a region struggling with a shift away from a manufacturing-based economy, told ESPN's Dan Rafael he is retiring.
The fighter, age 30, enjoyed a moment in the sun as a possible replacement for Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya, but since then dealt with a public struggle with alcohol, and was looking to re-energize his career at 168 pounds.
He had a fight set with pound for pound ace Andre Ward, but Ward's injured shoulder cancelled that plan. Now, Pavlik says his heart isn't in it, and he wants to start a new chapter, one that won't possibly result in compromised health down the line.
I had heard a rumor that something was up with Pavlik, and thought he might be leaving his current trainer, Robert Garcia. Two days ago, I asked Garcia if Pavlik was still with him. Yes, Garcia told me, he is, as far as I know. We're looking for another fight for him, the trainer told me.
"When you stay in the sport too long you have health problems. That's a big, big thing for me," Pavlik said to Rafael.
His record stands at 40-2, with 34 KOs. Manager Cameron Dunkin said he is happy Pavlik is exiting on his own terms.
The boxer, who was seen as a twofer with hometown trainer Jack Loew before they had a messy split, has seemed to struggle with desire issues for awhile; he pulled out an August 2011 fight against Daryl Cunningham four days before the Showtime bout was slated to occur.
A TKO7 win over Jermain Taylor in September 2007 will stand as his signature win.
I wouldn't be honest if I didn't share my thought that I suspect we will see Pavlik in the ring again.
I give it a year or less. He'll be back in the ring before too long. With all of his outside the ring issues, he'll probably need money. Hell, Mosley's retirement didn't last six months. I hope I'm wrong, but you guys all know how boxers are with retirements.