Kelly Pavlik was supposed to fight Darryl Cunningham in front of his hometown fans on Saturday night, a bout which was to be featured on Showtime. But the boxer put the word out yesterday that he was pulling out of the bout, leaving his promoter, Top Rank, surprised and more than a bit miffed.
The current World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 1-rated super middleweight contender, Pavlik (37-2 with 32 KOs; age 30) was to meet Cunningham at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, OH. Both the broadcast and the live event have been canceled. Ticketholders can get a refund by returning their tickets to the place of purchase.
“Top Rank is very disappointed at Kelly’s sudden decision to discontinue the rebuilding of his boxing career,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, Pavlik’s promoter. “Kelly’s team specifically outlined a strategy for Kelly to return to the ring in an effective fashion. Kelly’s team gave us their objectives and we set them on a course, which began last May with Kelly’s fight against Alfonso Lopez and was to continue on Saturday against Darryl Cunningham. It seems Kelly has derailed this plan.”
TSS reached Pavlik's trainer, Jack Loew, to learn more. Loew told TSS that Pavlik had talked to his manager, Cameron Dunkin a few days ago, and learned what he was to be earning in his next fight, which was to be against IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute. Loew said Pavlik learned he was to get around $1.1 million to meet the Canadian boxer, and he didn't care for that figure. The boxer was under the impression that Mikkel Kessler was offered around $3 million for the same assignment. So he took umbrage, and told Loew that he wouldn't fight Bute for that money, and if he wouldn't fight Bute, then he wouldn't fight Cunningham either, for that matter.
Did you ask him to reconsider, I asked the trainer.
"Yes, I did. He had his mind made up."
And will Pavlik fight again, period?
"I can't tell you that," Loew said. "Only Kelly can answer that."
The boxer had battled the bottle in rehab last year and was seeking to climb back up the ladder. He'd been in the news a few weeks ago, when cops were called to break up a fight between he and his brother. Cops said Pavlik had been drinking. He denied he was drinking.