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Kelly Pavlik Talking Comeback, Fight Against Golovkin

BY Michael Woods ON April 09, 2014
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KELLY PAVLIK 460a3

If Kelly Pavlik never again entered a prize-fighting ring, if his July 2012 win against Will Rosinsky is indeed his farewell to the sport, then he can look back on his run with pride.

The former middleweight champion, who snagged the WBO version from Jermain Taylor in 2007, hung up the mitts last year. He cited health reasons when he exited the stage in January 2013, and assured the planet that he was done, that he wanted to let his 40-2 (34 KOs) record stand static.

"Why take the chance of medical problems?" he stated in his exit interviews at the time.

He'd been slated to embrace maybe the sternest challenge of his career, a scrap against super middleweight champ Andre Ward on Jan. 26, 2013, but the fight was postponed and then scrapped, because of a Ward injury. Pavlik said the postponement was a blessing, because it gave him time to assess his past, present and future. Goodbye, boxing, he decided.

Now, it appears he may have undecided.

The fighter took to Facebook to reveal that he's still got an itch, and he just might scratch it. Late on Tuesday night, the night owl, now 32-years-old, wrote, "Really people thinking about making a come back vs ggg is possible let me know fans if u think i should make this happen?" It being Facebook, that they did. Many friends and "Facebook friends" said he had nothing to prove, and should stay on the sidelines. Many said they backed this play, and would love to see him tackle Golovkin, the baby-faced banger who himself just turned 32 on Tuesday. A couple accused him of being in the cups, on the sauce, and urged him to re-visit the issue when sobriety beckoned. No, said the ex hitter, who has long battled issues stemming from alcohol use, and was in court to face a DUI charge from a Dec. 13 arrest, this isn't idle bar-room chattering.

Now, his retirement period couldn't be called a period of serenity and tranquility, judging by periodic news reports. The onetime hope and pride of Youngstown, Ohio, who today possesses a love-hate relationship with that community, was busted, and tagged with a theft charge after he and a cabbie got into a difference of opinion. The cabbie drove Pavlik home from a night out in September 2013, and said Pavlik refused to pay a $25 fare. On Jan. 31, Pavlik collapsed in a court appearance for that incident, and word was he suffered some sort of seizure. From afar, it looks like, just maybe, idle time is the consummate devil's playground for the heavy-handed banger, who has done a couple rehab stints to confront substance abuse. Perhaps the ring, with the structure and support which comes from working toward a concrete goal, is more of a safety zone than some would assume. The boxer was on a four fight win streak following a 2010 loss to Sergio Martinez, who confiscated Pavlik's middleweight crowns.

I reached out to Pavki, via Facebook, for clarity, and am awaiting a response. I also reached out to a rep from Team Golovkin, the promoter Tom Loeffler. What about it, would Golovkin and his crew entertain a fight against the former middleweight champ? "We would have a much more than theoretical interest in a Golovkin-Pavlik fight," said Loeffler, who has been working on finishing up terms for a July fight between Golovkin and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. "He would still be very viable, and the fight could be at either 160 or 168 pounds. The Chavez Jr. fight isn't done yet, but that would be the perfect fight after Chavez."

Readers, talk to me. Get into our Fabulous Forum, and weigh in on that fight, and a Pavlik comeback. Good idea? Bad idea? Weigh in!

Follow Woods on Twitter.

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Comment on this article

amayseng says:

I was a fan of Pavlik, but he is quite disappointing not only as a boxer but as a father. Once you have kids its time to put them first and grow up. The mind is strong, with the proper help and effort, and will he could have conquered his demons.

I think boxing will be good for him. It is structured and keeps him out of trouble.

However, GGG would not be good for him, he would be beaten into retirement. yet again.


Come back against a few contenders and I am agreeable.

Radam G says:

The itch is a bytch. It never goes away. He may be back. He may not. But it mostly depends on how much money that he still [sic] got.

It is prize fighting. For the right amount of moolah, he will do it again. Holla!

deepwater2 says:

I think the lamp post he punched out punched him back too hard. Boxing is always a place to redeem oneself but he is out of it talking about fighting ggg at this point. The plan could be this:
1 quit drinking and no pills
2 get out of Ohio and move into a studio by Robert Garcia's gym
3 run and spar against all comers
4 line up a fight against a can
5 evaluate performance against the can
6 do it again
7 do not visit Ohio
8 stay off the bottle
9 fight a fringe contender and look good
10 spar top guys
11 keep going to support meetings
12 call out ggg and good luck
The deepwater 12 step program.

Carmine Cas says:

I think the lamp post he punched out ,punched him back too hard. Boxing is always a place to redeem oneself but he is out of it talking about fighting ggg at this point. The plan could be this:
1 quit drinking and no pills
2 get out of Ohio and move into a studio by Robert Garcia's gym
3 run and spar against all comers
4 line up a fight against a can
5 evaluate performance against the can
6 do it again
7 do not visit Ohio
8 stay off the bottle
9 fight a fringe contender and look good
10 spar top guys
11 keep going to support meetings
12 call out ggg and good luck
The deepwater 12 step program.


Lol nice plan, he might have been on the sauce saying he wants to come back and fight GGG.

If Pavlik can get himself in check and return back to boxing why not? But do not start with the baby face killer

the Roast says:

Kelly Pavlik is like the boy who cried wolf. It's just one too many times to believe anything he says. He's coming back, he's retired, he's drinking, he's sober. I like Deep's plan. Get away from your hometown and go to work KP. Time is slipping away.

the Roast says:

Kelly Pavlik is like the boy who cried wolf. It's just one too many times to believe anything he says. He's coming back, he's retired, he's drinking, he's sober. I like Deep's plan. Get away from your hometown and go to work KP. Time is slipping away.

The Commish says:

I love the Deepwater2 plan. I always thought Pavlik had it all, but soon found out he didn't have the one things guys like Floyd Mayweather, GGG, Andre Ward, Wlad Klitschko and other greats have--discipline. They have it. Pavlik doesn't. Oh, he may have it for a few days, but then he falls apart.

Deep, you are so right. Pavlik has to get the hell out of Dodge (in this case, Youngstown) and I don't mean for two or three weeks. As for the sauce, he has to leave that in the hands of the sportswriters.

I've gotta' believe Pavlik would need several months in the gym, and then two or three tuneup fights before he can climb in the ring against GGG. The earliest I can see a fight with GGG happening is around this time next year. Anything sooner would mean a thorough and total beatdown of Pavlik.

Still, it's an interesting thought.

Let's see what Pavlik does with this.

-Randy G.

brownsugar says:

I was a fan from the beginning... Living just 75 miles away from Youngstown I have been proud of the middleweight from the Beautiful Buckeye State... Early in his career I called every body I knew and had them tune into his classic rumble with Miranda... In a fight where he bullied the bully. Months later I called them again to urge my fellow fight fans to watch Pavlik take the title from the Golden One -Jermaine Taylor...
Those were the days my friend...
Then Pavlik was publically humiliated by BHop who looked like total crap in his previous 2 fights.
Pavlik didn't take it well and his secret vices gained control of his life.

His addiction will be with him forever... But like the solar plexus, the weak spot that sits in front of the diaphragm.... He can build around it .... Until the weak spot is diminished to the point it no longer becomes a matter of constant concern.
In that regard Boxing can be a therapeutic means of overcoming his problem with alcohol.
As mentioned by the Commish and Deep, he'd be a fool to jump right in with GGG... without taking some tuneups and relocating.
He's still gonna lose anyway.. but its better to go out in competitive fashion with some measure of dignity, than to be humiliated again by giving into a dillusional whim.

gibola says:

Kelly - stop, no and don't! More important than appealing to an ex-champ who got out at the right time, I would appeal to the TV companies to see sense and refuse to put up the money to make the fight happen. If Pavlik is serious, let him earn it with a series of wins over contenders - then I'd have no problem (though I'd rather he retired). Coming out of retirement, covered in rust, to fight GGG is a ridiculous idea and would be purely for the payday.

The Shadow says:

I was a fan of Pavlik, but he is quite disappointing not only as a boxer but as a father. Once you have kids its time to put them first and grow up. The mind is strong, with the proper help and effort, and will he could have conquered his demons.

I think boxing will be good for him. It is structured and keeps him out of trouble.

However, GGG would not be good for him, he would be beaten into retirement. yet again.


Come back against a few contenders and I am agreeable.


Well said.

The problem with Pavlik, it would appear, is that when his life has structure, he performs. But he needs comfort to excel.

Which kinda leaves him in a no-man's land. Not that I know, just from what I can see from afar with no knowledge whatsoever other than observation!

That said, at this stage of his career and life, he cannot have both. One will eat at the other.

He had (forced) structure with Garcia in Oxnard, yet needed the comfort of home -- so he left. He had comfort at home, but needed the structure -- so he drank.

If he wants to come back, he should follow Amayseng's Juan Diz blueprint, live off interest, ifhe has any principal, start his career ALL OVER AGAIN facing overmatched opponents for peanuts so he gets used to the routine of training and performing, while, and this is the important thing, figuring out which component -- structure or comfort -- he can live and excel with.

He definitely should not get in the ring at this stage with Glovkin, Ward or even Jermain Taylor while boozerd up.

He will get slaughtered.

Moral of this story?

Promoters, don't feed your young champ to Bernard Hopkins.

The Good Doctor says:

Is GGG becoming the poor man's Floyd Mayweather? It seems like anybody with a name or that wins a fight near his weight wants to fight him.

The Shadow says:

I think the lamp post he punched out ,punched him back too hard. Boxing is always a place to redeem oneself but he is out of it talking about fighting ggg at this point. The plan could be this:
1 quit drinking and no pills
2 get out of Ohio and move into a studio by Robert Garcia's gym
3 run and spar against all comers
4 line up a fight against a can
5 evaluate performance against the can
6 do it again
7 do not visit Ohio
8 stay off the bottle
9 fight a fringe contender and look good
10 spar top guys
11 keep going to support meetings
12 call out ggg and good luck
The deepwater 12 step program.


I dig that, I dig that. Sounds right. Dr. Deep to the rescue.

brownsugar says:

Is GGG becoming the poor man's Floyd Mayweather? It seems like anybody with a name or that wins a fight near his weight wants to fight him.


Very astute observation Good Doctor ....although with his all action style and high Ko percentage....GGG is poised to generate an obscene amount of revenue if he continues his winning ways.

The Shadow says:

Is GGG becoming the poor man's Floyd Mayweather? It seems like anybody with a name or that wins a fight near his weight wants to fight him.


I think it's because they're seeing how much hype he's getting from smashing guys other world champs faced in their 11th fight.

GGG is good, don't get me wrong. But his best performances have come against one fringe Top 10 guy and a loudmouth puncher who barely escaped vs. some unknown Bahamian in his 30's with less than 15 fights.

Real fighters know the real.

They know he's good. But they also see stuff. And they see that he's about to graduate to the crime of the crop, the crime de la crime, HBO PPV.

I know Andre Dirrell wants that fight REAL bad.

He thinks he can beat him. I think he can, too.

He's done it before. GGG acknowledges that much.

Funny thing how a guy goes from most avoided to most chased in a few months as his popularity has soared.

Should tell you that "fear" is at the bottom of your list of criteria when taking a fight.

MONEY TALKS, BABY!

brownsugar says:

I think it's because they're seeing how much hype he's getting from smashing guys other world champs faced in their 11th fight.

GGG is good, don't get me wrong. But his best performances have come against one fringe Top 10 guy and a loudmouth puncher who barely escaped vs. some unknown Bahamian in his 30's with less than 15 fights.

Real fighters know the real.

They know he's good. But they also see stuff. And they see that he's about to graduate to the crime of the crop, the crime de la crime, HBO PPV.

I know Andre Dirrell wants that fight REAL bad.

He thinks he can beat him. I think he can, too.

He's done it before. GGG acknowledges that much.

Funny thing how a guy goes from most avoided to most chased in a few months as his popularity has soared.

Should tell you that "fear" is at the bottom of your list of criteria when taking a fight.

MONEY TALKS, BABY!


Would love to see Dirrell fight anybody,... his brother too, but I think I misunderstood something, correctly me if Im wrong, but GGG holds victories of Dirrell, not the other way around if that's what you were saying.

Anyway, Somebody get Dirrell back in the ring, Stat,...... If he's still got boxing in his blood.

The Shadow says:

Would love to see Dirrell fight anybody,... his brother too, but I think I misunderstood something, correctly me if Im wrong, but GGG holds victories of Dirrell, not the other way around if that's what you were saying.

Anyway, Somebody get Dirrell back in the ring, Stat,...... If he's still got boxing in his blood.


They're 1-1, although Dirrell's defeat is somewhat disputed (by the US camp, of course lol). Happened during the Olympics, semifinal I believe.

GGG has said himself that Dirrell is one of the best, if not the best, that he ever fought. Which I guess is pretty obvious when you look at his record.

Dirrell is much better than Bute, by the way.

The Shadow says:

And he still wants to fight. Like Billy Dib, Celestino and others, Dirrell got caught in the crossfire.

Add to the regrettable idiocy of leaving Team Haymon.....this dude is a joker.

I think EM did an interview with Dirrell on the Boxing Channel? Check it out.

kenhissner says:

Are you out of your mind? To come back after being off for 2 years against the most feared fighter in all of boxing? Pavlik was my favorite fighter when he retired and today its GGG. No way would I want to see that fight.

stormcentre says:

They're 1-1, although Dirrell's defeat is somewhat disputed (by the US camp, of course lol). Happened during the Olympics, semifinal I believe.

GGG has said himself that Dirrell is one of the best, if not the best, that he ever fought. Which I guess is pretty obvious when you look at his record.

Dirrell is much better than Bute, by the way.


(Andre) Dirrell has mad skills but is yet to put them together under pressure and on the seriously big stage.

He did give 3G serious problems and laid somewhat of a blueprint in how to at least befuddle him - but then as you say 3G has beaten him (in the amateurs) and vice-versa.

A prime Kelly Pavlik would - for a while at least - give 3G something to think about.

Golovkin certainly wouldn't wade in without regard for his face the way he currently does; if Kelly used those long arms, distance and his leverage properly.

I just hope we get to see Dirrell take some serious steps towards contention and a title soon.

And I hope Golovkin fights someone that presents a serious challenge soon as well, as there are plenty out there for him.

The Commish says:

I think the lamp post he punched out ,punched him back too hard. Boxing is always a place to redeem oneself but he is out of it talking about fighting ggg at this point. The plan could be this:
1 quit drinking and no pills
2 get out of Ohio and move into a studio by Robert Garcia's gym
3 run and spar against all comers
4 line up a fight against a can
5 evaluate performance against the can
6 do it again
7 do not visit Ohio
8 stay off the bottle
9 fight a fringe contender and look good
10 spar top guys
11 keep going to support meetings
12 call out ggg and good luck
The deepwater 12 step program.


I love your program. Unfortunately, I am not sure, from all I have heard from those who really know Pavlik and have been around him, if he can past stage one of your program!

-Randy G.

brownsugar says:

This thread ......although a very good one...is already 4 months old ....during the past 4 months the only thing my fellow Ohioan has ordered..... Is another shot.....not a shot at the title...another shot of the sauce.

Froggy says:

I will drink to that !

The Commish says:

After a few phone calls, it doesn't look like there's anything to this story. Apparently, Pavlik is in no shape--physically or mentally--to launch a comeback.

It's too bad, because if he could come back--all the way back--it would make quite a compelling story. In reality, though, these type of stories rarely have a happy ending.

-Randy G.

oubobcat says:

I will say this. Though it probably won't happen say in the next few months, I am very confident we will see Kelly Pavlik in a boxing ring again.

At some point in time, he is going to miss the spotlight and more importantly the money. Regardless of what anyone may think of what his skills will be, he is marketable. He gets a couple gimme wins and bam proclaims himself ready for the big time. His phone will be ringing off the hook then from many opponents looking to fight someone who brings drawing power to the table, eyeballs to the tv sets and frankly would probably look to be a very beatable fighter.

Think about it...though he may not be coming back today or tomorrow he will at some point. We have not seen the last of Kelly Pavlik.

The Commish says:

I will say this. Though it probably won't happen say in the next few months, I am very confident we will see Kelly Pavlik in a boxing ring again.

At some point in time, he is going to miss the spotlight and more importantly the money. Regardless of what anyone may think of what his skills will be, he is marketable. He gets a couple gimme wins and bam proclaims himself ready for the big time. His phone will be ringing off the hook then from many opponents looking to fight someone who brings drawing power to the table, eyeballs to the tv sets and frankly would probably look to be a very beatable fighter.

Think about it...though he may not be coming back today or tomorrow he will at some point. We have not seen the last of Kelly Pavlik.


Sadly, you are probably right. He will get in the gym, take a few fights, flatten each guy, then proclaim he is "ready for a title shot." Most recently, we have Shannon Briggs running around, challenging Wladimir Klitschko, who would love an opportunity to pound Briggs the way his brother did.

Yeh, Pavlik will be back. He may even get that title shot.

When he does, it won't be pretty!

-Randy G.

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