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.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?