Will Kelly Pavlik return to the ring?
BY Robert Jackson – Before for MW Champ Kelly ‘The Ghost’ Pavlik’s unceremonious retirement last week he was on the verge of facing 168lb powerhouse Andre Ward. If not for Ward suffering a shoulder injury that fight was supposed to take place in January or mid February. But alas it was not meant to be, Ward who originally thought that resting that sore shoulder would be enough, sought a 2nd medical opinion after which he opted to have the shoulder surgically repaired.
This left Pavlik with no dance partner for early 2013. And probably in Pavlik’s mind the grind of his 10+ year pro boxing career was at a crossroads. Without a big name fight why continue? After losing to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez, Pavlik changed trainers – relocating to Robert Garcia’s camp, in an attempt to comeback from those loses and regain his stature in the sport. Facing and beating Andre Ward would have been the ‘icing on the cake’ and a return to the top for Pavlik. And afterwards the offers would come in: Froch , Kessler and Abraham, would’ve likely been on the short list for the BIG fights that Pavlik could’ve expected.
But as we’ve seen in previous years the 2013 boxing schedule is off with a bang, with the bad scoring coming early. Also ‘up in the air’ is whether fight fans WILL be able to see the fights we are looking forwards to in 2013. Along with that, many fighters have a change of heart and either decide to ‘hang em up’ or return to the ring for the right fight. Andre Ward will probably return to the ring early or mid summer but will probably want to test out that surgically repaired shoulder in a tuneup bout before moving on with his career to the big fights that he’s hoping for. So right out of the gate Pavlik won’t be able to face Ward, and The Ghost probably doesn’t want to fight any more journeyman fighters for short money as an undercard fighter.
What could work in Kelly Pavlik’s favor is the fact that Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler will be facing each other and that neither man has been looking forward to rematching Andre Ward who beat them both. Depending on whether his shoulder is solid, Ward could have a second fight in the Fall 2013 and Pavlik could be back in the mix to face the 168lb champion in a match the could decide whether Pavlik should continue his career…or not. It is also traditional in boxing for current fighters to call out a retired fighter to return to the ring and face them and this could be the case for the Froch/Kessler winner.
This writer doesn’t think that Pavlik will stay retired long, the competitiveness that Pavlik has shown throughout his career will bring him back to the ring for one last shot at the glory of professional boxing…and a nice payday too.