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Kelly Pavlik To Leave Rehab Tomorrow, Anxious To Fight Again - Can “The Ghost” Make It Back To The Top?

By James Slater -It’s quite amazing to think how far Kelly Pavlik fell in the last couple of years or so. Back in 2008 he was the unbeaten middleweight champion of the world, and a big star the world over. Then came that big points loss to the crafty Bernard Hopkins, which in turn was followed by long bouts of inactivity, illness and injury/infection. There were also rumours of bar fights, caused primarily due to a growing dependency on alcohol.

Late last year, the alcohol rumours were proven to be correct, as the Youngstown hero checked into the Betty Ford rehab clinic. It has been reported on ESPN.com that Pavlik, 36-2(32) will come out of rehab tomorrow, and that he is “anxious” to get his boxing career back on track. It goes without saying how we all wish Kelly the best of luck with his plans. But can “The Ghost” make it back to anywhere near the top of the mountain?

Pavlik, despite his out of the ring issues, has never taken a real beating in a fight and at age 28 he is young enough to become champion again.. The real obstacle Pavlik will likely face will be of a psychological nature. Will Kelly truly believe he can do what he did before? It will be interesting to see which weight Pavlik returns at. Before his stint in rehab, he was set to face Bryan Vera at a catch-weight between middle and super-middleweight.

Pavlik was clearly nowhere near ready or able to go ahead with the November 13th fight, however, and the bout was scrapped. Now that he is ready to return to the ring, Pavlik would be wise to take it slow, with a number of low-key bouts against so-so opposition. The problem there though, is the fact that Kelly is a huge star. Will he be able to get himself small fights against journeymen, trial horse types? There may be a tendency for fans to want to rush Pavlik back into the big and important fights.

But Pavlik needs time and he needs to be allowed to feel his way back slowly. Not having boxed since his April 2010 points loss to Sergio Gabriel Martinez (not a bad showing at all by Pavlik, all things considered), the former middleweight king is sure to be rusty right now. Give him time, though, and “The Ghost” will be back, or close top being back, to his scary best.

Who knows, Kelly Pavlik might wind up winning Comeback of The Year for 2011.

Article posted on 03.01.2011



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