A decade ago, Kelly Pavlik was the undefeated middleweight champion of the world – and seemingly set for greatness. An incredibly heavy-handed warrior with a fierce fighting heart, a solid amateur background and a trusted team behind him, “The Ghost” as Pavlik was known (the nickname given to him when, as an amateur, he was so hard to hit), changed his style considerably in the pro ranks.
Some fighters, be they at the start of their career, at the middle or even coming towards the end, come back stronger after suffering their very first defeat, while other fighters are never, ever the same again after tasting the pain of losing.
Great fighters such as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bernard Hopkins and James Toney have over the years proven how there is so much more than holding an unbeaten record in boxing; each legend returning from a loss with a vengeance. However, some fighters, a number of them closing in on greatness at the time, were all but finished, at least compared to what they had been, after losing their “O,” their prefect record.
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.
By James Slater – By now, fight fans have almost certainly read or heard about former middleweight king Kelly Pavlik’s retirement announcement. “The Ghost,” 40-2(34) and just 31-years-old, told ESPN.com of his decisions, citing concerns for his long-term health and a lack of drive as his main reasoning. Pavlik was all set to fight Pound-for-Pounder Andre Ward, and the cancellation of this big fight (due to Ward’s shoulder injury/subsequent surgery) reportedly left the Youngstown legend disappointed and this too may have partially inspired his decision to walk away from the sport that made him great and he in turn helped make a little greater.
A genuine blue collar hero and an inspiration to millions of “small guys” the world over, Pavlik especially made the good people of his home town feel proud. This article is intended to say a small thank you to Kelly, a fighter who made this writer jump off the couch on more than one occasion. Pavlik was, above all else, exciting!
Who can forget his give and take battle with the then unbeaten Edison Miranda? The May 2007 win (a 7th-round TKO win for Pavlik) saw “The Ghost” – then aged 25 and, as we now know, in his absolute, arguably never to be better, prime – earn a shot at another unbeaten fighter: the middleweight champion of the world, Jermain Taylor. If Pavlik, a punishing puncher who had a great left jab, a reliable chin and a fine engine, wasn’t at his best against Miranda, he sure was against Taylor.
By Bill Phanco: According to espn, former WBO/WBC middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (40-2, 34 KO’s) is retiring from boxing after a 13-year pro career. Pavlik is concerned about the health risks for him if he were to continue to fight. He’s not seeing any problems now but he’s worried about could show up later in the future if he were to continue his career.
Pavlik said to Dan Rafael of ESPN “When you stay in the sport too long you have health problems. That’s a big, big thing for me. I’m talking about in the future. I’m talking about when I’m 55 or 60…I don’t think the drive is there anymore. I’m moving on to a new chapter in my life.”
The timing for this move is somewhat strange being that there’s been talk of Pavlik facing former IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute in Montreal, Canada. That’s a fight that not only would have given Pavlik a nice little payday but it also could have possibly reignited his boxing career if he were to have beaten Bute.
By Marcus Richardson: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says a fight between former IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KO’s) and Kelly Pavlik (40-2, 34 KO’s) is possible by March of this year. Bute is one of the names that Pavlik’s management is working on putting a fight deal with for March.
Arum said to 8countnews.com “I talked with Cameron Dunkin. They’re working on a big fight with Pavlik for the first three months of the year. One of the names is Lucian Bute.”
Bute’s promoter Jean Bedard mentioned recently that he’s interested in putting together a fight between Pavlik and Bute. Whether it can happen is still unclear, but it’s a great fight for both guys. Pavlik needs a big win over a fighter with a name because he’s done nothing for the last two years other than facing weak opposition.
Bute lost to Carl Froch last year in May in a disappointing 5th round TKO loss. Bute didn’t look like he had put a good game plan together because he didn’t have a plan B to fall back on after it was clear that Froch had too much power for him to fight in the center of the ring in a toe-to-toe battle. Bute needed to shift into a hit and run style that he had used earlier in his career to great success.