There must be something in the air. First we hear how Marcos Maidana wants to come back (he won’t), then we hear how Wladimir Klitschko could fight again this spring (who knows?) and now Kelly Pavlik says he is thinking about coming back. Former middleweight king Pavlik, speaking on The Joe Rogan Show, said he “still has a small window” during which he could return to the sport.
Pavlik, who retired in 2012 after a win over Will Rosinsky in Carson, said he is thinking about launching a comeback as a cruiserweight. Recently, Pavlik, 40-2(34) got into powerlifting in a serious way, bulking up to around a solid 200 pounds. Former foe Bernard Hopkins (the man who decisioned Pavlik in a non-title fight back in 2008, all but “ruining” him in the process according to some judges) ran into Pavlik last year and B-Hop was shocked at the size of the former 160 pound champ.
But being in great muscular condition is one thing; being able to box at the highest level is another. Still, at age 36 (37 in April) “The Ghost” is young enough to be able to come again. Maybe.
“I’m thinking about it,” Pavlik told Rogan on the subject of his fighting again. “Cruiserweight would be the range. Anybody but [Oleksandr] Usyk. I don’t want the rumour-mill to start, ‘he’s broke, he needs the money.’ That’s not the case. I’m still only 36. I still have that small window….. I’m not 40, I’m not 38. I’ve been out for four-and-a-half years, I’ve been working out.”
Pavlik did call it a day at a relatively young age in the summer of 2012, when he was still only 30. In his prime, Pavlik was a thrilling power-puncher with a good chin (he was never stopped), great heart and excellent conditioning and determination. A battle with the bottle started around the time of the Hopkins loss (if not before) and Pavlik’s name was too frequently popping up in the news for things like bar altercations and DUI offences. Now fit, strong and dedicated to his powerlifting, Pavlik seems to have reacquired the spark that made him the great fighter he was.
It wouldn’t be a shock if Pavlik did come back (as the saying goes, they all come back) and the Youngstown warrior would certainly have plenty of fans on his side if he did so. Usyk aside (Kelly being smart to want to avoid the gifted Ukrainian, who may move up to heavyweight in any case), the 200 pound division is pretty wide open, and if Usyk does move up the belts will become vacant.
Wouldn’t it be a great story if, some 12 years after smashing Jermain Taylor to defeat to become world middleweight champ, Pavlik managed to rule the world again as a cruiserweight? If Pavlik did come back, and if he was able to win any of the four belts at cruiserweight, it really would be quite something.