Kelly Pavlik reveals comeback plans at cruiserweight

Anthony Cocks

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Former unified middleweight champion Kelly ‘The Ghost’ Pavlik 40-2 (34) has revealed his plans to return to the ring after more than six years on the sidelines.

The 36-year-old fighting pride of Youngtown, Ohio held the WBC, WBO and Ring magazine world championships for more than two-and-a-half years after defeating a streaking Jermain Taylor for the belts by TKO7 in 2007.

Pavlik was trailing on the cards at the time of the stoppage but proved the win was no fluke when he outpointed Taylor over 12-rounds in their immediate rematch at 164-pounds the following year. At the time Taylor was universally considered the best 160-pounder in the world after twice upsetting Bernard Hopkins in 2005 and securing a draw against the tricky Winky Wright the following year.

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Speaking on the popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Pavlik revealed he considered a comeback last year to face then-middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin before nixing the idea.

But now, after some time in the gym, Pavlik says a return is a very real possibility.

“I’m really thinking about it,” said Pavlik, who hung up the gloves after outpointing Will Rosinsky over 10-rounds in July 2012.

“I’m working out, losing the weight. But at the same time, there’s a lot of process behind that too; I would have to sit down with the family.

“Cruiserweight is the nice area right now. Anybody but [undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr] Usyk. I’m not fighting that monster.”

Pavlik made three successful defences of his world titles before losing the championship to sublimely skilled Argentinean southpaw Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez 51-3-2 (28) after 12 competitive rounds in April 2010.

After the Martinez loss Pavlik appeared to lose his way, fighting four more times against average opposition at super middleweight but he never again captured the rare form that saw him win the middleweight world championship.

The only other loss on Pavlik’s ledger came against legendary former undisputed middleweight champion Hopkins 55-8-2 (32), who won a 12-round points decision in their 170-pound catchweight bout in Atlantic City in 2008.


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