By John-Paul Wolfe
With a win against the number 1 super middleweight in the world, Andre Ward, Kelly Pavlik would have reignited the excitement the boxing world once had for the power punching boxer from Youngstown, Ohio. However, with Ward’s shoulder injury requiring surgery, the fight between the two American 168 pounders will have to wait. Unfortunately, the 30 year old Pavlik can not.
After declaring his supremacy at middleweight with back to back wins in 2007 and 2008 over then undefeated champion Jermain Taylor, Kelly Pavlik was gaining mainstream media attention and well on his way to becoming a star. But, with losses to both Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez, Pavlik was quickly losing his grip on the upper echelon of boxing’s elite. Add to these two losses a personal battle with alcoholism and it seemed that Pavlik’s best days were behind him.
Fortunately for Pavlik, he was able to get his feet back under him, winning four consecutive fights under the tutelage of his new trainer Robert Garcia. Following these four wins, Pavlik was set to face Andre Ward for the super middleweight title until news broke of Ward’s impending surgery.
So what does Kelly Pavlik do now? He’s still a draw for ticket sales and TV, but not like he used to be. He can’t afford to wait until Ward is healed and ready to go. At this point a fight against Arthur Abraham would be his best move. Abraham has a recognizable name and provides a fan base from Europe that Pavlik does not. An impressive win against the newly crowned WBO champion Abraham would secure Pavlik a spot among the top five of the division and keep his fight against Andre Ward alive. If Pavlik wants to regain his status as one of best in the sport he can not afford to wait on an injured opponent or take meaningless fights in the interim.