Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik takes his first step on the road to redemption when he faces Alfonso Lopez tonight on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley welterweight title fight. It's the first fight in more than a year for Pavlik since losing to Sergio Martinez and his first time in the ring since undergoing alcohol rehabilitation.
No longer able to make the 160-pound middleweight limit, Pavlik (left above, fighting Martinez) has moved to the 168-pound super middleweight class, where there are plenty of champions and top contenders to fight. But he recently said he still would like a rematch with Martinez if the middle weight champ would move up to 168.
Martinez has had trouble finding recognizable opponents for a major payday at middleweight, but he might be too small to go up to 168 and maintain his power with his speed. Still, HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg was intrigued when Pavlik's desire for a rematch was relayed to him.
"I feel bad for Kelly because it's too much of a struggle for him to get to 160, and I'm not sure Sergio could get up to 168," Greenburg said. "They may be caught between a rock and a hard place, and it's no fault of either fighter, especially Kelly because he has a huge frame. He's really tall. But it could materialize. If he's clean and sober, he's a good fighter."
As for potential opponents for Martinez, Greenburg said, "At this point, we're just looking for the best talent at 160 to fight him Oct. 1."
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sebastien Sbik are scheduled to meet in a battle of unbeaten middleweights June 4 in Los Angeles. "Whoever wins that fight," Greenburg said, "would be a great opponent."