Redemption is just one of several words that can be used to describe Kelly Pavlik’s return to the ring. After several nagging injuries and a stint to rehab to deal with alcohol-related problems, Pavlik is back to prove he can be one of the top fighters in the world.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum is certainly has confidence Pavlik can make a successful comeback. So much so that he put him on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley May 7 Showtime pay-per-view undercard.
Pavlik (36-2) will square off against WBC Continental Americas super middleweight champion Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez (21-0) in a 10-round bout, which will headline the undercard.
For more information on Pavlik's comeback check out Greg Logan's column on it.
If anyone expects to see a difference Pavlik in the ring, don’t look too hard. The Youngstown, Ohio native said he hasn’t altered his lifestyle.
Said Pavlik: “I do everything the same. The only difference is I don’t drink. I don’t believe in changing a lifestyle or doing stuff to keep yourself even more unhappy, that leads to even worse problems. My regular day is still the same – I still enjoy everything I do. I’m having a blast doing what I’m doing and I don’t need a bottle to keep myself happy.”
The one difference that is noticeable is the switch in divisions. Pavlik made his name mainly fighting as a middleweight, with impressive wins against Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor (twice). But lopsided losses to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez and a canceled fight against Paul Williams over a two-year period halted Pavlik’s ascension.
Pavlik doesn’t see the switch in weight classes as a problem. In fact, he sees it as an advantage.
“I see it being the same. Actually, I see it being even better. It’s not like I’m moving up to go to 168 and I’m adding weight on,” said Pavlik. “I still have to lose a considerable amount of weight to make 168. When you walk around at 195, it’s still walking around pretty heavy for a super middleweight or a light heavyweight.”
As for his immediate future, assuming Pavlik gets by Lopez, a showdown with one of the Showtime “Super Six” contenders isn’t out of the question.
Said Arum: “The super middleweight division is rich with talent and Kelly, I hope and believe fits right in with all of them.”