Former middleweight king Kelly Pavlik is “broken-hearted” that his March 2 bout against The Ring, WBA, WBC and super middleweight champ Andre Ward has been canceled.
The 28-year-old Ward, voted last winter as the 2011 “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), suffered a tear in his right shoulder while sparring that will require surgery.
Meanwhile, Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs), who on June 8 bludgeoned a mouthy Scott “Cujo” Sigmon en route to a seventh round TKO victory, battled for the third time in 2012 when he earned a unanimous decision triumph over “Power” Will Rosinsky on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” card in July at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
“It’s kinda hard, due to the fact that I finally got my opportunity after a handful of years,” said Pavlik, 30, whose only losses as a professional came at the hands of legendary pugilist Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2-1, 32 KOs) and 2010 “Fighter of the Year” Sergio Martinez. “It’s kinda depressing but I’m not surprised because it was kinda fishy to me, the fact that his shoulder’s hurt and he’s only taking a month and a half off. I know in boxing when you have a shoulder injury, when you go back into training and go to fight, that you’re not going to be the same. I was expecting it but at the same time it’s just kinda depressing because it was a big fight and that’s what I wanted, especially going against Andre Ward, who is a world-class champion.”
“The Ghost,” who has won four consecutive scraps since falling to Martinez (47-2-2, 25 KOs), has maintained his pledge to remain active and avoid trouble.
Jeff Lyons is a boxing fanatic who possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of The Sweet Science.
The native South Bostonian admitted to being excited for Pavlik.
“I’m really happy for Pavlik,” said Lyons, 32. “His comeback has been a real feel good story. With that said, Ward is extremely good. With Ward’s resume, when it’s all said and done, we are looking at a top 20 all-time boxer. That would have been a tough fight for Pavlik.”
Pavlik, who was pinched driving drunk last December after crashing his all-terrain vehicle into a telephone pole and lamp post, has long battled alcoholism and in January 2011 left the Betty Ford Clinic for the second time.
In addition to fighting firewater, Pavlik also underwent two major surgeries on his left hand in 2009 to mend a stubborn staph infection that placed his overall health in grave jeopardy.
Many analysts believed a rested, healthy and sober Pavlik could regain his prowess in the ring.
Alarmingly, The (Youngstown, Ohio) Vindicator newspaper reported Pavlik was involved in a drunken fracas with his brother at his parents’ home in August 2011.
“The Ghost” apparently fled before the fuzz arrived and his bloodied sibling declined to press charges against the tipsy slugger.
According to police reports, the pugilist “punched the west-facing side door of the home and pulled his brother, Michael, out of the broken window.”
Official police records also noted that the two brothers were boozing when the violence erupted.
Despite facing a slew of personal and professional obstacles, Pavlik’s aggressive schedule has been prudent and already paid dividends.
In fact, considering “The Ghost’s” plight, there is absolutely no reason for Kelly Pavlik to feel “broken-hearted.”