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Kelly Pavlik

Career Record and Bio for Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik

At the age of 30, Kelly Pavlik has turned many heads in boxing. Quite literally, as his devastating power has engulfed his previous foes mostly by knockout. However, don’t let Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik fool you. He’s also a very established boxer, and can pull his weight around the ring with slick boxing and counter punching abilities. Pavlik is now competing in the loaded Super Middleweight division and has big aspirations for the future.

Profile updated & amended by Matt Andrzejewski September 2012

Early Career, earning his mark

Credit: Tom Casino / Showtime

Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik turned pro in 2000 and was able to win 26 consecutive fights while remaining largely unnoticed by the boxing public. He then stepped into the ring against Fulgencio Zuniga for the vacant NABF Middleweight title in October of 2005. Zuniga scored a knockdown with a left hook in the first round, but Pavlik beat the count and continued. Kelly recovered quickly and dominated the rest of the fight. Zuniga’s corner threw in the towel after the ninth round. Pavlik picked up the win and the regional title.

In July of 2006, Pavlik defeated former champion Bronco McKart. Pavlik knocked McKart down twice in the sixth round before the referee stopped the fight. His next fight was against Lenord Pierre and Kelly scored a total of 4 knockdowns. This led the referee to finally stop the bout after a Pavlik left hook sent Pierre to the canvas in the fourth round. In his next fight Kelly defeated Jose Luis Zertuche when he landed an uppercut that dropped Zertuche face first to the canvas. Quickly Pavlik finally gained some support and was set to face Edison Miranda in an elimination match for the right to face middleweight champion Jermain Taylor.

Kelly Pavlik stepped into the ring against Edison Miranda on May 19, 2007. The minute the bell rang, Pavlik came right after Miranda putting him on the defensive. The result was an action packed fight in which Pavlik bullied the normally aggressive bully Miranda. During the sixth round Pavlik sent Miranda to the canvas twice. Miranda was not able to recover and came out in the seventh round only to be stopped by a barrage of stunning combinations from Pavlik. The referee stopped the bout, and Kelly Pavlik gained his world title shot.

Bouts with Jermain Taylor

Kelly Pavlik stepped into the ring in September of 2007 against Jermain Taylor for the Ring, WBC and WBO middleweight titles. Pavlik was knocked down in the second round, and thereafter was tossed around by Taylor. However using his reach advantage, Pavlik started to trap Taylor against the ropes. During the halfway point, and already ahead on the scorecards, Pavlik put Taylor on the defensive with his stunning overhand rights. In the seventh round Pavlik lit Jermain Taylor with a hard uppercut followed by a dangerous left hook that sent Taylor crumpling to the canvas. Pavlik picked up the win and the titles.

After the defeat, Jermain Taylor activated his clause for a non-title rematch with Pavlik. The two fighters stepped into the ring on February 16, 2008, at a catch weight of 166 pounds. The bout was much more tactical as Taylor kept himself in the center of the ring and Pavlik showcased his defense and his jabbing. Taylor scored the more flashy combinations, but it was Pavlik who ultimately scored the unanimous decision.

Pavlik vs Hopkins

The 42 year old Bernard Hopkins turned back the clock when he climbed into the ring with Kelly Pavlik in October of 2008. Hopkins put on a clinic against the then undefeated champion and appeared to win every round. Leaning in with short quick punches to the head and body of Pavlik, Hopkins continued to move his legs and stay out of the reach of Pavlik’s right hand. Hopkins continued with head and body punches in the late rounds, and picked up the one-sided unanimous decision. Since the fight was fought at 170 pounds, Pavlik retained his middleweight championship despite the loss.

Pavlik’s Middleweight Return

Kelly Pavlik stepped back into the ring for his first fight since the Hopkins debacle in February of 2009 against Marco Antonio Rubio. Pavlik dominated the fight landing a series of severe brutal combinations that temporarily rocked Rubio. At the close of the ninth round began it was evident that Rubio was in a state of defenselessness. Rubio’s corner threw in the towel that the start of the tenth round.

Pavlik would next face Miguel Angel Espino.  Pavlik would once again put on a dominant performance, dropping Espino twice in the fourth on route to a fifth round stoppage.

Sergio Martinez Bout

Kelly Pavlik’s next bout would be against Sergio Martinez on April 17th, 2010 in Atlantic City, NJ.  Before the bout there were widespread rumors that Pavlik had been battling substance abuse issues.

Martinez used his speed to outbox Pavlik in the early rounds and opened a cut over Pavlik’s left eye.  In the middle rounds, Pavlik seemed to be figuring out how to get to Martinez.  In the 7th, Pavlik seemed to take the lead on the scorecards when he scored a flash knockdown of Martinez.

However, late in the fight Martinez was able to get back to using his speed to out box Pavlik.  By winning the late rounds Martinez was able to earn a decisive unanimous decision victory and capture the Middleweight Championship.

Rehab and Alcoholism Issues, Return with Robert Garcia

Pavlik took almost a year off to deal with his substance abuse issues.  He would return to ring on May 7th, 2011 to face the undefeated Alfonso Lopez in the Super Middleweight division.  Pavlik appeared rusty throughout the bout but was still able to outclass his opponent and earn a decision victory.

After the Lopez fight Pavlik once again faced inactivity.  In December 2011, he was arrested for DUI in his hometown of Youngstown, OH.  Following the arrest, Pavlik’s promoter requested that he relocate from Youngstown, OH to Oxnard, CA and work with a new team.

Pavlik’s management decided upon Robert Garcia as his new trainer.  Their first fight together was against Aaron Jaco on March 31st, 2012.  Jaco was clearly overmatched and Pavlik shook off his ring rust to knockout Jaco in the 2nd round.

Pavlik would then face Scott Sigman as the headliner on an ESPN Friday Night Fights card.  Pavlik was able to dominate the tough Sigman and eventually force a stoppage at the end of the 7th round.

Shortly after the Sigman fight, news spread the Brandon Rios had to pull out of his HBO televised fight the following month due to an injury.  Pavlik received the call to replace Rios on the show as the opening televised bout and seized the opportunity.  His opponent would be Super Middleweight contender Will Rosinsky.

The first round was mostly a feeling out process between Pavlik and Rosinsky.  In the 2nd, Pavlik started to take control landing his big punches and was able to put Rosinsky down with a short right hand towards the latter stages of the round.  From there, Pavlik seemed to be able to control the action with his faster hands and bigger punches.  In the end, the judges would award Pavlik with a well deserved unanimous decision victory.

What’s Next For Kelly Pavlik?

Kelly Pavlik remains a very marketable fighter and big name in the very deep Super Middleweight division.  Given the fact in recent years he has shown to be vulnerable, it is very likely that he will be able to land fights in the not so distant future against the division’s big names.

The division kingpin is Andre Ward, and it is certainly not inconceivable that Pavlik could get a shot at him soon.  As stated above, Pavlik is marketable and a fight against Ward would certainly draw interest.  Pavlik also could face one of the many big name European fighters in the division.  Bouts against Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Robert Stieglitz or Brian Magee are certainly possible.

Though Pavlik’s career recently hit a bit of a rough patch there is no doubt that in the future years we will be seeing lots of him in intriguing matches in the Super Middleweight division.