ESPN.com reported Thursday that troubled former WBC, WBO and The Ring Magazine middleweight titlist Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik will return to the ring for a 10-round bout against Aaron Jaco at 170 pounds on March 31 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
“He’s going to fight and he’s just excited,” Pavlik manager Cameron Dunkin said. “He’s into boxing again and wants to be around it. He was laughing and joking. He looked so good. He said to me, ‘I’ve never trained like this consistently. I’ve been training six days a week. I get a good night’s sleep. I’m in bed by 9 o’clock. I’m on a health kick. I’m eating the right foods.’ Kelly said he was 173 pounds but after he works out he’ll be down at 169. His weight is good (http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/7662977/kelly-pavlik-set-first-fight-10-months).”
Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs), 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 (47-2-2, 25 KOs), was arrested in December after he crashed his all-terrain vehicle in an allegedly intoxicated state into a telephone pole and lamppost.
“The Ghost” has long battled alcoholism and in January 2011 he left the Betty Ford Clinic for the second time.
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 squared circle.
Alarmingly, The (Youngstown, Ohio) Vindicator newspaper reported Pavlik was involved in a drunken fracas with his brother at his parent’s home this past summer.
“The Ghost” apparently fled before the fuzz arrived and his bloodied sibling declined to press charges.
According to police reports, the tormented 29-year-old 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.
Earlier this month, Pavlik’s lifelong trainer, Jack Loew, revealed to SI.com he split with the erstwhile superstar he taught to fight at the age of nine out of his South Side Boxing Club.
“The Ghost” has since relocated to Oxnard, California to begin working with renowned trainer Robert Garcia.
“If everything goes OK, Kelly will fight again in June and then come back in the fall and, hopefully, have a real, real fight,” Dunkin said.
Roger “Pitt” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brother’s Boxing and Training.
“I hate to say it, because I like him as a fighter,” said Perron, 75, who worked with the legendary Marvelous Marvin Hagler. “But, I think Kelly’s done.”
Unfortunately, and somewhat tragically, it’s likely that “Kelly’s done” and he’ll never “have a real, real fight” again.
Kelly Pavlik has lost the prime of his professional career to alcohol and there is no indication that “The Ghost” will ever get off the canvas of life.
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