Kelly Pavlik obviously has had enough of boxing.
The former world middleweight champion has pulled out of his Showtime-televised super middleweight fight on Saturday versus Darryl Cunningham in Pavlik’s hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
Pavlik, in the midst of a return after two months of treatment for alcoholism last winter at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, informed manager Cameron Dunkin that he did not want to fight anymore.
Dunkin said, “He said to me, ‘We have a problem. He said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ “
He added, “I don’t think anyone saw this coming. I’m just lost right now. I don’t know why Kelly decided to do what he did. But it’s his call. He’s going to do what he has to do. I’m not going to try to talk him out of anything, especially when his heart’s not in it.”
Dunkin added that he’s positive Pavlik did not have a relapse in his fight versus alcoholism.
He said, “I don’t think drinking had anything to do with it. I know when he’s been drinking, and when I talked to him he sounded clear and coherent.”
Pavlik, 29 years old, went back to the ring May 7 at the MGM Grand Garden, winning a 10-round majority decision against Alfonso Lopez. He did not look sharp fighting at 169 pounds.
But because he had not fought in 13 months, after losing his WBC and WBO middleweight belts to Sergio Martinez last April 17, 2010, many in boxing featured the subpar performance to ring rust.
According to Pavlik (37-2 32 knockouts), he was looking forward to fighting full time as a supe middleweight, beating Cunningham and fighting for a world title, probably against Lucian Bute, IBF champion.
He in fact did not show up to run and not at all made it to the gym before recurring late that night.
His choice staggered his promoter, Top Rank, and urged abolition of the whole card at the Covelli Centre.
Todd duBoef, Top Rank president said, “Top Rank is very disappointed at Kelly’s sudden decision to discontinue the rebuilding of his boxing career. Kelly’s team specifically outlined a strategy for Kelly to return to the ring in an effective fashion. … It seems Kelly has derailed this plan.”