In a sport that usually consumes its stars until too late into life it seems Kelly Pavlik has made himself an exception to the rule. The 30 year old middleweight announced today that he will end his professional boxing career after 13 years.
The decision, says Pavlik, was caused by a number of factors the largest of which being his long-term health and of course his family(Pavlik is married and the father of two). As well, the Ohio native referenced a successful business venture and the money he has made over his career as a reason for no longer needing the income.
The most boxing-relevant reason that Pavlik gave for hanging up the gloves was a lack of drive. Though he claimed that the lack of motivation has been fairly long in the making, one can not help but think that his cancelled title bout with Andre Ward had a lot to do with it.
Up until very recently it seemed that Pavlik had just regained his motivation to fight. He had some alcohol related troubles which disrupted and pretty much halted his career through 2010 and 2011 but had come back strong in 2012, fighting and winning three times.
This effort seemed to have earned “The Ghost” a title fight with Ward which was scheduled for January 26. Unfortunately it was not long before the fight was postponed and subsequently cancelled because of Ward’s injury requiring surgery.
Pavlik has been around long enough to know that Ward is not going to want to go up against a fighter of his caliber after coming off a major surgery. This means that Pavlik’s fight with Ward, if he was lucky enough to have another chance at him, would have to come after a tune-up fight or two and likely would not happen until spring of next year at best.
Whatever the reason, the decision should be celebrated. Pavlik has had a great career, having held the middleweight title for three years and amassed an impressive 40-2 record with his only losses coming to greats Sergio Martinez and Bernard Hopkins, so he is leaving the sport with his chin up and his brain intact.