Pavlik gets primed to return to ring
Bouts are planned for next week and October.
YOUNGSTOWN -- There's one thing about middleweight Kelly Pavlik. When he trains for a fight, even if that fight gets washed out, he continues to train.
Pavlik was scheduled for a 10-rounder July 30 as part of a Top Rank-promoted card at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, but because of an injury to one of the main event fighters the entire card was scratched. Pavlik was promised a fight as soon as possible.
"When you are told that you never stop training because the fight can come up on a moment's notice," said Pavlik.
His longtime trainer, Jack Loew, added, "Kelly is in the gym every day of the week and doing his usual running, so right now he is a fine-tuned fighting machine."
It all should pay off for Pavlik, as his co-manager and agent Cameron Dunkin notified him and Loew that a title bout is in the immediate future.
First for Pavlik, who has been aching for an opponent, there will be a tuneup bout in Houston Aug. 26. The length of that bout and the opponent have yet to be determined as they are part of a Top Rank Inc. promoted card that has Jose Armando Santa Cruz fighting Fernando Trejo for the NABF lightweight title.
After that bout, it will be back to the gym for Pavlik, who is lined up for a main event 12 rounder for the vacant NABF middleweight championship Oct. 7 in Las Vegas.
His opponent will be Fulgencio Zuniga, who he was scheduled to fight July 30. Zuniga, with a 17-1-1 record that includes 16 knockouts, hails from Barranquila, Colombia. Because of his aggressive style and punching power, he is an ideal opponent at this stage of Pavlik's career.
Zuniga already holds the IBA middleweight crown, but only the vacant NABF title will be on the line Oct. 7.
Pavlik, 23, has a 25-0 professional record, stopping 22 opponents. He had 14 straight knockouts from his pro debut with his biggest win thus far a second round TKO over Dorian Beaupierre April 3.
He is ranked 10th by the WBC, sixth by the WBA, fifth by the WBO and eighth by the IBF among the world's middleweights.
"I feel very good about getting a shot at the NABF title, and I surely didn't want to stay inactive until that date," said Pavlik. "Cameron found me a spot on the Houston show to get some work, and I gladly took it because I need the work."