YOUNGSTOWN — Saying boxer Kelly Pavlik's comeback has taken a "wrong turn," Covelli Centre officials have confirmed the cancellation of the former champ's 10-rounder against Darryl Cunningham originally set for Saturday.
"Both the broadcast and the live event have been canceled," Kelsey Rupert of the Covelli Centre said in a news release. "Ticketholders can get a refund by returning their tickets to the place of purchase."
Earlier, Pavlik told 21 WFMJ-TV: "The fight is off and the Bute fight is not going to happen. I'm not going to fight a southpaw for peanuts."
The decision also seemed to catch promoter Top Rank off guard. Officials there also issue a terse statement.
“Top Rank is very disappointed at Kelly’s sudden decision to discontinue the rebuilding of his boxing career,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, Pavlik’s promoter.
“Kelly’s team specifically outlined a strategy for Kelly to return to the ring in an effective fashion. Kelly’s team gave us their objectives and we set them on a course, which began last May with Kelly’s fight against Alfonso Lopez and was to continue on Saturday against Darryl Cunningham," duBoef's statement continued.
"It seems Kelly has derailed this plan,” he added.
Pavlik, who has not returned calls from The Vindicator, told WFMJ this was a "business decision."
"The fight is off and the Bute fight is not going to happen. I'm not going to fight a southpaw for peanuts," he told the NBC affiliate.
Some online boxing sources are reporting that Pavlik was peeved that he was going to make less than $2 million to fight IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute this fall.
Pavlik's Saturday opponent told Corey Erdman of BoxingScene.com, that he was diasspointed with Pavlik's withdrawal.
"Kelly knew he was going to sleep. He thought it was a tune-up," Cunningham said. "People don't know about The People's Choice, but I was going to knock him out."
Pavlik last spoke to the newspaper for a July 31 profile in which he discussed focusing on boxing instead of attempting to make the 160-pound weightclass. He vowed he will never again fight at that weight.
“We’re not killing ourselves to make weight; training camp is not about the scale,” Pavlik had said. “Going into my last couple fights at middleweight, it was more about getting ready to make weight instead of getting ready for the opponent.
See Wednesday's Vindicator and watch Vindy.com for details.