Late August bout is needed to further continue comeback
By Joe Scalzo
After a rusty effort against Alfonso Lopez on May 7, Kelly Pavlik knew he needed a tune-up fight before fighting for a world title.
He just doesn’t like calling it a tune-up fight.
“I hate calling it that, but where I’m at in my career, it is what it is,” said Pavlik, whose camp is finalizing plans for a summer bout in Youngstown, most likely at the Covelli Centre on Aug. 20. “Instead of going somewhere else, I figured, why not keep it here?
“This will probably be my last fight in Youngstown and it’s kind of exciting to fight in my hometown one last time, especially going into a world title fight.”
Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) defeated Lopez by majority decision after a 13-month layoff from the ring. He finally regained his form over the last few rounds — he feels if it had been 12 rounds instead of 10, he would have earned a knockout — but thinks he could use another bout to “get everything sharp.”
Pavlik’s camp is eyeing an early November bout against IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, most likely in his hometown of Montreal.
Pavlik doesn’t think Bute (28-0, 23 KOs) is as talented as Sergio Martinez, who took Pavlik’s middleweight titles with a unanimous decision victory in April, 2010, but said he’s a “really good fighter.”
“He’s a really sneaky body puncher,” said Pavlik, who has never fought outside the United States. “He just times it perfect. Pretty much all his knockouts have come from body punches.
“It’s something we’re going to have to work on and watch for.”
Former super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler recently turned down a $3 million offer from the Bute camp — “I’m really surprised he turned that down, especially for the type of money they were offering him,” Pavlik said — which opened the door to fight Pavlik.
“I’m probably the biggest name he’s fought to this date,” Pavlik said. “For that type of fight, I imagine I’ll have to go up there. He’s the world champion and me fighting him in Canada would be huge.
“I can’t see him coming here [to the U.S.].”
Pavlik will hold his fourth annual charity golf classic Friday at Bedford Trails. Openings are still available, with registration beginning Friday at 8 a.m. followed by a 9 a.m. shotgun start.
The event will benefit Hospice of the Valley and is in memory of Nereida Diaz, who passed away on May 3.