By Joe scalzo
Kelly Pavlik has an opponent, a date and a venue for his next fight. What he doesn’t have is a contract.
Which means he has a decision to make.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is eyeing a Pavlik return on April 14 on the undercard of the Brandon Rios-Yuriorkis Gamboa WBA lightweight title bout at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs) would meet Scott Sigmon (21-3, 12 KOs) of Lynchburg, Va., in a 10-round, 166-pound bout, according to WSET, an ABC affiliate in Virginia.
If Pavlik wins decisively, Arum would then have Pavlik fight one more tune-up bout at a lower weight before arranging a pay-per-view bout against someone like WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
“He has a lot of rust,” Arum said of Pavlik. “We want to see how he handles the weight.
“If it looks like he’s back, then we make a pay-per-view fight against Chavez.”
Pavlik has been in Oxnard, Calif., since early January, working out with new trainer Robert Garcia. Although Arum has been in contact with Garcia — “Garcia said there’s no problem getting him back down to 160,” he said — the Sigmon bout caught the Pavlik camp off guard.
When asked about the fight, Pavlik texted The Vindicator, “Not true! As of right now we’re looking at March. Last I heard was mid-March. I should find out soon.”
Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler typically picks Pavlik’s opponents, which are then approved by Pavlik and co-managers Cameron Dunkin and Mike Pavlik Sr.
Trampler did not return a phone message seeking comment. Neither Pavlik Sr. nor Dunkin has returned a phone call from The Vindicator in two years.
Garcia also did not return a message left at his gym, but Arum said he’s heard good things from Garcia about Pavlik.
“We’ve heard that he’s very dedicated, he’s working hard and he feels good,” Arum said. “Everything is positive.”
Pavlik has not fought since winning a majority decision over Alfonso Lopez on May 7, 2011, in Las Vegas. Pavlik weighed 170 pounds for that bout.
Pavlik vowed he would no longer fight at the 160-pound middleweight limit after losing his WBC and WBO middleweight titles to Sergio Martinez on April 17, 2010.
But when Pavlik weighed just 173 pounds upon his arrival in Oxnard, Garcia wondered whether his fighter could return to middleweight, where Pavlik’s size (6-foot-2 1/2) and power give him a big advantage.
“If he doesn’t gain a lot of weight when he starts his strength and conditioning, we might come down to 160,” Garcia told The Vindicator in January. “We’re planning on 168 and that would be perfect, but if as the weeks go by, we see the weight coming down, we’re doing 160 again.”
Clearly, that plan hasn’t changed. As for the rest of it, Pavlik’s fans will just have to weight ... er, wait and see.