By Joe Scalzo
Last year, when Kelly Pavlik was trying to get his career back on track, a little-known Virginia boxer named Scott “Cujo” Sigmon scrounged up $30,000 in sponsorship money and offered Pavlik the entire purse in exchange for a fight.
“That’s back when I was stupid,” Sigmon said. “I’ve learned a lot in my last few fights. That was small money to him but Kelly did promise me that once I got somewhere near 20 wins, he might give me a shot.”
Now he might get it.
The 24-year-old Sigmon (21-3, 12 KOs) has emerged as the leading candidate to fight Pavlik and has already signed and returned a contract with Top Rank for a 10-round, 166-pound bout on the undercard of the Brandon Rios-Yuriorkis Gamboa lightweight bout at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay on April 14.
Now he’s waiting for Pavlik to do the same. When news broke Friday of the Sigmon bout, Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs) said he was hoping for a mid-March bout. That would eliminate Sigmon, who has already fought twice this month.
“I’m a little confused why he hasn’t signed the contract,” said Sigmon, who hails from Bedford, Va. “He can’t think I’m a challenge. Maybe he wants to get a fight sooner so he’ll be ready in time for the [Manny] Pacquiao fight in June.”
Sigmon has won 13 of his last 14 fights — the loss was a majority decision against Chris Fitzpatrick in July — but hasn’t fought anyone near Pavlik’s caliber.
Pavlik, however, hasn’t fought since wining a majority decision over Alfonso Lopez last May — “That was the time to fight him; he looked terrible,” Sigmon said of Pavlik — and no one knows whether can regain his championship form.
“I really feel like I have a shot to beat Kelly Pavlik,” Sigmon said. “When people look at my opposition, people are going to think I don’t have a chance. And I’m sure they think they’re going to get rid of me in one or two or three rounds, but I don’t know where that comes from. I’ve never been stopped.
“Not saying I don’t think I’m not going into a tough fight. I know he’s a bad man and he’s one of the hugest punchers pound-for-pound in the game.”
Pavlik, who has been in Oxnard, Calif., since early January with new trainer Robert Garcia, will fight two tune-up bouts before a possible middleweight championship bout, according to Top Rank’s Bob Arum.
“Hopefully he follows through with the April date, but he’s Kelly Pavlik and I’m Scott Sigmon,” Sigmon said. “I’d welcome the opportunity to catapult off his name. There’s very few names as big as his in boxing.
“It would be a huge win.”