By Andy samuelson
This one wasn’t much of a test either, but Kelly Pavlik again passed with flying colors.
The former middleweight champ from Youngstown continued his comeback with an easy victory over 25-year-old Virginia native Scott Sigmon Friday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino — located just two miles away from the MGM Grand, site of tonight’s welterweight showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
“It was only a matter of time before I [stopped him],” said Pavlik of his TKO victory after the seventh round, when a ringside doctor ruled a cut on Sigmon’s head was too deep to continue.
“I’m happy with it … but I’m always going to come down hard on my performance.
Unlike last April’s fight in Sin City where Pavlik struggled a bit in scoring a 10-round majority decision over Alfonso Lopez on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Shane Mosley card, there was no second-guessing on Friday.
Pavlik systematically picked his younger opponent apart from the opening bell.
Pavlik control the pace in the opening rounds with his left jab, before pounding Sigmon’s body with some powerful rights.
Pavlik started stalking Sigmon, the heavy underdog who had never fought a championship-level opponent before, at the beginning of the third. Sigmon slowed things and controlled Pavlik’s longer reach by holding onto him before the ref broke them up.
Sigmon tried to get offensive in the fifth, but his inside shots did little damage. Pavlie again went to work with big right hands to the body and head, creating several cuts including the one that ended the fight.
So after back-to-back easy victories, what’s the next step for “The Ghost?”
Garcia says his newly acquired fighter is ready for whatever he is presented.
“He knows that he has to comeback and start all over again. He’s been to the top before, but now he’s back to smaller shows,” Garcia said.
“But he’s just a fight or two away from being up there again. He’s got the best manager in the business in Cameron Dunkin. Those are his decisions. Top Rank and Cameron will work that out. It’s not my job. If everything goes right, we’re ready for whatever is next.”
While the IBF reportedly ask Pavlik to meet the sanctioning body’s No. 2 contender, Adonis Stevenson (18-1, 15 KOs), in an eliminator bout on Aug. 11, Dunkin said he is eyeing bouts on a larger scale.
“A big fight. I’ve been called this week by a representative of [Carl] Froch, [Lucian] Bute and [Mikkel] Kessler. Which of the three do you want after this?” Dunkin said.
“I said wait, hold on let me see what we’re going to do with him. If he looks as great as he did the other day … I want to rebuild him. I want him to be a champion again. I want him to fight on HBO, I want him to fight on pay-per-view. I want to do what we didn’t do the first time.”
As Pavlik was being ushered away from the ring he said he wants his next opponent to be a step up in competition.
“Any of the top guys. I need an upper fight,” Pavlik said.