A Feb. 23 date on HBO is a possbility
After beating three journeymen in 2012, Kelly Pavlik said he wanted his next fight to be a big step up.
Apparently, he wasn’t kidding.
According to ESPN.com, Pavlik’s handlers are in talks with representatives for super middleweight champion Andre Ward over a Feb. 23 fight on HBO.
Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs), the former middleweight champion, is reportedly interested in the fight.
“Kelly wants the fight,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN. “He has wanted the fight. Andre Ward is the best fighter in the world at this weight and Kelly said he wants a big fight and to face the best opponents.”
Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) is considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and is coming off a 10-round knockout of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson on Sept. 8 in his hometown of Oakland, Calif. He also won Showtime’s “Super Six” super middleweight tournament, unifying three titles with a win over Carl Froch in December.
Pavlik, who did not respond to a request for comment, has not fought since defeating Will Rosinsky in July.
Despite moving to California to train with Robert Garcia, one of the top trainers in the business, Pavlik has not yet shown the form that allowed him to rise to the top of the middleweight division in 2007. Although he’s won three times this year — two by TKO — he hasn’t looked as sharp or as powerful as he did in his prime.
A fight against Ward is the ultimate risk-reward proposition. A win would propel Pavlik back to the top of the boxing world but a loss could do serious damage to a career marred by losses to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez and his well-documented drinking issues.