Former middleweight king Kelly Pavlik continued his impressive comeback trail last night, with a stoppage win over a game, but severely outgunned Scott Sigmon. The fight at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was the Ohio mans third successful outing since his 2010 loss to current 160 lb boss Sergio Martinez, and the signs were positive last night that Pavlik is nearly ready to mix it with the best in the Super-Middleweight division.
There had been a lot of bad blood before this fight, with Sigmon (22(12)-4) antagonising Pavlik on social media sites, and the Youngstown fighter promised to dish out the punishment in the ring, which he didn’t fail to deliver. Sigmon kept coming all night, but was literally a punchbag for the 7 rounds it lasted, although he had some very minor success in the third session. The referee called off the fight before the start of the eight round, after deliberating with the fighter physician who stated Virginia man was in no fit state to continue.
Pavlik’s comeback has seen him being matched intelligently to date, with a points win over Alfonso Lopez coming in mid-2011, although his TKO win over Aaron Jaco in March means he has only fought three times in 2 years since he lost to Martinez. This was down to Pavlik having two stints in rehab for alcohol addiction, but his problems now seem to have been treated with a new found passion for the sport. Granted, the likes of Aaron Jaco and Scott Sigmon are not world beaters, but they are necessary steps on a journey that has seen the respected and lauded former middleweight take on a new path at the 168 lb mark.
Pavlik stated last night that he is keen to now mix it with the best in the division, with names mentioned including Lucian Bute and IBF king Carl Froch. “It has to be. First of all, I have 41 fights, I’ve been in there with the top dogs, and the next fight we’re going to step up,” said Pavlik. On the fight, Pavlik said his tutelage under new trainer Robert Garcia is starting to bear fruition. “He told me all the right instructions, but sometimes as a 12-year veteran and being hard-headed, I don’t listen all the time. But as usual, he was right and we did it. Robert kept telling me to puff him up, hit him with those straight, long punches. I started doing that a little too late, but it still worked, and I ended up stopping him. But I’m always going to come down hard on my performances,” stated Pavlik now 39(34)-2.
Manager Cameron Dunkin was pleased with the way the fight panned out, and will be meeting Top Rank executives on Monday with regards to Pavlik’s next opponent. “Kelly looked sensational. Monday, we’re going to meet, and we’re going to talk, and we’ll have a lot to talk about I’m sure on Monday. But we’ll talk about Kelly. Bob (Arum) and Todd (duBoef) are happy, and I thought that he did great. He got in a lot of rounds, and that’s what he needed,” said Dunkin. As for the plan, there looks to be one tune up fight, before a fight with a big and rated super-middleweight. “Bute, Stevenson, there’s a lot of stuff out there for Kelly,” stated Dunkin. “Froch is calling, Kessler’s calling. They’re calling me, so we’ll see.”
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