A few years ago, Kelly Pavlik (40-2 34 KOs) was one of the hottest names in boxing. He was regularly featured on HBO and was earning seven-figure paydays.
It would not last long, though, as Pavlik’s problems with alcohol cost him his WBC, WBO, and Ring Magazine middleweight championships and his spot near the top of the sport.
For Pavlik to get back on top, he will need to win another title and his best chance to do so may be against Arthur Abraham.
Abraham, a former IBF middleweight titleholder, recently lifted the WBO super middleweight title from Robert Stieglitz in a close, hard-fought fight.
The win was Abraham’s first over a notable opponent since he stopped Jermain Taylor in the 12th round of their fight nearly three years ago.
Since then, Abraham has gone 4-3 in the higher weight class, losing to Carl Froch, Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward.
Kelly Pavlik is riding a four-fight win streak against limited opposition since giving up his title to Sergio Martinez more than two years ago.
He should have fought Abraham at middleweight four years ago, when both held titles. Having said that, a fight today would be just as intriguing, since both fighters’ abilities seem to have deteriorated at the same pace.
The only two fighters to beat Pavlik are the cagey Bernard Hopkins and the speedy Martinez. Abraham is neither a speedster nor a cagey guy. Therefore, he might be just the right opponent for Pavlik to get his career back on track against.
Abraham’s wide looping punches would be perfect for Pavlik, who throws straight punches down the middle.
One issue, which could be a potential roadblock, is whether or not either guy would be willing to travel abroad.
All three of Abraham’s losses have come outside of his home-base of Germany. Meanwhile, Pavlik has never fought outside of the U.S., and he may be leery of fighting in Germany where hometown decisions are not uncommon.
Who should Kelly Pavlik fight next?
I don’t think Pavlik would stand much of a chance against the winner of the Andre Ward versus Chad Dawson fight. Carl Froch, the other belt holder in the super middleweight division, may also be too much for Pavlik at this point.
Pavlik and his promoter Top Rank should look to get a fight with Arthur Abraham early next year. If he’s victorious, he could look for a mega-fight with Top Rank stable mate Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. next September.
You can follow Michael Walters on Twitter @MWalters202