Kelly Pavlik

Kelly Pavlik
Real nameKelly Robert Pavlik
  • The Ghost
  • The Express
Height6 ft 2.5 in (189 cm)[1]
Reach75 in (191 cm)
Born (1982-04-05) April 5, 1982 (age 39)
Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights42
Wins by KO34

Kelly Robert Pavlik (born April 5, 1982) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 2000 to 2012. He won the unified WBC, WBO, Ring magazine and lineal middleweight titles by defeating Jermain Taylor in 2007, and made three successful defenses before losing them to Sergio Martínez in 2010.

Background and early life

Known as "The Ghost", Pavlik grew up on the south side of Youngstown, Ohio, in the traditional ethnic Slovak neighborhood of Lansingville.[2] He graduated from Lowellville High School and Mahoning County Joint Vocational School in 2000.[2] Pavlik has been trained by Jack Loew of Youngstown's South Side Boxing Gym for his entire career. His loyalty to his neighborhood and his unassuming, unglamorous lifestyle have earned him praise inside and outside the world of boxing.[3]

Amateur highlights

  • 1998 National Jr. PAL Amateur Champion, 147 pounds
  • 1998 National Jr. Golden Gloves Amateur Champion, 147 pounds
  • 1999 U.S. National Under-19 Amateur Champion, 147 pounds

Professional career

Pavlik turned professional in 2000 and won his first 26 fights before stepping up in competition on October 7, 2005, to face Fulgencio Zúñiga for the vacant NABF Middleweight title. Zúñiga scored a knockdown with a left hook in the first round, but Pavlik recovered quickly and dominated the rest of the fight. Zúñiga was cut over his right eye by a clash of heads, and his corner stopped the fight after the ninth round.

On July 7, 2006, Pavlik defeated the former WBO Light Middleweight Champion Bronco McKart with sixth round technical knock out in his first defense of his NABF Middleweight title. McKart scored a knockdown when both of Pavlik's gloves touched the canvas in the fourth round. Pavlik knocked McKart down twice in the sixth round before the referee stopped the fight.

Pavlik headlined in his hometown at the Covelli Centre on November 2, 2006, and put on a dominant performance against Lenord Pierre. Pavlik scored a knockdown with a right hand late in the first round, and rocked Pierre repeatedly in the second and third rounds. Pavlik knocked down Pierre again with a left hook in the fourth round and the referee stopped the fight.

On January 27, 2007, in Anaheim, California, Pavlik defeated Jose Luis Zertuche with an eighth-round knockout in his second and final defense of his NABF Middleweight title. It was a fast-paced, exciting fight that concluded when Pavlik landed a right fist that froze Zertuche in his tracks and then landed an uppercut that dropped him face-first to the canvas.

Pavlik vs. Miranda

Pavlik defeated Edison Miranda on May 19, 2007, with a technical knock out in the seventh round. The fight was a WBC Middleweight Title Eliminator bout. This fight established him as the #1 middleweight contender. During the sixth round, Pavlik knocked Miranda down to the canvas twice. After the first knock down, Miranda spat out his mouthpiece, causing the referee, Steve Smoger, to deduct a point. As the sixth round ended, Miranda seemed unable to continue, but came out nonetheless. In the seventh round, Pavlik trapped Miranda in a corner with a barrage of vicious shots, forcing Smoger to stop the fight. Pavlik thus earned a chance for the middleweight title against Jermain Taylor, who had defeated Pavlik during their amateur careers in a bout that was part of the 2000 Olympic Team-USA Box-offs.

Pavlik vs. Taylor I & II

However, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in front of a pro-Pavlik crowd (approximately 6,231 Youngstown natives made the trip), Pavlik defeated Jermain Taylor on September 29, 2007.[4] In the pre-fight build-up, Taylor's trainer, Emmanuel Steward, called Pavlik "overrated" and promised a knockout win for his boxer.[5] It nearly happened, as Pavlik was knocked down in the second round and tossed about the ring for much of that round. However, using his reach advantage and ability to trap opponents in the corner, Pavlik slowly turned the tide on Taylor. By the sixth round, many at the ringside, such as the HBO commentator Larry Merchant, saw the fight as even. HBO's unofficial scorer, Harold Lederman, even had Pavlik leading the fight at the halfway point. Despite this, he was trailing on all three official scorecards. In the seventh round, Pavlik stunned his opponent with a clean left hook to the chin and backed him against the ropes knocking Taylor out with a barrage of punches. With the victory, Pavlik became the new WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal middleweight champion.[6][7] After the fight with Taylor, Pavlik and his father, Mike Pavlik Sr., accidentally left their paychecks in their hotel room.[8] He was named The Boxing Times Fighter of the Year in 2007.[9]

This fight was named Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

After the defeat, Taylor activated his clause for a non-title rematch, which was held on February 16 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada, with both fighters weighing-in at super middleweight.[10][clarification needed] Pavlik won the fight with a unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112 and 115–113), handing Taylor his second defeat.[11]

Pavlik vs. Lockett

Pavlik made his first title defense of the Middleweight Championship against the WBO #1 mandatory challenger Gary Lockett on June 7, 2008, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Pavlik defeated Lockett with a third round technical knock out after Enzo Calzaghe, Lockett's trainer, threw in the towel when Lockett was down for the third time.

Pavlik vs. Hopkins

In a HBO PPV non-title bout on October 18, 2008, 43-year-old Bernard Hopkins (49-5-1 with 32 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Pavlik. Hopkins and Pavlik fought at a catch weight of 170 lbs (5 pounds below the light heavyweight limit) in a twelve-round non-title bout. Hopkins dominated the whole fight with multiple punch combinations, good defense and movement. Both fighters fought after the bell and needed to be separated by their corners.

Pavlik vs. Rubio

On February 21, 2009, his first bout after his defeat to Hopkins, Pavlik defeated Marco Antonio Rubio (the WBC #1 contender) in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, at the Chevy Centre with a ninth-round technical knockout. Pavlik dominated the fight, forcing Rubio's corner to concede the bout before the start of the tenth round.[12]

Pavlik vs. Espino

Pavlik fought The Contender alumnus Miguel Espino on December 19, 2009, at the Beeghly Center on the campus of Youngstown State University and won with a fifth-round technical knockout.[13]

Pavlik vs. Martinez

Following his win over Espino, Pavlik was set to fight Paul Williams. However, due to a major staph infection and an allergic reaction to some antibiotics that nearly killed him,[14] Pavlik was forced to drop out of the fight. He was eventually able to fight again against the Light Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez.

On April 17, 2010, Pavlik attempted to defend his middleweight title for the fourth time against Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City. The fight was for Pavlik's WBC, WBO and The Ring Middleweight titles. Pavlik was defeated by Martinez by a unanimous 12-round decision.

Martínez controlled the early rounds with quick in and out movements, refusing to heavily engage with Pavlik. Martínez managed to cut Pavlik's left eyebrow in the first round. Pavlik then started to mount a comeback in the middle rounds by blocking Martínez's punches more effectively. Pavlik spent most of his time headhunting trying to land a hard right, which did help Pavlik score a knock-down in the seventh round. In the late rounds, Martínez came back and started to open up Pavlik's cuts more, making his face extremely bloody. In the post-fight interview, Pavlik stated that he could not see due to the blood.

Rehabilitation and return

Pavlik was set to move up the super middleweight division and fight Brian Vera, as the co-main event to Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito on November 13, 2010. However, roughly two weeks before the fight, Pavlik suffered a rib injury and had to pull out of the fight.[15] He checked himself into the Betty Ford Center for alcohol rehabilitation.

Pavlik then fought Alfonso López III in the main card of Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley. He won with a majority decision (95-95, 98–92, 99–91).

After taking nearly a year off from boxing, Pavlik defeated Aaron Jaco in a largely unpublicized fight in San Antonio, Texas. Three months later, on June 8, 2012, Pavlik made his return to the national spotlight, defeating Scott Sigmon on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. Sigmon had attacked Pavlik on Twitter, leading Pavlik to respond, "I'm gonna hurt this kid". Despite never knocking Sigmon down, Pavlik attacked the face of Sigmon, especially in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. Badly bloodied, Sigmon conceded after the seventh round. On July 7, 2012, Pavlik fought the fairly-highly touted, up-and-coming prospect: Will Rosinsky. He defeated Rosinsky with a unanimous decision, to earn the fortieth win of his professional boxing career.

Pavlik vs. Ward

Pavlik was scheduled to fight on HBO the lineal super middleweight, as well as WBA and WBC, champion Andre Ward for his title on January 26, 2013 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California. The fight was initially rescheduled for February 23, 2013 after Andre Ward suffered a shoulder injury in a sparring session leading up to the fight.[16] However, the shoulder injury was more severe than originally thought and the fight was ultimately cancelled.[17]


January 19, 2013 Kelly Pavlik announced his retirement from boxing.[18] He no longer had the heart for the sport and had also been suffering from seizures, which contributed to his decision.[19]


Kelly Pavlik was charged with theft on September 18, 2013 after he had refused to pay a cab fare.[20] Pavlik was arrested on Saturday of April 2015 for assault at a Foo Fighters concert.[21]

On January 26, 2016 Pavlik was charged with misdemeanor assault after shooting a worker with a pellet gun whilst he was digging a lake at Pavlik's home in August 2015. The case was upgraded to felonious assault after it was presented to a grand jury.[22]

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
42 fights40 wins2 losses
By knockout340
By decision62
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
42Win40–2United States Will RosinskyUD10Jul 7, 2012United States Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S.
41Win39–2United States Scott SigmonTKO7 (10), 3:00Jun 8, 2012United States The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
40Win38–2United States Aaron JacoTKO2 (10), 0:45Mar 31, 2012United States Illusions Theater, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
39Win37–2United States Alfonso López IIIMD10May 7, 2011United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
38Loss36–2Argentina Sergio MartínezUD12Apr 17, 2010United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Lost WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
37Win36–1United States Miguel EspinoTKO5 (12), 1:44Dec 19, 2009United States Beeghly Center, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.Retained WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
36Win35–1Mexico Marco Antonio RubioRTD9 (12), 3:00Feb 21, 2009United States Chevrolet Centre, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.Retained WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
35Loss34–1United States Bernard HopkinsUD12Oct 18, 2008United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
34Win34–0United Kingdom Gary LockettTKO3 (12), 1:40Jun 7, 2008United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Retained WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
33Win33–0United States Jermain TaylorUD12Feb 16, 2008United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
32Win32–0United States Jermain TaylorTKO7 (12), 2:14Sep 29, 2007United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Won WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
31Win31–0Colombia Edison MirandaTKO7 (12), 1:54May 19, 2007United States FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
30Win30–0Mexico Jose Luis ZertucheKO8 (12), 1:40Jan 27, 2007United States Honda Center, Anaheim, California, U.S.Retained WBC–NABF middleweight title
29Win29–0Haiti Lenord PierreTKO4 (12), 0:46Nov 2, 2006United States Chevrolet Centre, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
28Win28–0United States Bronco McKartTKO6 (12), 2:45Jul 27, 2006United States Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, U.S.Won vacant WBC–NABF middleweight title
27Win27–0Colombia Fulgencio ZúñigaTKO9 (12), 3:00Oct 7, 2005United States The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.Won vacant WBC–NABF middleweight title
26Win26–0United States Vincent HarrisTKO2 (8), 2:19Aug 26, 2005United States D & I Colonial Ballroom, Houston, Texas, U.S.
25Win25–0United States Daniel NealTKO1 (8), 1:49Jun 10, 2005United States Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
24Win24–0Dominican Republic Dorian BeaupierreTKO2 (10), 2:35Mar 4, 2005United States Silver Star Hotel and Casino, Choctaw, Mississippi, U.S.
23Win23–0United States Ross ThompsonUD8Nov 27, 2004United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
22Win22–0United States Carlton HollandKO2 (8), 2:59Sep 18, 2004United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
21Win21–0Mexico Pedro OrtegaTKO6 (10)Jul 2, 2004United States Fieldhouse, Struthers, Ohio, U.S.
20Win20–0Mexico Roberto BaroKO2 (8), 2:16Mar 26, 2004United States Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
19Win19–0United States Anthony IvoryUD8Jan 23, 2004United States Expo Center, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
18Win18–0United States Rico CasonKO2 (10), 2:02Jul 1, 2003United States Cafaro Field, Niles, Ohio, U.S.
17Win17–0Mexico Cesar AvilaTKO6 (6), 2:00Mar 22, 2003United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
16Win16–0Mexico Eduardo GutierrezTKO2 (6), 2:59Feb 8, 2003United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
15Win15–0United States Edson MadridUD6Sep 14, 2002United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
14Win14–0United States Abel HernandezTKO1 (6), 2:54Jul 30, 2002United States Lucky Star Casino, Concho, Oklahoma, U.S.
13Win13–0United States Eric OldsKO1 (6), 2:45Jun 21, 2002United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
12Win12–0Russia Robert DasoyanKO2 (6), 2:15Feb 23, 2002United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
11Win11–0United States Rob BleakleyKO2 (8), 1:56Nov 21, 2001United States Holiday Inn Metroplex, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
10Win10–0Mexico Mario LopezTKO2 (6), 1:42Aug 4, 2001United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
9Win9–0United States Grady BrewerTKO2 (4), 2:48Jun 8, 2001United States Ho-Chunk Casino, Baraboo, Wisconsin, U.S.
8Win8–0United States Tommy WalkerTKO1 (4), 2:46Mar 23, 2001United States Sports Center, Owensboro, Kentucky, U.S.
7Win7–0United States Mathias BedburdickTKO3 (4), 2:43Feb 4, 2001United States Lucky Star Casino, Concho, Oklahoma, U.S.
6Win6–0United States Cedric JohnsonTKO2 (4), 1:54Dec 15, 2000United States Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
5Win5–0United States Lafayette RandolphTKO2 (4), 1:48Nov 17, 2000United States Peppermill, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
4Win4–0United States Anthony CollierTKO1 (4)Oct 15, 2000United States Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
3Win3–0United States Frankie SanchezTKO1 (4), 1:59Sep 15, 2000United States Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
2Win2–0Puerto Rico Nelson HernandezTKO1 (4)Aug 5, 2000United States Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
1Win1–0United States Eric Benito TzandTKO3 (4)Jun 16, 2000United States Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.

See also


  1. ^ The Joe Rogan Experience, episode 55.
  2. ^ a b Kovach, John (2007-09-26). "Family, friends and fans give boxer a "boost"". The Vindicator. Archived from the original on 2019-07-10. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  3. ^ Hamill, Sean (2008-06-04). "The Pride of Youngstown: Kelly Pavlik Stayed and Fought". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  4. ^ Indri, Mike. "Taylor-Pavlik with full undercard report". East Side Boxing. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  5. ^ Rafael, Dan (2007-09-21). "Taylor, Steward have harsh words for Pavlik". Retrieved 2007-06-08.
  6. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  7. ^ Scalzo, Joe (2007-09-30). "Pavlik credits Valley support for victory". The Vindicator. p. 1.
  8. ^ Iole, Kevin (2007-10-02). "New champ Pavlik leaves paycheck at hotel". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
  9. ^ "2007 Boxing Year in Review". The Boxing Times. Archived from the original on 2007-05-19. Retrieved 2007-12-27.
  10. ^ "February bout seems likely for Taylor-Pavlik II". The Vindicator. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  11. ^ "Pavlik stays perfect after unanimous decision in rematch with Taylor". 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  12. ^ Maxse, Joe (2009-02-22). "Kelly Pavlik claims TKO triumph over Rubio before raucous Youngstown supporters". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2009-12-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Kelly Pavlik says he nearly died from reaction to medication". USA Today. 2009-10-23.
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External links

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Kingsley Ikeke
WBC-NABF middleweight champion
October 7, 2005 – June 2006
Title next held by
David Alonso López
Title last held by
Kingsley Ikeke
WBC-NABF middleweight champion
July 27, 2006 – August 2007
Title next held by
Bronco McKart
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Jermain Taylor
WBC middleweight champion
September 29, 2007 – April 17, 2010
Succeeded by
Sergio Martínez
WBO middleweight champion
September 29, 2007 – April 17, 2010
The Ring middleweight champion
September 29, 2007 – April 17, 2010
Somsak Sithchatchawal vs.
Mahyar Monshipour
BWAA Fight of the Year
vs. Jermain Taylor

Israel Vázquez vs.
Rafael Márquez III