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Kelly Pavlik not ready for Lucian Bute

Kelly Pavlik Lucian ButeBy John F. McKenna (McJack): Kelly Pavilik (37-2, 32 KO’s) did not look at all impressive in his win last Saturday night against Alfonso Lopez (21-1, 16 KO’s). Pavlik fought Lopez on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao – Shane Mosley fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pavlik exhibited a lot of ring rust, particularly in the early rounds against Lopez. After being out of action for a year since losing his middleweight crown to Sergio Martinez, it is understandable that Kelly would exhibit ring rust.

After the first four rounds Pavilik started to shed some of the ring rust but he was still anything but impressive. The question being asked is was Pavlik really that bad or was Lopez a better fighter than anyone anticipated. Lopez, who was 21 and 0 going into the fight, hung tough throughout the entire fight. Pavlik did uncork a few very good left hooks as the fight progressed into the middle to late rounds, but he barely threw his wrecking ball right hand, which is what the crowd wanted to see.

It must be pointed out that in addition to being inactive for a year Pavlik is fighting the demons of alcohol addiction. Kelly got out of rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic in January 2011 and has been sober for only six months. Pavlik is to be commended for going to the Betty Ford Clinic, which is as good as it gets and indicates how serious he is about turning both his life and his boxing career around. The Betty Ford Clinic will only take clients who they feel are serious about getting sober.

Almost as soon as the decision was announced that Pavlik had defeated Lopez the rumors started circulating as to who his next opponent would be. The name Lucain Bute continues to come up as a possibility for Kelly’s next fight. In my view it would be premature for Pavlik to face an opponent of Bute’s stature so early in his recovery. Six months in sobriety is a very short period of time, particularly for a fighter who has to be strong both mentally and physically. The emotions that used to be medicated with alcohol must now be handled through a twelve step program to be successful. Many people who have endured what Kelly Pavlik is going through describe it as an emotional roller coaster. It takes quite some time before things begin to level out.

Pavlik is still only twenty nine years old, so he definitely does have a chance to come back. If he is guided carefully through this period he certainly has the tools to turn things around. To his credit Kelly has been very honest with the media in describing what he went through. In an interview with reporters he said that he did not want to throw away all the things that he had worked so hard for. He said that he owed it to his family, his fans and himself to turn things around.

It is hoped that the Pavlik brain trust fully understands that getting a quick shot at Lucian Bute might not be in their best interest. A couple of tune up fights are in order to see where Pavlik is in his comeback efforts.

One thing Pavlik has going for him is his name recognition and his huge following. There are many people who are looking forward with anticipation to his upcoming fights. Hopefully he will not be too hasty in attempting to get a title shot.

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