By Mike Smith: Former WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik says he’s thinking of making a comeback at cruiserweight after being out of the ring for 6 1/2 years. Pavlik, 36, hasn’t fought since defeating Will Rosinsky by a 10 round unanimous decision on July 7, 2012. Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) was thinking about coming back four and a half years ago, but he opted to stay retired.
As far as Pavlik’s age, he’s still young enough to compete, as long as he puts 100 percent effort on his training, and he fights frequently enough. Pavlik will be turning 37-years-old on April 4. That’s not old for the cruiserweight division. The only question is whether Pavlik can handle the power of the fighters in that division. In terms of his conditioning, it also could be a difficult transition for Pavlik to fight at cruiserweight, since he’ll be carrying around a lot more weight than he did when he was competing at middleweight. Pavlik would rehydrate to the low 170s after he would make weight for his bouts at middleweight. But for Pavlik to compete at cruiserweight, he’ll be in the 200 lb range. As long as Pavlik’s cardiovascular system can deal with the extra weight, he should be fine as far as conditioning.
Pavlik has ruled out fighting unified IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksander Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) in that division. Pavlik doesn’t want to fight him for some reason.
The 6’2″ Pavlik looks nothing like the spender fighter that he once was, as he’s bulked up with power lifting recently, and he’s now looking considerably bigger than the rail thin fighter that fought years ago. For Pavlik to come back, he would need to work on his flexibility, as he’s looking too bulked up. He no longer has the look of a boxer. He’s now looking like a weight lifter, and that would hurt his chances of competing against the best fighters at cruiserweight.
“I’m thinking about it,” Pavlik said to Joe Rogan’s MMA Show. “Cruiserweight would be the range. Anybody but [Oleksander] Usyk. I don’t want the rumor mill to start, ‘He’s broke, he needs the money.’ That’s not the case. I’m still only 36. I still have that small window. It’s still where I’m not 40. I’m not 38. I’ve been out for 4 1/2 years, and I’ve been working out,” Pavlik said.
Pavlik has transformed himself from a skinny guy to that of a muscular guy with his power lifting. He had a good punch when he was fighting at middleweight, but the question is whether his power will carry up to the cruiserweight division. If Pavlik lacks the power to hurt the cruiserweights, he’s going to have problems. Those guys a lot bigger than the fighters that Pavlik was competing with at middleweight and super middleweight, and they could hurt him.
After Pavlik suffered a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision loss to Sergio Martinez in 2010, he moved up to super middleweight and won four consecutive fights against Alfonso Lopez, Aaron Jaco, Scott Sigmon and Will Rosinsky. Pavlik barely beat Lopez in his first fight at 168.