Kelly Pavlik's Latest Redemption Tour Starts in Texas

By Jake Donovan

There’s two ways of viewing Kelly Pavlik’s latest ring return: it’s either a mighty fall from grace that he’s forced to serve as the co-feature of a card airing on Azteca America (Saturday, 10PM ET), or that he’s still enough of a name to bring relevance to a card that otherwise flies under the radar.

The combination of the two statements says that Pavlik’s comeback tour is right on course.

The former middleweight titlist made weight for Saturday night’s co-feature versus Aaron Jaco (15-2, 5KO), which airs live from the Illusions Theatre in San Antonio. Pavlik (37-2, 32KO) weighed in at 169.2 lb, slightly less than Jaco, who hit the scales at 169.4 lb for their scheduled 10-round super middleweight bout.

Unbeaten featherweight Evgeny Gradovich – who trains with Pavlik under red-hot corernman Robert Garcia in Oxnard, Calif. – headlines the show as he faces Francisco Leal. Both fighters came in under the featherweight limit – Gradovich (12-0, 6KO) weighed 125.6, while Leal (16-5-3, 10KO) was 125.6 lb. for their 10-round main event.

Pavlik fights for just the second time since his lineal middleweight reign came to an end in April 2010. The run lasted more than 2 ½ years, beginning with a sensational off-the-canvas stoppage of Jermain Taylor in an instant classic. 

High expectations were placed on Pavlik, whose all-action style and ability to bring a posse of fans from his economically devastated hometown of Youngstown, OH were believed to be the formula for the sport’s next budding star. Instead, his reign was littered with disinteresting matchups, injuries, postponements and a lopsided points loss to Bernard Hopkins in a non-title catchweight bout in Oct. ’08. 

The reign concluded with a points loss to Sergio Martinez nearly two years ago; Pavlik has struggled to since pick up the pieces. His lone bout was a lethargic points win over Alfonso Lopez last May, a bout that was lost in a sea of bad press surrounding career low points for the Ohioan. The letdowns included stints in rehab for alcohol abuse and a well-documented withdrawal of a scheduled summer Showtime appearance in his hometown, pulling out of a scheduled bout with Daryl Cunningham during what was supposed to be fight week.

Pavlik has since made amends with promoter Top Rank and has headed west, relocating to California and enlisting the services of Garcia. Saturday’s bout will mark their first together.

As far as opponents go, Jaco appears as safe a choice as they come. The Floridian boasts no wins of note, was knocked out in both of his losses, coming against mediocre opposition before stepping away from the ring in 2006. Jaco returned late last year after a five-year break, scoring a first round knockout in a local club show.

Full card (Michael Campbell at the scales):
Francisco Leal 125.4 lb vs. Evgeny Gradovich 125.6 lb
Kelly Pavlik 169.2 lb vs. Aaron Jaco 169.4 lb
Ivan Najera 132 lb vs. James Lester 131.8 lb
Luis Zarazua 125 lb vs. Victor Sanchez 124.4 lb
Adam Lopez 119 lb vs. Ramon Bayala 119 lb
Eduardo Alicea 173.4 lb vs. Edwynn Jones 169.6 lb
Saul Rodriguez 127 lb vs. Ricardo Valencia 126.8 lb
Bryant Perrella 151 lb vs. Arturo Lopez 155 lb

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Follow Jake on Twitter:@JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected] 
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment - View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines NSAC On Golovkin's Claims: No Favoritism For Canelo in Vegas Jerwin Ancajas vs. Jonas Sultan May Land in Bay Area or LA Ruben Villa, LaRon Mitchell Return To Action on April 14 Erislandy Lara: If Hurd Gets Reckless, He'll Get Knocked Out! Michael Grant vs. Michael Sprott Set Down For MBS Arena Max Ornelas vs. Tony Lopez on April 20 in Vegas, BeIN Sports Paul Spadafora Pleads Guilty To Resisting Arrest, Simple Assault Magdaleno vs. Dogboe Event Set, Undercard Details Revealed Pedraza Targets Lozada Revenge Clash, Arum Likes The Fight Haye Admits: I Thought There Was No Way Bellew Could Win Golovkin To Present Trophy at $1 million Santa Anita Derby Joshua: Hopefully I Can Get Parker Out of There Between 6 and 8 Canelo Vows To Kick Golovkin's 'F***ing Ass' For PED Comments James DeGale: On My Best Day, No One at 168 Can Beat Me! Photos: Dillian Whyte, Lucas Browne - Face-Off at Final Presser Parker Had Two Elbow Surgeries Amid Negotiations for Joshua Fight Logan Yoon vs. Juan Carlos Salgado in Hollywood, Florida Hearn: Whyte Was 'Poor' Against Helenius, Fight Was a Stinker Parker: Joshua, His Team Are Underestimating Me From Fury Fight Abel Sanchez: Golovkin Pissed Off, Tired of Being Pushed Around! Joshua: Expect Blood; Hope Parker Fight is Like Bowe-Holyfield Carlos Molina on Being Cautious With Mexican Meat, 365 Testing Stephen Simmons Contemplating Retirement After Askin Loss Frampton vs. Donaire - WBO Interim-Title Now at Stake Willie Limond Inks With MTK Ahead of His Comeback Joshua Explains Why Parker is Tougher Fight Than Wilder Golovkin: If Canelo Rematch Falls Out - I Want Billy Joe Saunders! Otto Wallin vs. Adrian Granat: Robin Safar Added To The Card Hearn: Whyte vs. Browne Winner Will 100% Get a Title Shot Joshua: I'm Not Overlooking Parker, Not the One Talking Wilder Golovkin Promoter: GGG Wants Canelo, NOT Looking For Way Out! Pacquiao Camp Standing Firm That Top Rank Contract Expired Joshua Interested in UFC Deal, But Says He's 'Riding With' Hearn Photos: Ryan Garcia, Fernando Vargas - Ready For Battle WBC Prez is Shocked: This is Not The Golovkin That We Know Bob Arum: We're Not Ready To Give Up on Felix Verdejo Ryan Martin vs. Luis Eduardo Florez Tops Hollywood Fight Nights Joshua Warns Wilder: Be Realistic or We'll Freeze You Out Hughie Fury Prepares For Sexton With Bolton Wanderers Top Rank on Making Deal With Golden Boy For Loma-Linares

Latest Active Forum Threads