Pavlik Must Rediscover Hunger to Return to Top

Pavlik Must Rediscover Hunger to Return to Top

Once upon a time -- a time that today seems so long ago -- Kelly Pavlik was the next face of American boxing. He was young and powerful with a blue-collar background that made him easy to identify with.

Those days are gone, however, faded by losses, personal problems and bad business decisions. The latest: Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs) has elected to pull out of Saturday's super middleweight fight with Daryl Cunningham (23-2, 10 KOs) in Pavlik's hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.

"Top Rank is very disappointed at Kelly's sudden decision to discontinue the rebuilding of his boxing career," Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. "Kelly's team specifically outlined a strategy for Kelly to return to the ring in an effective fashion. Kelly's team gave us their objectives and we set them on a course, which began last May with Kelly's fight against Alfonso Lopez and was to continue on Saturday against Darryl Cunningham. It seems Kelly has derailed this plan."

Here's my understanding of what happened: Pavlik took the fight with Cunningham for short money -- Showtime's ShoBox series, usually reserved for young prospects, would have paid him around $50,000 -- with the understanding that he would make more in a lucrative showdown with Lucian Bute on the network later this year.

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