Kelly Pavlik

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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[edit]

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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Professional record summary
42 fights 40 wins 2 losses
By knockout 34 0
By decision 6 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
42 Win 40–2 United States Will Rosinsky UD 10 Jul 7, 2012 United States Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S.
41 Win 39–2 United States Scott Sigmon TKO 7 (10), 3:00 Jun 8, 2012 United States The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
40 Win 38–2 United States Aaron Jaco TKO 2 (10), 0:45 Mar 31, 2012 United States Illusions Theater, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
39 Win 37–2 United States Alfonso López III MD 10 May 7, 2011 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
38 Loss 36–2 Argentina Sergio Martínez UD 12 Apr 17, 2010 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Lost WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
37 Win 36–1 United States Miguel Espino TKO 5 (12), 1:44 Dec 19, 2009 United States Beeghly Center, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. Retained WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
36 Win 35–1 Mexico Marco Antonio Rubio RTD 9 (12), 3:00 Feb 21, 2009 United States Chevrolet Centre, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. Retained WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
35 Loss 34–1 United States Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Oct 18, 2008 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
34 Win 34–0 United Kingdom Gary Lockett TKO 3 (12), 1:40 Jun 7, 2008 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Retained WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
33 Win 33–0 United States Jermain Taylor UD 12 Feb 16, 2008 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
32 Win 32–0 United States Jermain Taylor TKO 7 (12), 2:14 Sep 29, 2007 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won WBC, WBO, and The Ring middleweight titles
31 Win 31–0 Colombia Edison Miranda TKO 7 (12), 1:54 May 19, 2007 United States FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
30 Win 30–0 Mexico Jose Luis Zertuche KO 8 (12), 1:40 Jan 27, 2007 United States Honda Center, Anaheim, California, U.S. Retained WBC–NABF middleweight title
29 Win 29–0 Haiti Lenord Pierre TKO 4 (12), 0:46 Nov 2, 2006 United States Chevrolet Centre, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
28 Win 28–0 United States Bronco McKart TKO 6 (12), 2:45 Jul 27, 2006 United States Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, U.S. Won vacant WBC–NABF middleweight title
27 Win 27–0 Colombia Fulgencio Zúñiga TKO 9 (12), 3:00 Oct 7, 2005 United States The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won vacant WBC–NABF middleweight title
26 Win 26–0 United States Vincent Harris TKO 2 (8), 2:19 Aug 26, 2005 United States D & I Colonial Ballroom, Houston, Texas, U.S.
25 Win 25–0 United States Daniel Neal TKO 1 (8), 1:49 Jun 10, 2005 United States Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
24 Win 24–0 Dominican Republic Dorian Beaupierre TKO 2 (10), 2:35 Mar 4, 2005 United States Silver Star Hotel and Casino, Choctaw, Mississippi, U.S.
23 Win 23–0 United States Ross Thompson UD 8 Nov 27, 2004 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
22 Win 22–0 United States Carlton Holland KO 2 (8), 2:59 Sep 18, 2004 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
21 Win 21–0 Mexico Pedro Ortega TKO 6 (10) Jul 2, 2004 United States Fieldhouse, Struthers, Ohio, U.S.
20 Win 20–0 Mexico Roberto Baro KO 2 (8), 2:16 Mar 26, 2004 United States Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
19 Win 19–0 United States Anthony Ivory UD 8 Jan 23, 2004 United States Expo Center, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
18 Win 18–0 United States Rico Cason KO 2 (10), 2:02 Jul 1, 2003 United States Cafaro Field, Niles, Ohio, U.S.
17 Win 17–0 Mexico Cesar Avila TKO 6 (6), 2:00 Mar 22, 2003 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
16 Win 16–0 Mexico Eduardo Gutierrez TKO 2 (6), 2:59 Feb 8, 2003 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
15 Win 15–0 United States Edson Madrid UD 6 Sep 14, 2002 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 United States Abel Hernandez TKO 1 (6), 2:54 Jul 30, 2002 United States Lucky Star Casino, Concho, Oklahoma, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 United States Eric Olds KO 1 (6), 2:45 Jun 21, 2002 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 Russia Robert Dasoyan KO 2 (6), 2:15 Feb 23, 2002 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States Rob Bleakley KO 2 (8), 1:56 Nov 21, 2001 United States Holiday Inn Metroplex, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 Mexico Mario Lopez TKO 2 (6), 1:42 Aug 4, 2001 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Grady Brewer TKO 2 (4), 2:48 Jun 8, 2001 United States Ho-Chunk Casino, Baraboo, Wisconsin, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Tommy Walker TKO 1 (4), 2:46 Mar 23, 2001 United States Sports Center, Owensboro, Kentucky, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Mathias Bedburdick TKO 3 (4), 2:43 Feb 4, 2001 United States Lucky Star Casino, Concho, Oklahoma, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Cedric Johnson TKO 2 (4), 1:54 Dec 15, 2000 United States Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Lafayette Randolph TKO 2 (4), 1:48 Nov 17, 2000 United States Peppermill, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Anthony Collier TKO 1 (4) Oct 15, 2000 United States Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Frankie Sanchez TKO 1 (4), 1:59 Sep 15, 2000 United States Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 Puerto Rico Nelson Hernandez TKO 1 (4) Aug 5, 2000 United States Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Eric Benito Tzand TKO 3 (4) Jun 16, 2000 United States Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.

See also[edit]


  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.
  15. ^ "Pavlik injures rib, withdraws from Nov. 13 fight". November 2010.
  16. ^ "Ward-Pavlik, Arreola-Stiverne Double at Galen Center".
  17. ^ "Ward to have shoulder surgery, Pavlik fight off". 27 December 2012.
  18. ^ "Pavlik to retire, worried over long-term health". 19 January 2013.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Pavlik charged after refusing to pay cab fare". 18 September 2013.
  21. ^ "Boxer Kelly Pavlik charged with assault for Foo Fighters incident". 20 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Pavlik indicted on felony assault charges". 20 March 2016.

External links[edit]

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