Kelly Pavlik wasn't at his best tonight, but got through his first comeback fight with a win over Alfonso Lopez. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Kelly Pavlik didn't look his best tonight, but the former middleweight world champion overcame a game and difficult Alfonso Lopez, closing strong with a great tenth round to win the decision. Scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 95-95. Bad Left Hook scored it 96-94, same as Showtime's Al Bernstein. Antonio Tarver, also scoring and calling the fight for Showtime, had it 96-95 for Pavlik. 99-91 and 98-92 were definitely wide scores, in my view.
Pavlik (37-2, 32 KO) started slowly in the fight, looking very rusty. It's understandable -- Pavlik has been out for a year, is fighting heavy and new to the super middleweight division, and his opponent wasn't making it easy by moving around the ring. Lopez (21-1, 16 KO) was more difficult than he might have been signed up to be. The little-known Texan gave Pavlik a lot of trouble by throwing in combination, while the Youngstown native often had trouble getting off more than a punch at a time.
In the middle rounds, Pavlik picked it up while Lopez slowed down a bit. Pavlik's left hook was the surprising factor in the fight, as for most of the bout it was his best punch, rather than his more famous straight right hand. But the right hand came on late in the fight, particularly in a great 10th round, when it seemed like Kelly Pavlik was the old Kelly Pavlik again, hurting Lopez repeatedly.
Bad Left Hook's live coverage continues, with Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. vs Jorge Arce up next, followed by the Pacquiao vs Mosley main event.