One of the big stories in boxing today, obviously, is that Kelly Pavlik has pulled out of his Saturday night fight with Darryl Cunningham, leaving a lot of folks holding the bag on a career that may well be finished in top-level boxing. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum spoke with Keith Idec about where Pavlik is at, and sounds at his wits' end with the Youngstown fighter:
"The way I read it is that he doesn’t want to fight anymore. ... I don’t know what more you can do. So it seems to me, coming the way it did, the week of the fight, it seems to me that he has second thoughts about fighting. ... I’m really troubled by this. It’s got nothing to do with him fighting or not fighting. I’m past that. I’m really troubled by what’s happening with him as a person."
Arum adds that he has heard that Pavlik is not speaking with his father, and of course Pavlik was recently involved in a brawl in Ohio with his brother, which sparked talk that he was drinking again. Pavlik spent time in rehab last year for alcohol issues. Arum also says that the $1.35 million or so that Pavlik was going to be guaranteed to fight Lucian Bute was a good deal, and that he had negotiated a 60-40 split with Interbox for the fight, with Pavlik taking 82% of Top Rank's 40% share.
In most cases I'd say you shouldn't speculate, but we said that about Pavlik for years. It was always some cover story from his camp, but in the end it turned out that the guy had personal problems, and it appears those haven't gone away, be they alcohol issues, something else, or some combination. I'm certainly not saying that I know for sure that Pavlik has had issues, but the smoke/fire thing usually turns out in boxing, and in life, and you just can't ignore how many times Pavlik has bailed on fights in the last two years (five now) or how bad all of this looks. Arum's comments seem to confirm suspicions from fans and others, or at least give them added weight.