Kelly Pavlik returns on June 8 in Las Vegas, setting up the Pacquiao vs Bradley fight the next night at the MGM Grand. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Former middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik will have a bit more pressure on him in his next step on the comeback trail, as he's been set up with the pre-Pacquiao party main event on Friday Night Fights for June 8, live from the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. Pacquiao faces Timothy Bradley the next night at the MGM Grand.
That doesn't mean Pavlik is facing a tough opponent, though, as the 30-year-old slugger will be taking on Scott Sigmon, a Virginia native whose pro career has taken place mostly on the easy circuits of his home state and North Carolina.
Sigmon (22-3, 12 KO) was actually set to be Pavlik's comeback opponent in Pavlik's last bout, but that went instead to Aaron Jaco, an older club fighter from Florida, who had been knocked out in two of his previous four, with his previous four dating back to 2005.
Let's not beat around the bush here or pretend that Sigmon, 25, is being brought in to test Pavlik (38-2, 33 KO), because he's not. Pavlik disposed of Jaco in two rounds on April 4, and figures to do the same with Sigmon. The two of them have had a few harsh words in the press, but it's also about the only time anyone's ever heard of Scott Sigmon, so of course he's taking the chance to put his name out there if it's connected to Pavlik. He should.
It will be Pavlik's second fight as a Robert Garcia-trained pro, and time still has to tell us if that relationship will bear fruit or not. We won't know until Pavlik faces someone good, unless he looks bad against someone who isn't, as he did last year with Alfonso Lopez in what turned out to be his last fight with Jack Loew in his corner.
It's sort of odd to note this since this is supposed to just be about this June 8 fight, but what the hell: Did you realize that unless you count Marco Antonio Rubio, the last time Pavlik actually beat a world class fighter was February 2008? We're talking four years here, where his wins have been Gary Lockett, Rubio, Miguel Espino, Alfonso Lopez, and Aaron Jaco. Rubio is by far the best of that lot, and I can't really say I've ever considered him more than a fringe contender, even when he was justifiably top ten ranked in a weak division. Someone had to be, and he's a solid, competent fighter, but world class? I don't see it, and never have.
For those who think Pavlik may wind up in a position to beat, say, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr later this year, I think that's worth noting. They've been beating roughly the same level of opposition since 2008, but Pavlik actually got into the ring with Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez, so he lost a couple, too.
Also in action on June 8 will be 20-year-old super bantamweight Jesse Magdaleno (8-0, 5 KO) and Notre Dame graudate and sorta-boxer Mike Lee (8-0, 5 KO). If only one of them can get on TV, pray that it's Magdaleno, who can actually fight and is a real, legitimate boxing prospect, not a pure marketing tool Top Rank somehow managed to get into a Subway commercial alongside athletes anyone has heard of who are actually standouts at their sports.
I will say that I like that the promoters are consistently making these lead-in shows on Fridays. In a couple of weeks, Mayweather vs Cotto will be preceded by Daniel Ponce De Leon vs Eduardo Lazcano on May 4, which will be shown on Fox Sports networks.