Tonight at 10 p.m. EDT on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com, former middleweight champion Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik is back in action with his second fight under trainer Robert Garcia, in what could be called Act II of his boxing career. He'll be facing Scott "Cujo" Sigmon, a club fighter from Virginia who believes he can pull the upset, though frankly nobody else does.
Teddy Atlas of ESPN says that he does not believe Sigmon (22-3, 12 KO) will be any challenge for Pavlik tonight, seeing Sigmon as a "low-level opponent" hand-picked to help Pavlik build some confidence back.
"I don't think a lot of physical damage has been done, but there's been some mental, emotional damage done," Atlas says about the Youngstown, Ohio, native. "You wonder if he can get back from that, if he can get his real conidence.
"I still think he needs some development in the technical areas. He's a tall, long guy that's got a good left hand, but I don't see him do enough things off that left hand. I see him set up the right hand, and he's got a pretty good left hook, too. But I don't see him do enough things at a distance with that left hand. I'd still like to see more, growth, more development, even though he's been a world champ. I know that sounds funny to say. But now he's playing only with big boys. And with the big boys, you've gotta do more than just bring a good right hand."
Manager Cameron Dunkin isn't selling this as any big challenge for Pavlik, but says that the fighter needs to look good tonight, and then could set up a big fight this fall:
"I know Kelly is not in with the greatest opponent in the world, but if he looks anything like he looked [against Jaco], he'll be ready to fight some top guys by September, and after that, he'll be ready to fight for the title. I think he's got several more years left in him at the top level. I think he's going to be a big deal in boxing again."
Pavlik (38-2, 33 KO) has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and has an offer from the IBF to fight Adonis Stevenson in a title eliminator on August 11, though nobody is expecting him to take that fight at this point.
Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage of ESPN Friday Night Fights tonight. The guy from the Subway commercials is also in action.