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Kelly Pavlik Cancels ShoBox Fight, Future in Doubt

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Kelly Pavlik has cancelled his fifth fight in two years. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kelly Pavlik has cancelled his fifth fight in two years. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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Top Rank has released a statement noting that Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik has pulled out of his scheduled Saturday fight in Youngstown with Darryl Cunningham, expressing their disappointment with the former middleweight champion.

"Top Rank is very disappointed at Kelly’s sudden decision to discontinue the rebuilding of his boxing career," said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, Pavlik’s promoter. "Kelly’s team specifically outlined a strategy for Kelly to return to the ring in an effective fashion. Kelly’s team gave us their objectives and we set them on a course, which began last May with Kelly’s fight against Alfonso Lopez and was to continue on Saturday against Darryl Cunningham. It seems Kelly has derailed this plan."

Pavlik (37-2, 32 KO) struggled in May to get past Texas club fighter Alfonso Lopez, and was facing Cunningham in order to prepare for a November matchup with Lucian Bute. But that Bute fight may now be in jeopardy if Top Rank is as furious as they might well be with Pavlik.

Since losing to Bernard Hopkins in October 2008, Pavlik has pulled out of more fights than he's actually fought. In June 2009, he bailed on a fight with Sergio Mora. Later that year, he twice canceled dates with Paul Williams. Last November, he was pulled out of a slot on the Pacquiao vs Margarito card at Cowboys Stadium. And now, this, his fifth cancellation in two years. He's actually fought just four times.

Obviously speculation is going to be that Pavlik's personal life is again out of order. The 29-year-old had two stints in rehab in 2010, with many feeling that his comments after indicated that Pavlik hadn't taken the situation seriously. Recently, Pavlik was involved in a brawl with his brother Michael, and fled the scene before police arrived, later denying that alcohol was involved.

But Pavlik says that it's a business decision:

"The fight is off and the Bute fight is not going to happen. I'm not going to fight a southpaw for peanuts."

Pavlik was apparently offered $1.1 million to fight Lucian Bute in November, which he felt was too low, and frankly he might be right. The hope is that there's a legitimate enough reason for Pavlik to rebel here, and that this is purely business. But either way, his career may be on the rocks right now depending on how upset Top Rank is.