BoxingScene.com is reporting that former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will indeed soon head to California to train with Robert Garcia, and is targeting a return in April or May.
Pavlik turns 30 in April and was recently arrested in Ohio on a DUI charge, which of course is hardly his first scrape with the law or alcohol issues. He's done two stints in rehab since 2010, and has fought just once in both of the last two years, losing to Sergio Martinez in April 2010, and returning with a rusty win over Alfonso Lopez last May on the Pacquiao vs Mosley undercard.
Pavlik has split with the only trainer he's ever known, Jack Loew. He's still managed by Cameron Dunkin and promoted by Top Rank, so he's going to get his chances if he can keep himself together.
One has to wonder what Garcia can get out of Pavlik. Yes, Garcia is a terrific trainer, and has maybe the best stable of top fighters in all of the sport with Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios, Mikey Garcia, and Antonio Margarito under his care. But how does Pavlik fit in? Garcia's not some joke trainer who's going to take Pavlik on as a favor to someone else. Dunkin managing Donaire and Rios surely helped set the relationship in motion, but Cameron has little real control over Pavlik. He can open the doors, but Kelly has to walk through them.
Honestly, I've got no real clue what to expect of Pavlik. He's unreliable at this point, and he's a risk for any TV network to schedule, and a risk for any promoter to spend time promoting, and frankly he's a risk for any trainer to spend time training. It's all up to him. If Kelly Pavlik wants to fight, he'll fight. If he doesn't, he won't.
Again, I can't really bring myself to do the thing where we pretend to be surprised that he has issues outside the ring, or even pretend to be disappointed. It's not new, and frankly it's probably not ever really been dealt with, and it may be a long damn time before it ever really does get dealt with. Kelly Pavlik is nowhere close to true rock bottom in any way. As terrible as it might be to say, things can get a lot worse than a four-wheeler DUI and one professional boxing match per year.