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Kelly Pavlik a 'serious candidate' to face Lucian Bute

With his fight with Andre Ward canceled, former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik is suddenly a very hot commodity, and is being strongly considered to face Lucian Bute next.

Harry How

Kelly Pavlik lost a fight with Andre Ward yesterday, when Ward canceled the bout to undergo shoulder surgery, but the former middleweight champion from Youngstown, Ohio, isn't lacking in lucrative options for a next bout.

WBO super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham says that his team are negotiating with Pavlik's people for a fight that was on everyone's wish list back in 2008, and now Lucian Bute's management say they're also strongly considering Pavlik for their next bout.

Pavlik (40-2, 34 KO) went 3-0 in a trio of rehab efforts under new trainer Robert Garcia in 2012, and while he was expected to be handled by Ward, fights with Abraham (36-3, 28 KO) or Bute (31-1, 24 KO) are more interesting on paper.

Bute-Pavlik nearly happened in 2011, but Pavlik pulled out of a tune-up with Darryl Cunningham, wound up going off the deep end a bit, and fired trainer Jack Loew. There was some belief at the time that his career was over, but in 2012 he resurrected his career, at least to some degree, and got himself back into the mix for 2013.

Which fight would you rather see?