Reappearing Ghost?

By John Stran

In the sport of boxing, like many sports, there is a peak age for any boxer.

Arguably, the age a boxer is in their prime physically and technically is around 30. Six years past the age of this peak is retired Youngstown boxer, Kelly Pavlik.

Pavlik fought in the middleweight division (160lbs) where he obtained the WBC and WBO belts, and finished his career with a record of 40 wins, two losses with 34 KOs. Or at least we thought he was finished.

Recently on the Joe Rogan podcast, Pavlik said he was tossing around the idea of jumping back in the ring. He stressed the point that he was not set on coming back and a return would require a lot more time in the gym.

A recent expenditure in powerlifting is evident in Pavlik’s appearance, a bulk to his upper body and arms that feels impossible thinking back to his days as a lean middleweight. This means he’ll either move up in class, fighting in possibly the cruiserweight class (200lbs), or a brutal regimen of non-stop cardio awaits him in order to get back down to middleweight.       

Even being older than the peaking age for a boxer and being above his normal fighting class, there’s no reason Pavlik can’t make a successful comeback.

Boxing is different than a lot of other professional sports in that there is a massive gap between the best and the worst in any division. This would work out in favor for Pavlik.

His comeback does not and may never mean he fights for a title, which is fine. He has a wide array of talent to choose from and his name is popular in Youngstown and popular amongst those who breathe the sport. His name isn’t as known as Floyd Mayweather, so he may not get the opportunity to fight for a belt, even if he does still have the skill.

Pavlik could emulate Mayweather’s post-retirement boxing career; boxing those untrained in the sport as Mayweather did with mixed martial artist Conor McGregor and kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa. If not to that extent, Pavlik would be able to get a fight with some upcoming prospects in whichever division he chooses.  

“He doesn’t owe boxing anything,” Pavlik said referring to Mayweather during the podcast with Rogan, and neither does Pavlik.

Those who have fought and trained nearly their entire life sometimes find it hard to just spectate the sport. They get what is known as a “fighters itch,” the urge to return to possibly the only thing they may truly know — fight.

Since his retirement, Pavlik has been caught up in different issues including multiple arrests and a drinking problem. His idle hands appeared to have nothing to do after boxing beside make up for the mischief he missed out on while training as a kid.      

So, even if Pavlik’s comeback doesn’t put him in contention for a belt and shake up the boxing world, it may be the best thing for him.