• I can’t say I’m surprised that former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik decided to call it quits last week, at 30. From what I have been told, the move to Oxnard, California to train with Robert Garcia had not been going as well as planned and that Pavlik often appeared disinterested during training. It’s fortunate for Pavlik that Andre Ward had to back out of a scheduled January date with a shoulder injury; that could have gotten real ugly, real fast.
Is Pavlik done? I doubt it. Boxing is littered with comebacks, and Pavlik is young enough that he can take a couple of years off. I just hope Pavlik can keep the demons that have chased him the last few years in check. I wrote the first story on Pavlik following his second stint in rehab and I remember his defiance towards accepting that he had a drinking problem. It’s going to be a battle for him to keep his life in order now that he is retired. I hope that, like so many of his battles in the ring, he wins it.
• I’m told Gabriel Rosado, who absorbed a pretty good beating from Gennady Golovkin last weekend, is recovering well and expects to return sometime this summer. Rosado plans to drop back down to 154-pounds, where he will still be a top contender. I know Rosado has his eyes on Saul Alvarez, but a good fight for him would be a rematch with Alfredo Angulo, who knocked Rosado out in the second round in 2009.
• Speaking of Golovkin, promoter Tom Loeffler told me the plan going forward was to have Golovkin fight in March, somewhere in Europe, before returning to the U.S. in June for a bigger HBO fight. If IBF titleholder Daniel Geale wins his rematch with Anthony Mundine later this month, a unification fight with Golovkin would make for a good matchup.
• Timothy Bradley — who has made some of the worst business decisions in recent memory — is reportedly closing in on a fight with Yuri Gamboa. I like it. It’s a very winnable fight for Bradley and would give him a big bounce towards a bigger fight later in the year.
• Checked in with Sergio Martinez’s advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz, last weekend, who told me Martinez is doing well in his recovery from knee surgery. According to Lewkowicz, Martinez is doing strictly upper body workouts right now but will begin full training in late February and will be ready to fight in April.
• Top Rank announced the signing of Chinese amateur superstar Zou Shiming, a three-time world champion and two-time gold medalist in the junior flyweight division. Zou, 31, will make his pro debut in Macau in April.
• If you missed Sergey Kovalev’s one-sided beating of former light heavyweight titleholder Gabriel Campillo, find the replay on NBC Sports Network. In his stiffest test to date, Kovalev walked right through Campillo, a slick, talented boxer who had been knocked out just once before. Kovalev is more than just raw power: He’s a smart boxer who under the tutelage of John David Jackson has developed a complete game. He goes to the head, to the body and when he smells blood has a tremendous killer instinct. Main Events would like to bring him back sometime in June, preferably on HBO. If Tavoris Cloud can get past Bernard Hopkins in March, a Cloud-Kovalev showdown would be explosive.
• I like Bryant Jennings — he was SI.com’s 2012 Prospect of the Year. But fighting Wladimir Klitschko right now is a bad, bad idea. Jennings made great strides in 2012 but he is nowhere near ready for that kind of fight. At this point in his career, a knockout loss to Klitschko might be something he doesn’t recover from.
• Still no decisions have been made on the futures of the Klitschko brothers, per manager Bernd Boente, though I still expect both to be back in the ring sometime this spring.
• So Jorge Arce wants another fight. Boxers really need to stop using the word ‘retirement.’
• Another week, another disgraceful judging performance, this time by Tony Paolillo, who inexplicably scored the Roman Martinez-Juan Carlos Burgos fight for Martinez, 116-112. I’ve watched that fight three times and there is no way you can give Martinez that many rounds. The official punch stats gave Burgos a 286-193 advantage, including 234-164 in power shots.
Unsurprisingly, Burgos’ promoters demanded a rematch.
“Juan Carlos won that fight hands down and this week we will file for an immediate rematch”, said Artie Pelullo, CEO of Banner Promotions. “The kid worked hard and should be a world champion this morning. We just hope the WBO agrees with what the whole world saw and does the right thing by granting us this rematch.”