Kelly Pavlik

"The Ghost"

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Real name

Kelly Pavlik


The Ghost

Rated at



6 ft. 2 in. (189 cm.)


75 in (190.5 cm)


Flag of the United States American

Birth date

April 5, 1982 (1982-04-05) (age 26)

Birth place

Youngstown, Ohio



Boxing record
Total fights




Wins by KO






No contests


Kelly Robert Pavlik (born April 5, 1982) is an American professional boxer. He is The Ring, WBC, and WBO middleweight champion, defeating Jermain Taylor to earn those titles.[1] He has made one successful defense of his titles.

Background and early life

Known as "The Ghost", Pavlik grew up on Youngstown's south side, in the traditional ethnic neighborhood of Lansingville.[2] He graduated from Lowellville High School and Mahoning County Joint Vocational School in 2000.[2] Pavlik has been trained by Jack Loew of Youngstown's South Side Boxing Gym for his entire career. Another assist goes to Dunner, Sepp, Ricky McFadden and Mark Metzka.[3]

Amateur highlights

  • 1998 National Jr. PAL amateur champion, 147 pounds

  • 1998 National Jr. Golden Gloves amateur champion, 147 pounds

  • 1999 U.S. National Under-19 amateur champion, 147 pounds

Professional career

Pavlik turned pro in 2000 and won his first 26 fights before stepping up in competition on October 7, 2005 to face Fulgencio Ziga for the vacant NABF middleweight title. Ziga scored a knockdown with a left hook in the first round, but Pavlik recovered quickly and dominated the rest of the fight. Ziga was cut over his right eye by a clash of heads, and his corner stopped the fight after the ninth round.

On July 7, 2006, Pavlik defeated former WBO junior middleweight champion Bronco McKart by sixth round TKO in his first defense of his NABF middleweight title. McKart scored a knockdown when both of Pavlik's gloves touched the canvas in the fourth round. Pavlik knocked McKart down twice in the sixth round before the referee stopped the fight.

Pavlik headlined in his hometown at the Chevrolet Centre on November 2, 2006 and put on a dominant performance against Lenord Pierre. Pavlik scored a knockdown with a right hand late in the first round, and rocked Pierre repeatedly in the second and third rounds. Pavlik knocked down Pierre again with a left hook in the fourth round and the referee stopped the fight.

On January 27, 2007, in Anaheim, California, Pavlik defeated Jose Luis Zertuche by eighth round knockout in his second and final defense of his NABF middleweight title. It was a fast-paced, exciting fight that concluded when Pavlik landed a right hand that froze Zertuche in his tracks and then landed an uppercut that dropped him face-first to the canvas.

[Fights with Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor

Pavlik defeated Edison Miranda on May 19, 2007, by TKO in the seventh round. The fight was a WBC eliminator bout. This fight established him as the #1 middleweight contender. Prior to the fight, Miranda seemed to ignore Pavlik, choosing rather to lob challenges at champion Jermain Taylor, who was fighting Cory Spinks on the same card. Meanwhile, Pavlik contended to sports journalists who would listen that he would "back Miranda up".

When the opening bell rang, Pavlik immediately charged Miranda and kept the contender backing up and on the defensive. During the sixth round, Pavlik knocked Miranda down to the canvas twice. After the first knock down, Miranda spat out his mouthpiece, causing referee Steve Smoger to deduct a point. As the sixth round ended, Miranda seemed unable to continue, but came out nonetheless. In the seventh round, Pavlik trapped Miranda in a corner with a barrage of vicious shots, forcing Smoger to stop the fight.[4] In the pre-fight build-up, Taylor's trainer Emmanuel Steward went on record as calling Pavlik "overrated" and promising a knockout win for his boxer.[5] It nearly happened, as Pavlik was knocked down in the second round and tossed about the ring for much of that round.

However, using his reach advantage and ability to trap opponents in the corner, Pavlik slowly turned the tide on Taylor. By the sixth round, many at ringside such as HBO commentator Larry Merchant saw the fight even. HBO's unofficial scorer Harold Lederman even had Pavlik leading the fight at the halfway point. Despite this, he was trailing on all three official scorecards. In the seventh round, Taylor appeared desperate as he was throwing power punches that mostly missed the mark. Pavlik took advantage with several power shots to the head, culminating with an overhand right which sent Taylor stumbling back into Pavlik's corner. With trainer Jack Loew encouraging him, Pavlik lit into Taylor until an uppercut sent Taylor crumpling onto the canvas. Referee Steve Smoger immediately waived off the fight, giving Pavlik the TKO win. With the victory, Pavlik became The Ring, WBC, and WBO middleweight champion.[1] After the fight with Taylor, Pavlik and his father, Mike Pavlik Sr., accidentally left their paychecks in their hotel room.[6] He was subsequently named The Boxing Times Fighter of the Year in 2007.[7]

After the defeat, Taylor activated his clause for a non-title rematch, which was held on February 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.[3] The fight was a more tactical duel, with Pavlik wearing Taylor down with continual jabs, while Taylor scored with more flashy, sporadic bursts. Pavlik won the last two rounds on all three cards on the strength of two body punches acknowledged as the best shots of the fight, one of which hurt Taylor. Pavlik won the fight by unanimous decision (117-111, 115-113, 116-112), handing Taylor his second defeat.[8]

Lineal middleweight champion

Pavlik made his first title defense of the middleweight championship against WBO #1 mandatory challenger Gary Lockett on June 7, 2008, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Pavlik defeated Lockett by third round TKO after Enzo Calzaghe, Lockett's trainer, threw in the towel after Lockett was down for the third time in the fight.

Showdown with Hopkins

On July 17, 2008, reported that Pavlik promoter Bob Arum reached a deal with Golden Boy Promotions, securing an October 18, 2008 fight between Pavlik and Bernard Hopkins, the former undisputed Middleweight champion, Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight champion, and top ten pound-for-pound mainstay. The non-title fight will take place at a catch-weight of 170 lbs., five pounds below the Light Heavyweight limit. The fight will air on HBO pay-per-view.[9]

Preceded by
Jermain Taylor
WBC Middleweight Champion
September 29, 2007 - present
WBO Middleweight Champion
September 29, 2007 - present
The Ring Middleweight Champion
September 29, 2007 - present