Like a ‘Ghost,’ Kelly Pavlik surprisingly retires from boxing

It seems like Kelly Pavlik’s back is against the proverbial wall.

Citing a lack of desire and concerns for his wellbeing during an interview with ESPN’s Dan Rafael, former middleweight king Kelly Pavlik surprisingly decided to retire from boxing last night.

Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs), who on June 8 bludgeoned a mouthy Scott “Cujo” Sigmon en route to a seventh round TKO victory, battled for the third time in 2012 when he earned a unanimous decision triumph over “Power” Will Rosinsky on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” card in July at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Pavlik, whose only losses as a professional came at the hands of legendary pugilist Bernard Hopkins and 2010 “Fighter of the Year” Sergio Martinez, had won four consecutive scraps and maintained his pledge to remain active and avoid trouble.

“When you stay in the sport too long you have health problems. That’s a big, big thing for me,” said Pavlik, 30, who has long battled alcoholism and underwent two major surgeries on his left hand in 2009 to mend a stubborn staph infection that placed his overall health in grave jeopardy. “I’m not talking about now. I’m talking about in the future. I’m talking about when I’m 55 or 60. What’s gonna happen to me then? Why take any more chances, especially in that sport. It’s a brutal sport and you never know what can happen.”

After initially being discouraged, “The Ghost,” whose March 2 bout against The Ring, WBA, WBC and super middleweight champ Andre Ward was scratched, now believes the cancellation was a blessing in disguise.

“I’ve been a pro for 13 years and doing this since I was 9,” said Pavlik, who left the Betty Ford Clinic for the second time in January 2011 and endured a nasty split with lifelong trainer Jack Loew in the autumn of 2011. “I go away for two or three months at a time (to train) and I’m tired of leaving my family. It comes to a point where you just don’t want to do that anymore. I put my money away and then with the Ward fight being canceled, well, health and time with my family is more important at this stage, especially with no guaranteed big fight or date.”

Ideally, Pavlik will find solace outside of the squared circle and flourish as a man.

Unfortunately, the Kelly Pavlik story seems destined for more roadblocks and sadness.

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