Citing concerns about his health and motivation, 30-year-old Kelly Pavlik told ESPN.com that he will retire from boxing.
The former middleweight champion boasts a lifetime record of 40-2, including 34 knockouts. He held the title belt from 2007, when he defeated Jermain Taylor, to 2010, when he lost to Sergio Martinez, making three successful defenses in between.
Pavlik told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that concern over future medical problems, as well as a lack of drive to continue fighting, led to his decision to retire.
“When you stay in the sport too long you have health problems. That’s a big, big thing for me,” Pavlik said. “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.
Pavlik took two separate layoffs of nearly a full year between 2010 and 2012, facing personal problems that included alcoholism, a contract dispute and a breakup with trainer Jack Loew. He has plans to open a gym in his native Youngstown, Ohio.
He was scheduled to challenge super middleweight champion Andre Ward on Jan. 26, but the fight was pushed back and eventually cancelled because of Ward’s shoulder injury. Pavlik said that the cancellation may have been a blessing in disguise.
“I’ve been a pro for 13 years and doing this since I was 9,” he said. “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.”