We had a WFNY ambassador in attendance ringside last night at the Beeghly Center on the campus of Youngstown State who was kind enough to take the above picture. Kelly Pavlik returned after almost a year off to knockout Miguel Espino in the 5th round to defend his middleweight belts. The Ghost had a rough year in which a lot of his most ardent fans questioned his desire to continue boxing and defend his belts. He had not fought since February when he beat Marco Antonio Rubio in an uninspired performance. He spent the rest of the year recovering from a staph infection (was not contracted in Berea) which resulted in his scheduled fight with Paul Williams falling apart.
Espino got away from his gameplan and fell prey to Pavlik’s vicious uppercut. The challenger fell to a knee in the fourth round before he was knocked down in the fifth as the referee stopped the fight 1:44 into the 5th. Pavlik admitted that his jab was not working all night and he was forced to rely on the uppercut to get the KO. Espino was the No. 3 contender but came away less than impressed with Pavlik, stating:
“I thought I hurt him a few times. He didn’t think I could hit. He thought he could bully me, but I don’t remember taking one step back. … If there was ever a day to take a champion down, today was the day.”
Pavlik stated that his hand held up fine and insisted that there would not be another protracted layoff. He plans to focus next on another chance at Paul Williams but also stated that WBA middleweight champ Felix Sturm is at the top of his list if an arrangement cannot be made with Williams. It is good to have the Ghost back in relative good health and his mind fully back in the fight game.