Former World Middleweight Champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik will make his long-awaited return to the ring when he takes on undefeated WBC Continental Americas super middleweight champion Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez, Saturday, May 7, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev.
The 10-round Pavlik-Lopez rumble will headline the Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley WBO welterweight championship undercard. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions, Tecate and MGM Grand, the four-fight Mosley-Pacquiao pay-per-view extravaganza will be produced and distributed live on Showtime PPV
The pay-per-view card will also feature WBC lightweight champion Humberto Soto (55-7-2, 33 KOs), of Los Mochis, México, defending his title against Urbano Antillon (28-2, 20 KOs), of Maywood, Calif., in a rematch of their 2010 Yahoo! Sports Fight of the Year, which took place in December. The pay-per-view broadcast will open with WBO junior featherweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. (20-0-1, 17 KOs), of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, in his Las Vegas debut, making his third title defense, against five-time world champion Jorge Arce (56-6-2, 43 KOs), of Los Mochis, México.
"We are delighted to add a fight for Kelly Pavlik on this card. He has been inactive for awhile but we envision his return as coming back better than ever," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.
Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs), of Youngstown, Ohio, captured the World Middleweight title and the sporting world’s imagination when he knocked out the previously undefeated and undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor on Sept. 29, 2007, in a bout selected as the “Fight of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). Pavlik defeated Taylor handily in their non-title super middleweight rematch in February 2008 to solidify his claim as one of boxing’s top pound for pound fighters.
During his 30-month title reign, he successfully defended his title three times, all by knockout, with two of those victories coming against mandatory challengers, before losing it to BWAA 2010 Fighter of the Year Sergio Martinez via a 12-round decision. But it was also a title reign marked by a persistent and near-fatal staph infection on his left hand as well as a battle with alcohol which led to two separate rehab stints, at the Betty Ford Center and The Ranch Recovery Center, in January and September 2010, respectively.
Clean and sober, Pavlik has returned to training with a vengeance, working daily with trainer Jack Loew, where he will now battle as a super middleweight, forgoing once and for all, starving himself to make the middleweight weight limit.
Lopez (21-0, 16 KOs), from Cut and Shoot, Texas, who has won five of his last seven bouts by knockout, boasts an impressive victory by knockout percentage of 76%. Known for his heavy hands and excellent ring savvy, Lopez returns to the ring fresh from knocking out Romero Johnson to capture the vacant WBC Continental Americas super middleweight title.
Lopez is the most prominent boxer to emerge from Cut and Shoot since undefeated Roy Harris unsuccessfully challenged World Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson in 1958 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. Harris scored a second-round knockdown of the champion in a fight that was eventually stopped by Harris’ corner after the 12th round. Henry Harris, Roy’s brother, is Lopez’s chief trainer.
Remaining tickets to Pacquiao vs. Mosley, priced at $1,000, can be purchased through Ticketmaster. To charge by phone, with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Ticket sales are limited to 10 per person.
Closed circuit tickets, priced at $50, are on sale now and available at all Las Vegas MGM Resorts properties.
The Pacquiao vs. Mosley pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $54.95, will be produced and distributed by Showtime PPV. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD.