- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will continue his comeback on June 8 in the main event of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Pavlik (38-2, 33 KOs) will face Virginia's Scott Sigmon (22-3, 12 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round super middleweight bout, according to Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, Pavlik's promoter.
Pavlik returned from a 10-month layoff to knock out Aaron Jaco in the second round on March 31. The fight with Sigmon -- who had been calling Pavlik out on social media, which helped him land the bout -- will be only Pavlik's third fight since he lost the middleweight championship to Sergio Martinez via unanimous decision in April 2010. A major reason for Pavlik's inactivity was his battle with alcohol, for which he spent time in a rehabilitation center last year.
Sigmon, 25, never has faced a top-tier opponent but he has won six bouts in a row and is coming off a unanimous 10-round decision victory against Carlton Holland on March 30.
"He's on a great winning streak. He's a credible opponent and he will come to fight," Moretti said. "He knows it's an opportunity so I expect nothing less than his best effort against Kelly. This is a fight they both wanted."
At the beginning of the year, Pavlik left his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, and split with career-long trainer Jack Loew to begin training with Robert Garcia at his gym in Oxnard, Calif. The fight with Jaco was their first fight together.
Top Rank is pleased Pavlik is coming right back after the March 31 fight as it steers him to a possible big-money fight with middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the fall.
"I think that Kelly is coming right back for this fight further reflects his commitment to the sport and to keeping his life in order," Moretti said. "I think that is what you want to see. He looked good against Jaco, so let's do it again. Kelly doesn't need to take six months off after knocking out Aaron Jaco."
The date Top Rank secured from ESPN for the fight is a significant one. The following night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Top Rank is promoting welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao's defense against junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. on HBO PPV in one of the year's biggest fights.
"I think the fact that Pavlik is going to fight on the weekend of the Pacquiao fight, with a lot of media in town and a lot of boxing fans in town, he'll get a lot of attention and hopefully it sets up bigger things for him in the future," Moretti said.
"I think we start discussing that (future) June 8 after the fight and go from there. We'll see what's available and we will sit down with Kelly and (manager) Cameron (Dunkin) and determine what the next move is. But Kelly is still a big name in the industry."
Chavez, who defends one of the titles that Pavlik used to have on June 16 against Andy Lee at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, is a serious possibility in the fall, Moretti said. It is also a fight -- which could be at middleweight, super middleweight or at a catch weight in between 160 and 168 pounds -- that Chavez manager Billy Keane told ESPN.com is of interest to them.
"Absolutely, that's a fight we'll look at," Moretti said. "It's definitely a big fight. The more Kelly fights and re-establishes himself, and the better Chavez gets, the more a fight like that can come together. That's a pretty big pay-per-view fight."
As Pavlik, who turned 30 on April 4, continues to try to remain sober and focus on his boxing career, he recently cleared up one of the issues hanging over his head that stemmed from his drinking. He agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in his hometown on the charges he faced of operating a vehicle while impaired. In December, he was arrested for crashing an ATV into a lamppost.
Pavlik pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, failure to control a vehicle and failure to report an accident, according to his hometown newspaper, the Youngstown Vindicator. According to the paper, Pavlik was fined $150 for each count for which he pleaded guilty in addition to having to pay court costs.
"One less problem for him to worry about is a good thing," Moretti said.
Also on the June 8 card, 20-year-old Las Vegas junior featherweight prospect Jesse Magdaleno (8-0, 5 KOs) will fight in his first scheduled eight-rounder in the co-feature with light heavyweight prospect Mike Lee (8-0, 5 KOs), 24, the popular Notre Dame graduate from Chicago and Subway restaurant pitchman, also scheduled to be on the telecast.