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Monday, January 3, 2011
Kelly Pavlik to leave rehab Tuesday

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, who has spent the last two months at the Betty Ford Center for treatment for alcohol abuse, is due to leave the facility Tuesday, manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com.

Pavlik entered the Rancho Mirage, Calif., center on Nov. 4, Dunkin said. It is Pavlik's second stint there.

The fighter (36-2, 32 KOs) has battled alcohol problems since not long after he won the middleweight title by knocking out Jermain Taylor in 2007 and rocketing to fame almost overnight.

Pavlik lost the title on a decision to Sergio Martinez last April and was scheduled to make his comeback Nov. 13 on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. However, Pavlik withdrew a couple of weeks before the scheduled bout against Brian Vera.

The reason given for Pavlik's withdrawal was a rib injury, which the camp says was legitimate, but Pavlik's drinking had also become enough of a problem that he sought treatment for a second time after his family conducted an intervention in early November. Pavlik also was treated at Betty Ford for two weeks during the month prior to his loss to Martinez, according to Dunkin.

Dunkin said Pavlik plans to return to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, and is eager to return to boxing.

"He's real hungry and wants to come back," Dunkin said.

He wants to mend his ways and accomplish so many other things in boxing. He's very motivated to fight again.

-- Cameron Dunkin, Kelly Pavlik's manager

Dunkin said he wrote to Pavlik during his stay, but Pavlik's contact with others has been limited, although he had spoken to his father and co-manager, Mike Pavlik, during his stay.

"Mike told me Kelly sounds 150 percent better and that he's got a great attitude," Dunkin said. "I told Mike, 'Let's not worry about boxing right now. Let's see how he feels when he gets out.' But Kelly wants to box. Mike said all he does is talk about it constantly. He wants to mend his ways and accomplish so many other things in boxing. He's very motivated to fight again. I said, 'Let's take it one step at a time.' There's no pressure on Kelly and no rush."

Dunkin said that Top Rank's Bob Arum is aware of the situation and that he told him that if Pavlik is up to it, he would give him a spot on the undercard of Pacquiao's fight with Shane Mosley on May 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"Bob says we have May 7 if Kelly wants it and that would be a great place for him to start again," Dunkin said. "But we just don't know. It's out there for him if he wants it. It's all up to Kelly now.

"I'd like to see the old Kelly back, but I'll be happy just to see him back and not doing all that nonsense."

Dunkin said that Pavlik has been working out regularly during his stay at the clinic.

"They let him work out and he's been running and exercising and lifting," Dunkin said. "He's literally been training four to six hours a day because he has nothing else to do besides attend his meetings and stuff."

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.