MANILA, Philippines – Former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik has announced his retirement from boxing out of concern for his long-term health, ESPN.com reported.
“When you stay in the sport too long, you have health problems. That’s a big, big thing for me,” Pavlik told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.
“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?” he added.
“It’s a brutal sport and you never know what can happen.”
Pavlik will retire with a record of 40 wins against two losses, with 34 wins by knockout. He lost to Argentina’s Sergio Martinez in April 2010, dropping his middleweight titles, but rebounded with a four-fight winning streak.
He was supposed to challenge super middleweight champion Andre Ward later in January, but the fight was cancelled due to a shoulder injury sustained by Ward.
Pavlik said he still feels “fine, physically” but does not want to keep risking his health.
“Why push it? I don’t need it, and my heart’s not in it anymore. So why take the chances? I’ve been very fortunate up to this point,” he said.
Pavlik admitted that a comeback would not be out of the question, but stressed that his retirement was “legit.”
Since turning professional in 2000, Pavlik won The RING, the WBC, and the WBO middleweight championships. He won the first 34 fights of his career before dropping a decision to Bernard Hopkins.