Pavlik back in ring training for February fight

Updated: November 20, 2007, 5:42 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, who suffered cuts on his hands and arms after a household accident earlier this month, was cleared to resume training on Tuesday, promoter Top Rank announced.

"Kelly is thrilled and Top Rank is thrilled," said Top Rank chief Bob Arum said. "We have some big announcements to make on Kelly's behalf in the near future, but none bigger than this. Thanksgiving came early for us this year."

Manager Cameron Dunkin said the day after the accident that Pavlik required 108 stitches to close the wounds. Pavlik's father, Mike Pavlik, was also quoted as saying he needed 100 or so stitches. Arum said Tuesday that Pavlik needed only 14 stitches.

Regardless of the number of stitches, Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs) was injured when he accidentally put his hands and arms through a kitchen window he was working on at his Youngstown, Ohio, home.

Pavlik is scheduled to face former champion Jermain Taylor (27-1-1, 17 KOs) in a rematch on Feb. 16 (HBO PPV) in Las Vegas. Pavlik rallied from a second-round knockdown to knock out Taylor in the seventh round on Sept. 29 to win the title. The rematch, which Taylor had a right to under the terms of their contract, will be at a catch weight of 166 pounds. The title will not be at stake.

In a news release, Top Rank quoted hand surgeon Dr. Mark F. Hendrickson of the Cleveland Clinic as saying, "This is to certify that Kelly Pavlik had a medical evaluation today and may return to full contact sports and activities as of November 20, 2007."

Arum said that Pavlik's hands are in good shape but that he went to the Cleveland Clinic just to lay to rest the controversy over the unusual injury.

"He went to Cleveland Clinic to get the doctor to look at them because everybody was insisting on it," said Arum, who accompanied Pavlik and Dunkin to the appointment with Hendrickson. "He didn't go because there was any question about whether he could train. He was fine. He went to the get the blessing of the Cleveland Clinic."

Arum said Pavlik would begin sparring Dec. 8 in preparation for the fight. Arum added that a formal news conference to announce the fight was being planned for Dec. 11 in New York.

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