LAS VEGAS _ All week long Kelly Pavlik was asked about his return from a battle against alcoholism, but the fighter kept saying don't sleep on his opponent. He was right. Alfonso Lopez, with only 21 pro fights under his belt, gave the former middleweight champ a damn good fight. Pavlik came on late and finish with a great tenth round to take a majority decision, 99-91, 98-92 and 95-95, in an undercard fight on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Yahoo! Sports' lead boxing writer Kevin Iole scored it 98-92 and I had it 97-93.
Lopez (21-1) actually outlanded Pavlik 180-168. But it was the Youngstown-native who landed the heavier shots as the fight went along. He sent a message in the final round by landing a ton of left hooks. Lopez came out aggressively in the final round, but was stopped in his track with 1:50 left in the fight. His offense stopped as he began to back up. Pavlik (37-2, 30 KOs) couldn't finish Lopez in the final minute, but he looked like he could've gone down at any moment.
Pavlik, the former WBO and WBC middleweight champ went to rehab for issues with alcohol twice in late 2010 and early 2011.