Doug Fischer

Kirkland, maybe Pavlik, headed for Las Vegas

James Kirkland is two weeks away from a new start to his once-promising career — in Las Vegas.

The undefeated former junior middleweight contender, who was released Friday from a halfway house outside of his native Austin, Texas, has received final approval from his parole officer to relocate to Las Vegas, according to Kirkland’s manager, Cameron Dunkin.

“He’s going to fly into Las Vegas on Jan. 31 or Feb. 1,” Dunkin told RingTV.com. “We’re going to have a driver at the airport to pick him up, and he’ll start training with Adams on that day.”

Kirkland, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, might find a spot on the undercard of the L.A.-based company’s March 5 HBO Boxing After Dark show in Anaheim, Calif., Dunkin said.

If Kirkland gets the non-televised comeback bout, it will be his first fight since a 17-month incarceration for illegal firearm possession that was followed by an additional two months in a halfway house for a parole violation shortly after being released late last year. The bout, likely an eight-rounder against a journeyman-level opponent, would come almost two years to the day after his last bout, a sixth-round stoppage of Joel Julio in March of 2009.

Dunkin also informed RingTV.com that Kelly Pavlik is back in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, following a stay at a substance abuse clinic in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The 28-year-old former middleweight champ, who Dunkin manages, checked himself into the Betty Ford Center last November for treatment of alcohol addiction. At the time, Dunkin was uncertain that Pavlik, who pulled out of a scheduled bout on the televised undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito pay-per-view show, would ever fight again.

However, on Monday, Dunkin said Pavlik was back home and training hard.

“He’s very happy right now,” said Dunkin, who is looking to get Pavlik back in action on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Shane Mosley pay-per-view event May 7 in Las Vegas. “And he's training his ass off. But I want to try to get him to Las Vegas to prepare for his next fight.

“Everything is fine now, but I want it to stay that way. I want to get him out of (Youngstown) before any drama can start. That's the most important thing.”

Pavlik hasn't fought since losing his title to Sergio Martinez last April.

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