Super middleweight champ Andre Ward, who fought just one match in 2012, will make his sixth title defense in January. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Super middleweight champion Andre Ward will defend his unified titles against former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles, reports ESPN.com.
The 28-year-old, 168-pound Ward, ranked No. 2 in SI.com's pound-for-pound top 15, fought just one match in 2012 because of a hand injury.
This will be his sixth title defense, and will be part of HBO's "World Championship Boxing" doubleheader at the Galen Center, home of USC basketball. A heavyweight, title elimination bout between Cristobal Arreola and Bermane Stiverne will be the co-feature, with the winner challenging titleholder Vitali Klitschko.
Pavlik, who boasts a 40-2 record and 34 knockouts, held the middleweight title from 2007 to 2010.
ESPN.com has more on the two super middleweights, whose promoters began negotiating the fight in mid-October:
[Ward], the 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, who won the Super Six World Boxing Classic in December by easily outpointing England's Carl Froch to unify two of the 168-pound belts in the tournament final, is coming off a devastating performance on Sept. 8. He destroyed light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, another pound-for-pound caliber fighter. Dawson dropped down in weight for the fight and Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) routed him, scoring three knockdowns en route to a 10th-round knockout.
Many view Pavlik as an easier assignment for Ward than Dawson or some of his Super Six opponents, such as Froch and Mikkel Kessler, because he has not had a significant win in a few years and has had outside the ring issues.