The undefeated Andre Ward will face Kelly Pavlik on Jan. 26. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )
Unbeaten super-middleweight champion Andre Ward will defend his WBA and WBC belts Jan. 26 against former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik in the first boxing match at USC's Galen Center.
Oakland's Ward (26-0, 14 knockouts) is coming off a 10th-round technical knockout of former world light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in September. Ward previously won the Super Six super-middleweight tournament.
In Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs), he'll be facing a strong puncher. Pavlik has battled alcohol abuse after losses to Bernard Hopkins in 2008 and Sergio Martinez in 2010.
HBO will televise the bout, and Riverside heavyweight Chris Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) will fight Bermane Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs) in a World Boxing Council eliminator that should give the winner a shot at champion Vitali Klitschko.
Ward, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, said in a statement that he embraces the challenge of taking on a 30-year-old ex-champion at a career crossroads. "He's going to be primed and ready," Ward said.
Arreola will be seeking a second shot at Klitschko after losing to him after 10 rounds in 2009 at Staples Center. "Arreola's in shape now, he's been under 250 pounds this whole year, and he's got the mind-set 2013 is the year for him," promoter Dan Goossen said.