Andrei Arlovski has left Mike Garcia, his former boxing coach, apparently in part because Garcia believes it might be time for the former champion to hang up the four-ounce gloves.
"The Pitbull" hasn't won a fight since 2008 and has been viciously knocked out in three of his last four fights. That kind of damage takes a toll on a man, both physically and mentally.
The Belarusian hopes to revive his flailing career by teaming up with the elite members of Jackson's MMA and the mastermind himself, Greg "Yoda" Jackson.
But after the devastating nature of his last four defeats, is it possible that there is no turning back from the path Arlovski's career has taken? Is the once great champion irreparably damaged?
Garcia tells Pro MMA Now that while he hopes Jackson and company can save his friend's career, he's not sure it's possible and doesn't want to see his former pupil sustain any more damage than he already has:
"I didn’t mean it like he doesn’t have the skills. I just don’t want to see him get hurt. There’s something not clicking, and you can see in his last couple fights he’s not the same Andrei. He says he wants to fight, I hope he does. But if he doesn’t, I just don’t want to see him get hurt. This last one (knockout loss to Sergei Kharitonov in Strikeforce) was kind of brutal. It scared me a little bit. He was doing good for the first two minutes then all a sudden he just shut down, and I don’t know what happened. If Greg Jackson can bring the best out of him. God bless him, I hope he does. I’d like to see him get back on top… I love the kid to death. I don’t want to see nothing happen to him. I wish he would [stop fighting]. But he wants to continue. He’s still young. Could he come back? Sure he could, you know? Hopefully he will, but we’ll see."
Of course, it should be taken into consideration that Arlovski hasn't exactly been facing cans for the past few years. The level of competition has been extremely high, with fights against the likes of Antonio Silva and Fedor Emelianenko.
And there is certainly a place for a fighter with the skills of "The Pitbull," who may have a softened chin but retains his superb boxing and solid submissions.
That said, where exactly does he fit in? Is Garcia right and it's time for Arlovski to call it quits at the age of 32 and after 24 professional fights?
Or is there still enough gas left in the tank that with the right direction (see Jackson, Greg), the former superstar can find his way back to the upper echelon of the sport?