The bout, initially pencilled in for January, was put back to March when Ward sustained the shoulder injury in sparring.
But it now transpires that the injury requires surgery which will sideline the ‘Son of God’ for an indefinite period.
Pavlik’s manager Cameron Dunkin confirmed the news, and says that promoters Bob Arum and Dan Goosen are actively searching for a new opponent to meet his charge in March.
He told ESPN.com: "Bob called me up and told me the fight was out and said, 'What are we gonna do with Pavlik?' He said Goossen called him and told him that Ward needed shoulder surgery.
"So I don't know what we're gonna do, but we're going to move forward and get Kelly a fight and get him back in the ring.
"I sent him a text to let him know what was up because I couldn't get in touch with him."
Ward, undefeated in 26 fights with 14 knockouts to his name, had also been linked to a rematch against IBF title-holder Carl Froch – whom he defeated via unanimous decision in the Super Six finals last year.
If the 28-year-old American’s injury leads to a lengthy lay-off, however, the return bout – which Froch’s promoters Matchroom were hopeful of staging at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground – may end up as a non-starter.