Ward's promoter, Dan Goossen, announced the bout Tuesday.
Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) is among the world's top handful of pound-for-pound fighters, with a perfect career since winning a gold medal at the Athens Olympics. The fighter from Oakland, Calif., will make his sixth title defense against Pavlik after stopping light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in September.
Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) has revitalized his career with four straight victories since losing his two middleweight titles to Sergio Martinez in April 2010.
Pavlik endured long ring layoffs in recent years while struggling with substance abuse and upheaval in his camp.