The career obits have been written.
Kelly Pavlik is done. His ship has sailed. Hes peaked, and now hes plummeted. Hopkins wrecked him.
Maybe Hopkins did take something from the fighting pride of Youngstown will not be able to recover. But maybe the guy has been so drained from making weight that his performance has been severely affected.
Wait, dont dismiss this out of hand, and blast me for blowing smoke up the kids tailpipe, hear me out.
In town for an intimate media gathering meant to put the spotlight on the Nov. 13 junior middleweight clash pitting Manny Pacquiao against Antonio Margarito, Pavlik, who faces Bryan Vera on the chief support bout in Texas, told TSS how much he went through to make 160 in his last few fights.
Get this…three nights before he was due to fight Sergio Martinez on April 17 in Atlantic City, Pavlik asked his wife Samantha to rouse him out of bed at 2 AM. Hed asked for an exercise bike to be installed in his hotel room, and he climbed out from the covers, and hopped on the bike. And pedaled. And pedaled. And pedaled some more. He barely worked up a sweat, because any excess moisture had already been flushed out of his body from the four or five workouts hed been doing daily to cut down to 160, from the 193 pounds when he started camp.
So, the Wednesday before he was to fight Martinez, he was 170. Thursday he was 167. Friday, weigh in day, he was 164. I was completely dehydrated, Pavlik said. So we called a doctor, and he told me to go in an ice cold bath, then to a sauna. That didnt work. So I had to resort to running.
He ran, he said, more than 17 miles from Wednesday to Friday, so he could make weight. It was just to burn calories, because I had no sweat left.
Pavlik (age 28; 36-2 with 32 KOs; coming off UD12 loss to Martinez) is jumping up to the super middleweight class against Vera, sort of. A classic tweener, he and the ex Contender participant, a 17-5 upset specialist who holds shocker wins over Andy Lee and Sebastien Demers, can weigh 164 pounds or less.
In NYC at the Friars Club, Pavlik tucked into a plate of baked chicken, and a plate of mozzarella and tomatoes before that, and explained that hes reborn as a fighter, because hell not be fighting to make weight, and will instead be able to concentrate fully on his foes.
He trained in the mountains of California, PA for this bout, getting away from the safety zone of his beloved but sometimes distracting Youngstown. Pavlik is the man there, the best known resident, and finds it impossible to walk a block without being chatted up. In Pennsylvania, blowing off steam consisted of Friday night runs to Walmart, and bowling in the little five lane alley nearby. Im going to focus on Vera, not making weight, he said.
Surprisingly, Pavlik said he might return to 160. If a fight makes sense, and if an ace nutritionist tells him he can make 160 safely, without draining his strength, its something hell consider.
If not, Lucian Bute at 168 sounds good to him. Trainer Jack Loew seems to favor a scrap with Arthur Abraham. He also told TSS a tussle with the Williams-Martinez II winner, or Sebastian Sylvester, Felix Sturm or Dmitriy Pirog are on the possible list. We went running the other day, and theres that step back in his stride, Loew said. I didnt see any lethargy. The boxer may look to use more ring generalship, box more instead of bang, on Nov. 13, as the willing but not overly athletic Vera is a good test subject to work on new methods.
The move to 164-168, Loew said, will result in a far stronger Pavlik, who will have the ability to keep up his energy level for 12 rounds. He was beat before hed start sparring before, Loew said. Hed already had two workouts before sparring. Those arent excuses, those are facts. I had a feeling hed hit a wall, it was just a matter of when. I have no worries about letting the media in to watch him spar, like before, because hes looking good.
Pavlik said he wasnt as cranky now, as before when hunger gnawed at his soul. We chatted about politics, and he said one day he might consider running for office in Ohio. Hed like to beef up Youngstown as a tourist destination, he said, and wouldnt rule out a future run for Mayor. He drew chuckles at a table that included George Kimball, Don Steinberg, Lee Samuels, Pat Lynch, Loew and Glen Tapia, when Kimball asked him what hed be doing at age 46. Unlike Bernard Hopkins, Pavlik said, hed be sitting on a sofa, eating chips.
An edge did emerge when he talked about some of the flak hes taken, about some of those career obits. If I beat Abraham, Froch and Dirrell, and then lost, theyd say, He aint got it, he said at one point. Thats the way its been my whole career. But I cant let it hold me back. Hey, I got three title belts at home, and theyre still shining.
And now that the 2 AM bike sessions are history, he might well be adding another to his collection, soon. It might be time to retract that career obit.