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Kelly Pavlik Takes It One Day At A Time

BY Michael Woods ON June 29, 2012
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Pavlik Sigmon weighin 120607 002aPavlik at weigh-in before last bout, against Scott Sigmon. His team is wise; they are putting him back in right away, not wasting time, helping to keep him focused on boxing, to minimize the possibility he drifts. (Chris farina-Top Rank)

Bias alert: I root for Kelly Pavlik. I identify with the kid, with some of the jackpots he’s been involved in, some of the choices he made to kill time, and numb emotions. So it is mildly worrying to hear the Youngstown native who has transplanted to California to re-start his life and boxing career become slightly defensive when asked the question that basically anyone who has followed his career, from prospect coming up the hard way, to middleweight champion, to sliding ex champ battling personal demons and Johnny Law wants an answer to: are you sober?

“Right now I am in training,” he said on a conference call to hype his July 7 bout against New Yorker Will Rosinsky, on the undercard of the Nonito Donaire-Jeffrey Mathebula in Las Vegas. “You see people mentioning the last couple incidents, but that is a three-year-old question. I will talk about my fight coming up and the opponent I am fighting.”

Fair enough. Man wants to concentrate on the task at hand. Actually, he deserves props for not giving in to the media pre-occupation with dirty laundry. Over the decades, we have lost a clear understanding on what is news, and what is gossip, and Pavlik is basically telling us, when he refuses to offer his sober date, that the answer is personal to him, and should be labeled gossip to us, and is thus none of our business. Fair enough. But whether Pavlik is heading out to bars, or sitting in his apartment sipping brews after training, or in between fights, does bear asking, I’d argue, because when he is in a place where he is sober, is understanding that booze does him no favors, and is not his friend, but is actually a demon disguised, Pavlik has a chance to get back to the top of the mountain. This time, he will try to do so at 168 pounds.

Now, I hear on the grapevine that Pavlik is indeed behaving himself, focusing on training fully, and it looked that way two weeks ago, when he busted up and stopped Scott Sigmon on ESPN.

Promoter Bob Arum was asked if the boxer can get back to his 2008 form. It’s probably no coincidence he used some rehab-speak in his answer. “He was on a roll in those days and it was one success after another,” Arum said. “We hope to replicate that now. Let’s see how he does in this fight – we expect him to do well and then we are going to step him up to a much bigger fight in his next fight in the fall. But it’s one step at a time.”

Manager Cameron Dunkin says he too is optimistic Pavlik can get back to where he was. “I agree, just take one fight at a time,” he said. “This presented itself and it really showed me a lot about Kelly and his character. He jumped right on this fight in five minutes. There wasn’t even a question whether he wanted this fight.” (Some will recall the fiasco from last summer, when Pavlik pulled out of a scheduled bout with Darryl Cunningham in the 11th hour, leaving Showtime, Top Rank and ticket-buyers on Ohio high-and-dry. It wasn’t clear then if the kid wanted to do the boxing thing, so Dunkin has to be happy his guy is re-committed.) “It’s just the drive he has in him and how much he wants this again and that was just like the old Kelly. Kelly would just say to me ‘make the fight, make the fight,’ whoever it was. ‘Let’s go and I’ll take care of it.’Let me tell you, his skills are better than they’ve ever been. The stuff he does with his jab now and his hands are up. I just see so many basic things that he is doing now that he’s never done in his career. I look to see a great Kelly Pavlik again – as good as or better than the first one so that is what I’m looking forward to.”

OK, the kid doesn’t want to reassure folks that he’s put a cork in the bottle, but he does seem to have his head on straight regarding his near future in the ring. “I am ready for the big fight now,” Pavlik (age 30; 39-2 with 34 KOs; fighting third fight under trainer Robert Garcia) said. “I have been pro for 12 years now. I have been in the ring with Taylor twice and Hopkins and Miranda and Martinez – we’ve got our fights in and it has to be after this fight the big fights. On July 7 we have a game kid in front of us so I can’t even think about that right now. We’ve got to take care of business Saturday or we won’t be worrying about any of that.” He singled out Carl Froch—good choice, I think, an action fight is guaranteed, and Froch isn’t someone a sniper with a massive hand and foot speed edge over Pavlik, who has probably slipped a bit in those departments—as someone he’d like to target. He also mentioned Lucian Bute, and I think that’d be a great comeback for Bute, to see if he can get his head screwed on straight after being mugged by Froch. Pavlik is also impressed with Andre Ward, and would like a crack at him, he said.

Readers, weigh in….Where do you see this Pavlik comeback going? Back to where he was in his heyday? Or has something been lost, never to be regained? Will he maintain his focus, or slide off the rails? Could he beat Froch, Bute and/or Ward? Go to the Forum, and discuss.


Remaining tickets for The Home Depot Center’s Donaire / Pavlik World Championship fight card, priced at $100, $50 and $25, can be purchased online at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849 as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).Suites are available by calling 1-877-604-8777. For information of group discounts, please call 1-877-234-8425.

Comment on this article

alhmiel says:

Pavlik should be fighting better fighters than the club fighter Will Rosinsky who is not really any competitiion. Rosinsky is a class D fighter more of a sparring partner for a guy like pavlik not an opponent. Terrible fight and a mismatch. Rosinsky couldn't beat Laila Ali.

ultimoshogun says:

If Pavlik regains the form he was in when he defeated Miranda and Taylor then he has a good shot at beating Froch...and definitely against the glass jawed Bute. Against Ward, not so much. I think he'd get owned much like he did vs Hopkins.

deepwater says:

froch would knock pavlik into retirement and eat his liver. oh wait his liver is no good. pavlik will keep milking it against bums until he gets cashed out.

riverside says:

Pavlik as chavez jr can't compete against the big boy's of 168, they should be matched together @ 165 lbs, I think it would be a competive fight, Roach will take a page from Hopkins and have Chavez Jr smother pavlik all night, Chavez jr will do well having pavlik in front of him all, Jr might be able to handle the overhand Pavlik punch. the winner gets to compete with the big boys of 168.

brownsugar says:

I've got a strong feeling riverside may be right.... although the fight appears to be made between Martinez and Chavez Jr, there still hasn't been an announcement that the contract has been signed... I still have my doubts that Chavez and Top Rank will let it happen. (hope I'm wrong but I have a feeling that the Teddy Atlas scenario may be end up becoming a reality)

"Suddenly like a flash-flood, Chavez's weight becomes increasingly unmanagable, he relinquishes the middleweight title and is forced to move up to 168"

"A comebacking Pavlik destroys Rossinsky within 6 rounds and is deemed a worthy challenger to reclaim another throne"

"The WBC creates the PUKE-GREEN Interim Super Middleweight Belt in order to quickly install Chavez as the champ if he gets past Pavlik"

"The Soap Opera reign of Chavez Jr continues at 168 with a win over Pavlik on activity alone"

It's hard for me to gauge Pavliks development. I thought he got hit more than usual in his last 2 fights and looked a somewhat lack-luster... he doesn't display the same intensity he once had when he destroyed a prime Edison Miranda before anybody knew his name.

If Pavlik isn't carrying a bookbag stocked with a wooden stake, some silver bullets, a cross and some Holy water...full-time, he's going to have a hard time overcoming his demons on a long term basis.
He'll never be able to reach his potential if he's just a dry-drunk.

I hope he succeeds .......... we need more boxers to represent the Buckeye State.

riverside says:

B-Sug, like your scenario! only with the W.b.c. and Arum can it be possible. I know your big on Pavlik, the skills are there but the resolve is missing, as somebody mention earlier, good idea to put him back in the ring as soon as possible, keep his mind off other habits, what is your prediction between him and JR, I don't think he stands a chance Vs Froch, or Ward.

Radam G says:

There is no money in a dance between SOAL JCCJ and KP, so I doubt that they will tangle and mangle any time soon. But, as far as superhyped Sergio Martinez getting his neuron tangled and his arse mangled by SOAL JCCJ, it is on da REAL TALK, using Real Talk's pseudonym, hehehehehe!

And SM is going to get a S&M pugilistic beatdown. Dude ain't much better than a clown. He makes those in da know laugh and frown. Just because the muthasucka kayoed a hyped-up tally, beat up a drunk and whup a couple Redcoat marshmallows, he becomes the-talk-about monster of every town.

I predict that SOAL JCCJ is gonna wear dat superhyped, loudmouthed out and tear him apart like a Mary Madalene NITE-DELITE gown. Holla!

brownsugar says:

Riverside I would pick the version of Pavlik who beat Taylor over any version of Chavez any day of the week and twice on NewYears. Kelly could box slug and had enough confidence for 2 world champs. Today Kelly has the skill but he hasn't yet shown he has the will. He's tailor made for a beat down unless he gets some rounds in with some one like Bika.

the Roast says:

I agree with you B-Sug, Pavlik from his prime(Miranda,Taylor) would blast out JR. Todays Kelly is in for a rough ride with JR, Ward, and Froch. Bika would be a good test for KP right now.

brownsugar says:

Think I saw where one reader said Froch would eat his liver. Lol

deepwater says:

you guys keep forgetting why pavlik is just a shell of his former self and will never be elite again== hopkins!

brownsugar says:

Hopkins definetly was a factor,.. I think he really embarrassed Pavlik after the fight with his antics..... "learn how to bend your knees kid" etc...
Before the fight Jack Lowe came in with a Prison Guard outfit on,...thought he would shake Bhop up a bit,... One thing you don't do is make someone remember the worst time of their life before a fight....
Bhop had already been severly humbled in his previous fight after he talked all that trash to Calzaghe but was unable to pull the trigger.. All he had to do was throw a half dozen more punches a round and the fight would have been his... instead Bhop tried to get a DQ rather than winning it with his fists.

And it's also reasonable to suspect that the Cracks in Pavliks personna were forming even before the Hopkins fight.

going from a nobody living a defunct steel town to savior of boxing, the Pride of Youngstown, and HBO's new Golden Boy clearly went to his head.
Pavlik was telling everybody in postfight interviews that he wanted Calzaghe,.. or Bhop... and he didn't expect Bhop to last the distance.
A slight bit of dillusion was setting in along with more money to spend than he's ever had,.. compounded by an unquenchable thirst for a dangerous substance.

Maybe his time has come and gone,... Maybe he just needs to find a way to rekindle the fire. Whatever it is,.. he needs to find it fast....

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