Kelly Pavlik – “I’ll Fight Like There’s A Title On The Line”

kelly pavlik12.12.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Kelly Pavlik found himself alone on the dais in Manhattan at a news conference promoting his February 16th rematch with Jermain Taylor. Taylor, whose wife just gave birth to a daughter on Monday, called in by phone and intimated that another child has further strengthened his resolve to gain revenge on the one man to beat him as a professional prize fighter.

“I look at boxing totally different now,” his disembodied voice said. “I have a whole new love for boxing now.”

Taylor’s recent history has been one of disarray. After losing by knockout in the seventh round to Pavlik back in September the fighter reexamined his middleweight title reign and came to the conclusion that he and head trainer Emanuel Steward were not a suitable match. Taylor dismissed Steward and handed over training responsibilities to Ozell Nelson. After some consideration Taylor invoked the rematch clause in the contract for the first bout with Pavlik but that clause stipulates that the return match will be fought at a catch-weight of 166 pounds, which was insisted upon by Taylor. Taylor believes the added bulk will enhance his performance and will lead him to finish what he started in the second round of the first fight when he had Pavlik reeling and on the canvas.

Pavlik, however, feels that the added weight will only make him stronger. The long, lean fighter with the sharp jab and vicious right hand punch struggles to make the 160 pound limit and he believes that his training camp will run much smoother now that he doesn’t have to worry about the weight. The added benefit of achieving his goal to become middleweight champion has also emboldened his confidence level.

“I’ll still go into the fight like a title is on the line,” Pavlik told the gathered press. “That zero on my record has been there a long time and I want to keep it there. The extra weight means you don’t have to put yourself through hell to make it. Your energy level will be much higher.”

Pavlik’s trainer Jack Loew commented on the weight issue and remains a bit taken aback as to why Taylor would want to fight an even bigger Pavlik after having suffered such a brutal knockout loss.

“I’m puzzled by it,” he was quoted by Barry Wilner as saying. “Why would anyone let this kid come at you at 166 pounds? You’ll just get a bigger and stronger Kelly Pavlik at that weight.”

Taylor promoter Lou Dibella has also gone on record as saying that his fighter would like to fight Joe Calzaghe should he defeat Pavlik. It would be foolhardy to even suggest that the Mr. ‘Bad Intentions’ is looking past Pavlik but Dibella says that the issue of who Taylor would like to fight next has come up.

“It’s hard to look past this fight,” he noted to BBC Sport. “But knowing Jermain, if he wins, Joe would be the fight he wants.”

Taylor – Pavlik 2 will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be broadcast on HBO pay per view.

Article posted on 13.12.2007

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