By Paul Strauss: Kelly Pavlik has apparently ironed out his differences with Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions. Great! The plan being put forward is for him to have two tune up fights and if all goes well to then move on to a big fight with someone like Lucien Bute or the winner of the Carl Froch vs Andre Ward fight. Super! Kelly might have a couple of defeats on his record, but you have to admit even in defeat he’s been exciting. Besides, losing to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez is no disgrace.
Some fans, though, might have mixed emotions concerning part of the proposed plan that suggests dumping his long time trainer Jack Loew and relocation to Oxnard, Calif, to hookup with Robert Garcia. Garcia denies any knowledge of such a plan, but welcomes the possibility. Much of this plan seems to be coming from his manager Cameron Dunkin. Understandably, there’s no sentimentality on his part. He wants to get Kelly back on track to regain a title. Hence, maybe “dumping” is not the right word. Dunkin would probably say they are moving on in an attempt to do what’s best for Kelly.
As far as changing trainers is concerned, that’s always been more of the norm, than the exception. There are many examples. Even the P4P Pacman hasn’t always been with Roach. Kelly’s relationship with Loew is a little tougher, though, because the two have been together since Kelly was a young boy. But, sometimes even having your father train you isn’t enough. Dropping out of a fight isn’t so bad either. Hell, Sugar Ray Robinson often times threatened to do so the day of the fight when everyone was already in the dressing rooms! Granted he’s had a couple of lackluster performances that ended in victories, but name a fighter who hasn’t.
Part of the plan also apparently includes hiring Victor Conte, which will not set well with a some fans. It’s amazing how Conte has transformed his position in sports as one of the villain to that of an insider in boxing, one who is often consulted now as an expert. Conte has managed to gain as clients such notables as Nonito Donaire, Andre Berto, Zab Judah, several others, and now possibly Kelly Pavlik. Not bad! Apparently his opinion is so highly valued that Dunkin believes Kelly should hold off making a decision about which division is best for him…….i.e. middleweight or super middleweight until Conte has had an opportunity to check him over.
All of this conjures up an interesting picture, and maybe the move out west “young man” from Youngstown, Ohio will be a good thing It shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as forgetting about and ditching his family and friends, but rather getting away from the old haunts and possibly an unhealthy (for him) environment. It might just be possible for him to re-forcus in Oxnard. Bob Arum said the following: “We had a nice meeting with Pavlik and we laid out a course of action that [Pavlik] liked.” Arum added,. “It’s gonna be a whole new ballgame as to where he trains, who his trainer is going to be, where he’s going to live.” Arum said if Pavlik wanted to remain in Youngstown, “I’m not interested. Jack is fine, but [Pavlik] needs to be away from Youngstown. That doesn’t work [for him to stay there]. He was very, very receptive. What that ultimately means, I don’t know. But we’re going to fly him out to Oxnard, let him see the beach, the training facility, and I’ve offered to lease him a home.” Think of it as “going away to school.
If he can regain his top form, or maybe even bump it up a notch or so, it will be very good for boxing. He’s the type of exciting fighter boxing can’t afford to have sitting on the sidelines. For example, who can forget his destruction of the then feared Edison Miranda, or the punch to Jermain Taylor that was so hard it made the muscles in Jermain’s chest involuntarily twitch, because his nervous system was momentarily short-circuited? And, that was after he was almost put in la la land himself.
In Kelly’s most recent interviews, he looks good. He appears well rested and healthy. His eyes are clear, as well as his speech. He mentioned that he has been hitting the gym a few days per week for light workouts, so he’s staying relatively fit. It would seem a few months of good hard training should put him back in the pink and get him ready for those tune ups. Can’t wait!