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Exclusive Q&A: Pavlik says he's ready for change
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Kelly Pavlik: "It really is validating to me...Top Rank's been with everybody...for them to still do this for me with all of the fighters in their stable right now."
RingTV.com caught up with former undisputed middleweight titleholder Kelly Pavlik for this Q&A regarding his future.
The 29-year-old Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs) said that he is ready to take advantage of changes in his career that were proposed by manager Cameron Dunkin, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti and Pavlik's father and co-manager, Mike Pavlik, during an Oct. 21 meeting in New York.
Dunkin, Arum and Moretti invited the Pavliks to New York, where they were in attendance for an Oct. 22, HBO-televised bout during which THE RING's No. 4 pound-for-pound WBO/WBC bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs) successfully defended his belts against WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez (35-1-2, 19 KOs) of Argentina at Madison Square Garden.
In an interview on the evening of Oct. 21, Arum told RingTV.com that the gathering with the Pavliks went well, and Dunkin outlined the details designed to resurrect the beleagured Kelly Pavlik to the point where he is on par with mangerial stablemates such as Donaire, RING No. 1-rated lightweight and WBA titleholder Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs), RING No. 8-ranked pound for pound WBO junior welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) and unbeaten featherweight prospect Mikey Garcia (27-0, 23 KOs),
Among the alterations suggested to Pavlik were to move with his wife and two young children from his native Youngstown, Ohio, to Oxnard, Calif., where he would be trained by Robert Garcia, the same corner man who guides Donaire, Rios and Mikey Garcia.
"We're going to implement those techniques into Kelly and let him see what that's like," Dunkin told RingTV.com. "We'll see how he likes it, and find out if we've got ourselves a heckuva fighter. We think that we could and that we do."
The changes could also involve leaving long-time trainer Jack Loew.
"We want to send him to Oxnard with Robert Garcia...We're going to send him up to Oxnard. We're going to get him a nice, beautiful house for his family. That way, he's not staying in a hotel room. We're going to give him the best of everything," said Dunkin.
"We're going to rent him a van, you know, for his kids and everything and for his wife. We're going to give him the best of everything so that he's going to have a chance to become a good fighter again, and if he doesn't, then he doesn't. But he's going to have a chance to."
The moves were set in motion following Pavlik's pulling out of a scheduled August fight against southpaw Darryl Cunningham (23-2, 10 KOs) on Showtime, citing his disappointment over the offer he received from Top Rank to face Cunningham and then southpaw IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute (29-0, 26 KOs) in November.
Pavlik said that he was upset with his reported payments of $50,000 for facing Cunningham, and the $1.35 million minimum he was to get from Top Rank for a meeting Bute. Pavlik said that he had heard that Denmark's ex-titleholder Mikkel Kessler had turned down a larger amount for a match up with Bute.
The move by Pavlik forced Showtime to cancel the entire card that was be held in Youngstown, and it frustrated network executives, Arum and Dunkin.
The new direction, however, might have Pavlik in line for possible match ups opposite the winner of a clash between Bute and durable 42-year-old former titleholder Glen Johnson (51-15-1, 35 KOs) on Nov. 5, or that featuring RING No. 10-rated pound-for-pound WBA beltholder Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) and WBC counter part Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) on Dec. 17.
Pavlik also addressed the Dec. 30 comeback of 33-year-old Jermain Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KOs ), who was 27-0-1 with 17 knockouts before being stopped in seven rounds and dethroned by Pavlik in Sept. 2007.
Taylor also lost his non-title rematch with Pavlik by unanimous decision in February of 2008, when they each weighed 164 pounds, and was subsequently knocked out in the 12th-round by Froch in April of 2009.
Below is Pavlik's Q&A.
RingTV.com: Where are you in terms of speaking to Loew concerning the possibilities?
Kelly Pavlik: I have not yet spoken to him yet. I'm going to have a sit-down with him. I'm going to call him and we're planning on having a little meeting.
Just to let him know what the possibilities are and what the chances are and all of that. But I'm definitely going to California. I'm definitely going to train over there. That's a guarantee.
But it would be ignorant on my part to go to a media outlet before talking to Jack first. Jack at least deserves having me speak to him.
I have to be a man about this. Jack has been with me 20 years, you know? Since I was 9-years-old. He took me through the amateurs and everything.