Hot item: Pavlik fight tickets!Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Hot item: Pavlik fight tickets!Wednesday, January 7, 2009

With floor seating, there will be room for 7,000 spectators.

Press Release: By David Skolnick The Vinicator YOUNGSTOWN, OH — They’re the hottest tickets in town, and they’re not even for sale until Saturday.

All 7,000 tickets available for WBO/WBC middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik’s hometown title defense Feb. 21 against Marco Antonio Rubio are expected to be sold out for what could be the biggest event in the history of the Chevrolet Centre, officials at the facility said.

“This is, by far, the most excited response we’ve received from our guests,” said Eric Ryan, the center’s executive director. “You have no idea how swamped we are with calls. My voice mail filled up so much [Monday] that I had to delete it twice. This is the middleweight champion of the world. It’s going to be an awesome event.”

Demand for the tickets is at an all-time high for the center, which opened in October 2005, Ryan said.

The largest crowd at a center event was 5,500 for country singer Carrie Underwood’s June 11, 2008, concert. That event was a sellout, but because of how the center is set up for concerts, there was room for only 5,500, Ryan said.

For the Feb. 21 fight, the center will have seats on the floor surrounding the ring and will hold 7,000 people, said Ryan and Bridget Wolsonovich, the facility’s director of marketing.

“With 5,000 people from this area typically going to Atlantic City [for Pavlik’s other fights], we’ll have a sellout, and the ticket prices will be better,” Wolsonovich said. “People will come out to support Kelly.”

So how can you get tickets?

They go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at, Ticketmaster retail locations such as Giant Eagle and Macy’s, by telephone at (800) 745-3000 or (866) 448-7849, and at the center box office at 229 E. Front St.

There is a limit of eight tickets per customer.

Also, Pavlik’s trainer, Jack Loew, will be selling tickets at all prices. You can reach him by calling the Southside Boxing Club at (330) 501-5713.

“I expect it to sell out, and I expect a quick sell,” said Loew. “I’ll be extremely shocked if it takes longer than a few days, based on the response we’ve been getting. I’ve been getting calls from everywhere.”

A few hundred people are expected to be at the center to buy tickets at the box office when it opens, Wolsonovich and Ryan said.

“Saturday morning in downtown Youngstown will be busy,” Wolsonovich said.

Though most people buy event tickets online, there are still those who prefer to stand in line, Ryan said.

Those sitting in the first six rows around the ring will pay $500 each for those tickets. Ticket prices for the rest of the center are $300, $200, $100 and $50.

Also, those who rent luxury suites at the center will pay $150 a ticket. If the suite owners don’t want to buy tickets to the Pavlik fight — something quite unlikely — the center can’t use the boxes, Ryan and Wolsonovich said.

The center is selling tickets for the facility’s three unoccupied suites and its two party suites. The center hasn’t finalized prices for the suites, but it will be between $3,000 and $8,000, Ryan said.

There are more than 25 people on the list of those interested in buying tickets for the five suites, Ryan said.

It’s first-come, first-served.

“I’ll go down the list in the order in which they called,” Ryan said. “We’ll call with the prices and if they say, ‘no,’ we’ll move down the list.”

Ryan said he doesn’t anticipate having to go too far down the list.

Even though the fight is next month, the center couldn’t announce it or start selling tickets until it finalized the contract, Ryan said. The final deal was signed Monday, he said.

“People keep calling and asking if they missed the ticket sale date,” Wolsonovich said. “With the anticipation and the buildup, we’ve received more calls on this event than any other. This is absolutely, without a doubt, the biggest event we’ve ever had.”

On his way to the middleweight title, Pavlik scored a third-round knockout against Lenord Pierre in the Chevrolet Centre on Nov. 2, 2006.

Ringside seating was set up quite differently then compared with the Feb. 21 event.

At the first fight, cigar-smoking boxing fans sat ringside at linen-covered tables ordering high-balls from cocktail waitresses.

That’s not going to be the case next month. To accommodate additional fans, the tables are being replaced by more ringside seats — and with the state indoor smoking ban, please keep the stogies at home.

“We’ll have standard beer vendors,” Wolsonovich said.

There are six fights on the Feb. 21 undercard. The arena will open at 7 p.m. with the first fight at 7:30. The fight is being broadcast on pay-per-view at $44.95 as part of a two-site, two main event broadcast. That night’s bout between Miguel Cotto and Michael Jennings will air at 10:15 p.m. on pay-per-view and at the Chevy Centre. The Pavlik bout will follow between 10:45 and 11:15.

Patrick A. Tondo Sr. of Girard, who’s traveled with his two sons and two sons-in-law to Atlantic City for Pavlik fights, said he and his family are thrilled that the middleweight champion will defend his title in Youngstown.

“It’s big for the Valley for him to fight here,” Tondo said. “I’m happy the fight is here for the hometown fans. I hope to get a ticket and get a good seat. Everyone in the area is happy for Kelly and [hopes] he does well.”

Though the contract for the fight wasn’t finalized until Monday, the seeds for the event were planted at an Aug. 27, 2008, rally at the center to promote Pavlik’s bout against Bernard Hopkins in Atlantic City two months later, Ryan said. Pavlik lost that fight, but his title wasn’t at stake.

“I asked Top Rank [the company that promotes Pavlik’s fights] if there was a chance to get Kelly here,” Ryan said. “They called two weeks after the Taylor fight, and we began negotiating.”

Ryan praised Team Pavlik for making the fight in Youngstown a reality.

“The credit goes to Kelly and his camp for wanting to fight in his home and giving us at the Chevrolet Centre the opportunity to help make the deal happen,” Ryan said. “A world championship fight in the city of Youngstown is something truly special.”

The center’s calendar has a Mahoning Valley Phantoms hockey game scheduled for Feb. 21, the night of the Pavlik-Rubio fight.

The Phantoms game is being moved, Wolsonovich said.