Kelly Pavlik Quotables


Kelly Pavlik Quotables

Kelly Pavlik was 9 years old, just a pup, when he walked into the Southside Boxing Club in Youngstown for the very first time.The first person he met was Harry Arroyo, former world champion from Youngstown. Coming over to greet Kelly was trainer Jack Loew""Who do we have here?" asked Jack, looking down at Kelly. "I want to be a fighter," Kelly said.

At the gym, there is a large, framed photograph of Youngstown amateur fighters.  Team Youngstown included  tough-looking teenagers dressed in their bright red robes, trimmed in white piping. In the first row, kneeling and squeezed in, is young Kelly. He is the only one not wearing a robe.

"He just started training and we were sending in our team to fight in West Virginia," said Loew. "Kelly hadn't earned his robe yet. He was 10 years old, our youngest, and he was going into his first fight."

Kelly was matched against an amateur who had 24 fights.

"A lot of people told me Kelly had no chance that night," Loew said. "But Kelly destroyed him and won by knockout. I was thinking, while watching that fight, we had someone special...."


Kelly grew up 8 blocks from Ray Mancini, about two miles from Harry Arroyo.

"Amazing, isn't it, three world champions living so close together," said Mike Pavlik, Kelly's father.


"When I was 17, the power all of a sudden just came to me," said Kelly.


Kelly, after an 89-8 amateur career, was courted by boxing promoters. One suggested that he relocate to Houston, work with a new trainer, maybe add weight and grow into the heavyweight division.

"That just didn't sound right," said Mike, at breakfast before Kelly's Media Day at the Southside Boxing Club. "Then we got the call from Jay Edson."

The late, great Jay Edson was Top Rank's site coordinator for over 20 years. He was extremely popular with many fighters. After each event, Jay would write thank you letters to the fighters.

"Just give us five minutes on the phone," Jay asked Mike Pavlik. "That's all we are asking. Cameron Dunkin wants to talk to you."

Dunkin, who has brought many top fighters to Top Rank, got his five minutes.

"Cameron called me at home and he just made the most sense," Mike said. "He said it would be a long process, a journey, but that it was the right way to get Kelly to where he wanted to go as a professional fighter. That's how we signed with Top Rank, because of Jay Edson who asked for five minutes of our time."


At the Southside gym, there are photographs of Kelly in action in earlier professional fights. In a clutter of framed pictures there is a historic photo, shot by ringside photographer Ed Mulholland, of Kelly and Jermain Taylor in their title fight. In the picture, the fight is over and Kelly is sprinting back towards a corner, arms at his sides, screaming with joy. Taylor is down and out, crumpled against a cornerpad. 

There is another photograph of that fight. After the fight was over, the two were standing in the ring and Kelly's right hand was touching Taylor's cheek area.

"That's the compassionate side of Kelly," Loew. "The war was over and he was making sure Taylor was OK."


Rob Todor, sports editor of the Youngstown Vindicator, gives full-blast newspaper coverage of Kelly. There is a Kelly Trivia question every day.

"What did Kelly leave behind in Atlantic City?" was the question the other day.

Mike Pavlik read that and flinched.

"On Sunday, the day after the Taylor fight, Kelly and I were in a car driving back to Youngstown," said Mike. "Then it hit me like a thunderbolt. I forgot our check. Left it by the coffee pot. I turned to Kelly and said 'son, there is something I have to tell you...' "

Kelly laughed and said "don't worry, Dad. You can work it out."

"I was surpised how calm he was," said Mike. "But we did work it out. Top Rank rewrote the check and sent it to us."


During the Media Day workout, Loew took a baseball bat and held it out to a member of the press.

"Try to swing it," he said.

The bat was too heavy to swing. It was leaded and hard to handle.

"Now watch this," Loew said.

Loew handed the baseball bat to Kelly.

"This is dangerous - do not try this at home," said Loew as he got behind a large, black heavy bag and used both hands to steady it.

Like a ballplayer going to the plate, Kelly -- wearing a black teeshirt which read 'Defend Youngstown' across the front -- picked up the leaded bat, took a couple of practice swings and then he stepped towards the heavy bag and cut it loose. Ten times he swung and crashed the bat against the heavy bag. Ten times right side, 10 times left side, a pause, and he did it again. Sweat poured down his face.


"The hunger to win is still with me - bigger than ever," said Pavlik, toweling off.


"The day we came back from Atlantic City there was literally - and I am not kidding about this - a line of people at our front door," said Mike. "They had arm-loads of pictures, posters and hats. Everyone wanted Kelly's autograph."


Pavlik vs. Taylor '...the Epic Battle Continues' is at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Feb 16 and is promoted by Top Rank and DiBella Entertainment. Pavlik vs. Taylor will be available on HBO Pay Per View.

On Monday, Feb. 11, Pavlik and Taylor will be at the Beverly Hills Hotel at noontime for a press conference. Afterwards, the two will go into Las Vegas for fight week.