By Luis Sandoval
Former middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik has made plenty of changes in the last year. The most notable was leaving former long time trainer Jack Lowe and moving across the country to Robert Garcia’s Boxing Academy in Oxnard, CA.
Garcia is one of the hottest trainers in the game right now as his gym houses the likes of Brandon Rios, Nonito Donaire and Antonio Margarito. Pavlik is Garcia’s newest fighter and under his tutelage, Pavlik looks to put his career back on track as he explained to BoxingScene.com why he sought out Garcia’s services.
“It’s a boxing haven. This is where all the top fighters are right now. Robert is a great trainer and I think his stable speaks for itself. So to be around that and to be in that atmosphere, I’m not the top dog here. There’s plenty of other good fighters. There’s world champions here, former world champions and some prospects so I can’t walk in here thinking I’m the cat’s meow,” Pavlik told BoxingScene with a smile.
“It’s serious so you know, it makes me work harder. I think everyone in this gym makes everybody compete harder and I think that’s pretty big”.
Pavlik hasn’t been the most active fighter as he’s only fought once since his loss to Martinez back in 2010. The question then arises as to where will Pavlik campaign at now that he’s returning to the ring. In his last fight against Alfonso Lopez, Kelly weighed 169 pounds but returning back to middleweight is definitely something Pavlik is aiming for.
“I think the next fight will be around 168 but I talked with Robert and Cecilio, my personal trainer, and 160 is not out of the question still. We’re going to see exactly where the weight falls and how it’s looking. I do know the way I was doing it before wasn’t probably the right way to do it and it was real hard to make 160” said the Youngstown, OH native.
A return to middleweight would also offer two fights Pavlik would be more than willing to take should he get the opportunity.
“There’s still a lot of intriguing fights at middleweight. You got [Sergio] Martinez who I’d give anything if I could do it the right way and make weight the right way to fight him again. Or [Julio Cesar] Chavez. Man, I’d take that fight in a heartbeat. I’d cut my leg off if I had to. So there’s a lot of good match ups” said Pavlik.
A move to 168 is also a strong possibility for Pavlik as the division is one of the deeper weight classes in the sport at the moment. And while Kelly would love nothing more than to get in there and reclaim his spot amongst the top names, he understands the road back will require a little fine tuning.
“You know what man, it’s been almost one fight in two years so I don’t think it’s the right choice to just hop in right now with one of the top dogs” expressed Kelly. “I’m not saying I want to go in there and take five tune up fights. I think one or two, two at the most and we’ll be looking for the big shot”.
Pavlik hopes to secure a fight very soon and to be back in the ring in the next couple months. In the meantime he is training with Robert Garcia and getting ready for when the call comes.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to The Boxing Lab, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.