By Lem Satterfield
Jermain Taylor and Ricky Hatton switched from their orginal trainers late in their professional boxing careers, and they haven't been heard from since.
But despite calls for him to do the same, former WBC and WBO middleweight world champion, Kelly Pavlik, has resisted doing so with Jack Loew, the man who literally has been in his corner from the inception of Pavlik's journey.
"It’s a simple thing. We got to the point in our career where a lot of fighters don’t get to. It goes deeper than, 'You have two losses so now it’s the time do that [change trainers.]' In my opinion, fighters change trainers, but they’re not always successful when that happens," said Pavlik, during Friday's national conference call with media members.
"More times than not, they end up losing one of their fights," said Pavlik. "I think the main thing is once you get a clear head, and you can focus on what you have to focus on and make the right decisions in your career."
The 28-year-old Pavlik (36-2, 32 knockouts) will throw his first professional punch in more than a year when he meets Alphonso Lopez (21-0, 16 KOs) in a May 7, super middleweight under card bout of a main event featuring WBO welterweight king and eight-division titlist Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) and Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) at the MGM Grand in LasVegas.
Pavlik's bout against Lopez will be his first time in the ring since April, when he was dethroned by Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) during a unanimous decision.
In early January, Pavlik was released following a two-month stay at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for treatment for a problem with alcohol.
Pavlik has insisted that Loew has been a steady, positive influence on him, even defending him publicly when it has appeared that Pavlik has had issues with alcohol since shortly after dethroning Jermain Taylor by seventh-round knockout in Atlantic City in September of 2007.
"It was [Pavlik's] decision to quit drinking. People have to realize that. We didn’t put a gun to his head and make him go to California. He did that," said Loew.
"He’s trying to make himself a better person, and I don’t think people are giving him as much credit as he deserves," said Loew. "I think everybody involved in this is going to benefit from what Kelly did, not from what we had Kelly do, but what he did. I think everyone is going to see a whole different fighter come May 7."
Loew was with Pavlik when he suffered his first loss to Bernard Hopkins by decision in October of 2008 while they were fighting at 170 pounds, after which he twice pulled out of scheduled match ups with Paul Williams, citing an infection on one of his fingers.
So Pavlik, a married father of two, young children, will face the Lopez, of Cut And Shoot, Texas, with Loew in his corner, yet again, this, although some of Pavlik's camp members have called for Loew's removal.
"Obviously Kelly has been extremely loyal to me. And, obviously, he’s been attempted to be pulled in many different ways," said Loew. "We lost to two great fighters, our record speaks for itself. I think if Kelly was not getting any better or at a stand-still then maybe we could be concerned. But we’re not."
Pavlik partially attributed extreme weight loss for his loss to Martinez, against whom he faded down the stretch, and refused to point the finger solely at Loew.
In fact, Pavlik credited Loew for suggesting that he make the move to 168 pounds for Lopez.
"Even as far as the weight issue, Jack Loew had his say. He said, 'You know what? We don’t want to [move up,]'" said Pavlik. "But we have to move up in weight class because it ain’t going to work at 160. It’s totally impossible.’ Simple things like that, those type of decisions make a big difference in your career."
"Everything is going the way we want it to go. We moved up in weight class. I think a lot of people are going to see a more complete Kelly. Going off the two losses that we had, that’s completely ridiculous. A lot of people don’t know the circumstances we had," said Loew.
"To blame anybody, I think the whole camp would have to take blame for a lot of things that went on in those fights," said Loew. "We just got to go out there and prove ourselves, and I need to continue to do a good job with Kelly. We need to take care of business against Lopez and go from there."