By Chris Robinson
I get the impression that former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik has a little chip on his shoulder these days.
The Youngstown, Ohio native endured a problematic 2011 campaign that saw him fight just once, a May majority-decision over Corpus Christi’s Alfonso Lopez, while receiving criticism from pulling out of an August bout with Darryl Cunningham that would have led to a crack at IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute if successful.
With a bevy of personal problems sprinkled on top of his frustrating inactivity as a fighter, Pavlik entered 2012 as an afterthought to some in the sport.
But a recent destination change to the city of Oxnard, California, where Pavlik is now working under the guidance of the sought-after Robert Garcia after having spent several years with Jack Loew, has seemed to reinvigorate the fighter and you can sense the enthusiasm in his voice as he speaks on what his future may hold.
Whether or not Pavlik will ever be able to compete as a middleweight is another story, as he hasn’t fought in the division for nearly two years, dating back to his April 2010 loss to Sergio Martinez. Pavlik is lined up for a March 31st return in San Antonio against Aaron Jarco but is considering an eventual move back down to 160 pounds with the help of his new nutritionist Cecilio Flores.
“Right now it’s not out of the question,” Pavlik stated. “We are definitely looking at that seriously right now. With the nutritionist that we’ve got, we’re going to see how the weight comes down. This next fight’s going to be at 168 and if we make that pretty easy, then we’ll start working from there and see how far we get down.”
Pavlik also took some time to reflect on his loss to Martinez, a fight that saw Pavlik in the lead in the middle rounds after scoring a knockdown in the seventh before the Argentinean southpaw rallied down the stretch to pull out the victory.
The modest former champ offered up some insight as to why he wasn’t fully himself that evening at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
“People in the camp and people around know that was a Kelly Pavlik that was completely drained in that fight,” Pavlik continued. “When you come into camp at 195 [pounds] of muscle and you are 6’1” body frame, it’s hard to make 160. If we would have done it the right way, we could have make 160 fairly easily. But the whole problem was cutting that. When you have to lose twelve pounds on a Wednesday night and the weigh-ins are early Friday afternoon, it takes everything out of your body.”
And while Pavlik would love to extract some form of revenge on Martinez, he is wise enough to approach the situation with a little bit of caution.
“I would love another rematch with him but I would want to see how the weight goes first with my nutritionist and how we feel energy-level,” Pavlik claimed. “If I have to go through anything like that ever again, what I had to do, that won’t happen. If I have to struggle at all to make the weight, I won’t do it. But if we feel we can get down and the weight is coming down smoothly, then it’s not out of the question. I would love a rematch in a heartbeat.”
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