When he reigned over the middleweight division from 2007 to 2010, Kelly Pavlik was lauded for being an old school, throwback kind of fighter. So it may come as a shock that seven years after his final fight, he has turned into someone embracing modern technology to teach a new generation how to fight and stay in shape.
Yes, Pavlik, along with his buddy and former world title challenger Billy Lyell, have launched their own app, The Sweet Science +.
Available for iOS and coming soon to Android devices, the app is geared towards anyone and everyone interested in using boxing to stay healthy.
“The whole theory behind it was, you see a lot of boxing apps and things like that and I’m not being mean or trying to run down anybody’s app, but there’s usually a guy who don’t know the difference between a left hook and a fishing hook, or they just got the body and they look fit,” said Pavlik. “So the boxing part is really for people who are boxing fans and want to learn how to box. And you’re not going to get better tips than the ones you’re getting from Billy and a guy like me unless you’re getting (Floyd) Mayweather or someone like that.”
It’s also a way for the 37-year-old to stay connected to the sport that put him on the world map when he stopped Jermain Taylor in 2007 to win the middleweight championship. “The Ghost” would successfully defend his title three times before losing it to Sergio Martinez in 2010, and while he would go 4-0 in his next four bouts, there would be no more title shots or big fights. In 2013, he announced his retirement, and while he’s periodically talked about a return, it never got past the talking stage.
Instead, he owns and runs a gym (Mi Gym), has a popular podcast (The Punchline with Kelly Pavlik and James Dominguez), and has used powerlifting as a way to keep in shape, avoiding the fate of many ex-fighters whose last defeat was in the battle of the bulge.
“Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather are among a rare group of people who stay in shape like their entire career but, for the most part, when fighters retire, it was our job,” Pavlik explains. “Do we love boxing? Yeah. Do we love training? Somewhat. (Laughs) It wasn’t my cup of tea and if I could magically wave a wand and go in there in shape and be able to go, I would have. But it was a job and I explain that to people here (at the gym). My training regimen was seven to eight hours a day. A lot of fighters do that, so when they retire, they don’t want to hear diet, they don’t want to hear working out. They kind of let their body go. And in my opinion, that’s a shock to the metabolism too. So a lot of guys blow up. Fortunately, I’m a guy that likes challenges, and when I accomplish them, I’m ready to move to the next one. So powerlifting has been the new thing for me, and it’s starting to wear off a bit but that’s because of my schedule. I’m involved in a lot of things right now. It’s fun and on my own terms, but it also keeps me busy.”
Pavlik estimates that he lifts around four days a week these days and that keeps him in shape. What he isn’t using for fitness is sparring with his old training partner Lyell.
“We sparred enough rounds coming up,” said Pavlik. “I feel kinda bad because Billy got the bad end of the stick most of the time. (Laughs) But what a ballsy guy he was.”
Over the course of a 10-year pro career, fellow Youngstown product Lyell compiled a 25-11 record and never saw a fight he didn’t like. Among the names on his ledger were Yory Boy Campas, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., James Kirkland, Vanes Martirosyan and Sebastian Sylvester, who he challenged for the IBF middleweight title in 2010. He may have lost all those fights, but he did hand John Duddy his first pro loss in 2009, putting a dent in Pavlik’s plans for a high-profile title bout with the Irishman.
“I was so mad at Billy,” laughs Pavlik. “I really wanted Duddy because he was getting all the attention. They were talking about it, and the next thing I know, Billy goes in there and smokes him.”
The two stayed in touch once their careers were over, and ultimately, that’s how the app came together.
“We stayed close and we hung out when we weren’t training,” Pavlik said. “We trained together and ran together for a long time. One day we were just BSing and that’s when we came up with the idea for the app.”
And here it is.
“This fitness app is for everybody,” he said. “We’re really trying to reach women and guys who are just looking to get fit and in shape. We’re also looking for people who want to box, and you’re learning how to fight. We fully explain everything and we have you go back over the video until you feel like you’re getting it right. So it’s a great plan throughout. Then we also added a diet and nutrition plan where you have recipes and a weekly planner and things like that for dieting. And we have a fitness guru who gives exercise tips and strength and conditioning exercises that tone and make you stronger. So it’s really a total package.”