By T.K. Stewart

The old saying goes that when you're learning to ride a bike and you fall off - the only way to get going again is to get right back on the bike.

Well, Mike Pavlik, the father and co-manager of middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik and Jack Loew, his outspoken trainer, are on the same page in that regard. Both men say they want to see Kelly back in the ring sooner rather than later - and that there is no time to sit around and cry over spilt milk.

Pavlik, 34-1 (30KOs), lost his undefeated record and was soundly thrashed by Bernard Hopkins last month in Atlantic City in a 170-pound catch-weight bout.

But rather than stew over what could have been – both father and trainer are of the opinion that it's time to go back to work.

The tentative plan currently in the works is to have Pavlik return on February 21st with a title defense in Youngstown, Ohio against #1 WBC contender Marco Antonio Rubio of Mexico. The 28 year-old Rubio is no slouch and has an experienced record of 43-4-1 (37KOs). The fight would be televised by HBO.

"We don't want Kelly to stay inactive for too long," said Mike Pavlik. "February would be good. By then he should be ready to go and ready to get back at it."

While a pessimist could find plenty not to like about what happened in the Hopkins fight, the good news is that Pavlik is still the middleweight champ of the WBC & WBO, he is still young (only 26) and he is still a very marketable commodity - especially in his home state of Ohio.

"I think it would be a great thing," said Loew of a homecoming fight in Youngstown. "It would be good for Kelly to see how much the fans are really behind him. It would give them a chance to support Kelly."

Pavlik's promoter, Bob Arum of Las Vegas-based Top Rank, is aiming for the comeback bout to take place at the Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown. Pavlik last fought at the venue when he knocked out Lenord Pierre two years ago.

"A long time ago we said we'd like to have Kelly defend the titles in Youngstown," said Arum. "We want Kelly to fight in his hometown and we feel this will get some of his confidence back for his future fights."

For his part, Pavlik has remained quiet since the loss to Hopkins and hasn't spoken much, if at all, to the boxing press. Telephone calls to him seeking comment have not been returned.

Immediately after the Hopkins loss he was heavily critical of his own performance and said, "I felt like a sub-novice in there."

But whatever the case, Mike Pavlik believes that a homecoming is just the ticket to get back and get the Pavlik ship righted and sailing full steam ahead once again.

"I believe that in coming back to Youngstown, it will help him get his confidence back," said his father.

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