BOXING Rico Cason will be Pavlik's opponent at Cafaro on July 1
The middleweight from Nashville is 16-7.
SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR
NILES -- Youngstown middleweight boxer Kelly Pavlik has increased his workout intensity for a July 1 bout at Cafaro Field.
Now, Pavlik knows who he will fight to advance his professional career beyond 17 wins, with 16 knockouts.
Top Rank, co-promoter of the six-bout card, and promoter George Chung announced Rico Cason (16-7, 4 KOs) of Nashville, Tenn., as Pavlik's opponent for the co-feature's 10-round bout.
Cason is on a three-fight win streak. In his last ring venture, which was in Nashville, he stopped Eric Rhinehart in the first round.
Hits the road
On Tuesday, less than a day after he was informed about his opponent, Pavlik sparred at "Fighters Against Drugs" Gym in Akron. He was accompanied by trainer Jack Loew and Pavlik's father, Mike.
Asked what he knew about Cason, Kelly Pavlik said, "Not much, but what I do know about him is that he is a ring veteran who knows the tricks of the trade. He might not have much power, but he is a guy who comes to fight and can take a punch."
As far as researching Cason, Pavlik refers any films on this opponent to Loew.
"Jack will look at films and tell me about strengths and weaknesses of this guy and tell me what to expect by way of his style and physical makeup," Pavlik said.
"Sometimes I will have a look at films of a future opponent just to see what his ring movement is like, but Jack has the final word in evaluating a guy."
During his sparring sessions Tuesday, Pavlik was near perfect. His stance, hand speed, defense and ring mechanics had him doing all the things a good fighter should do in the ring.
"This was a good workout because I had a good look at hand speed and movement from both of those guys," Pavlik said.
Loew added, "I liked what Kelly did today, especially his work to the body."
The sparring and the gym work, usually at Loew's Southside Boxing Club, are just part of a long day of preparation for the July 1 bout, which will be televised by ESPN2.
Soaking his hand in ice on the way back from Akron is a reminder of Pavlik's visits to Dr. Lance Ferkula, the former Ursuline High and Georgia Tech athlete who treats the scar tissue in Pavlik's right hand at least twice a week.
"There is still some tenderness, which is expected because he is punching in sparring and his work on the bags, but healing is occurring and he should be fine for his bout," Ferkula said.
After a break from his early roadwork in the park and before he goes to the Southside gym, Pavlik builds his strength at Rocky's Fitness Center in Boardman.
Rocky Taumoepeau puts Pavlik through rigorous strength training paces. Taumoepeau feels that few fighters have the overall strength of Pavlik.
The other 10-rounder on the July 1 card has Clarence "Bones" Adams (41-4-3), the former WBA super bantamweight champion, in a featherweight battle with Manuel Sepeda (16-6-3).
Adams is considered one of the busiest little men in boxing.
Lyell in debut
A noteworthy local addition to the card will be Niles amateur Billy Lyell. After a 45-12 record without pay, he will make his pro debut in a four-rounder.
Ticket prices range from $100 to $15. Tickets are available at the Cafaro Field box office, Cordy's Cigar Box in Girard, Nannicola's in Warren, Clemens Wine Cellar in Youngstown and Bob's Barbershop in Youngstown. Tickets also are available from Loew of the Southside Boxing Club. He can be reached at (330) 501-5713.