BOXING Pavlik on Hopkins vs. DLH card
The Youngstown middleweight's opponent on Sept. 22 is Lonnie Bradley.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Sunday morning flight from Pittsburgh to the Las Vegas Airport had Kelly Pavlik and his trainer, Jack Loew, on it. This wasn't a gambling junket or a vacation, but a work trip.
Less than a week ago, Cameron Dunkin, Pavlik's co-manager and agent, notified the Youngstown middleweight that he would be on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Oscar De La Hoya middleweight championship fight Sept. 18 at the MGM Grand Hotel.
The 22-year-old Pavlik (21-0, 19 knockouts), is ranked ninth in the middleweight division by the WBA, 12th by the IBF and seventh. He will be in a 10-rounder with Lonnie Bradley (29-1-1, 21 KOs).
The 35-year-old Bradley, born in Charleston, S.C., fights out of New York City and is trained by Bobby Cassidy and managed by Frank Meehan. He won the WBO middleweight title in May 1995, stopping David Mendez in the 12th round in Jean, Nev., and defended that title successfully six times. His last defense was June 28, 1997 at the MGM Grand, in which he stopped John Williams in the eight round of a scheduled 12-rounder, but Bradley suffered an eye injury in the bout.
He had surgery for a detached retina and was away from boxing for 26 months until he stopped Robert Muhammad in the sixth round in Miami. Since his return to the ring he has had only three other fights and the last of those bouts was his only loss, a seventh round TKO at the hands of southpaw David Lopez.
Lopez won a 12-round unanimous decision over Kinno Garcia to win the IBA middleweight title Aug. 6.
"If Kelly wins over Bradley his next fight will be with Lopez," said Dunkin.
Training in isolation
"I haven't seen Bradley, but obviously he is a good fighter with a lot of experience and with the training time we have in Vegas we will get some good looks at him on film," said Pavlik
"I am ready to go and this is the step we have been waiting for," he added. "We are going away for nearly five weeks for hard training and a lot of good sparring. We will be isolated away from everybody and all the things that can detract one's attention from what is vital for a boxing career headed in the right direction."
Pavlik, responding to a possible fight with Warren native Tony Hanshaw, said, "It was only talk because there was no money offer at all and there is plenty of time for that fight to happen."
Pavlik said his right hand "feels great" and that he weighs about 175 pounds.
"We know what to do to get down to 160 pounds before my fight. My biggest fight, as usual, will not be with my opponent, but it will be in making the 160-pound middleweight limit and maintaining a good energy level."
Loew, Pavlik's trainer since he was 11, said, "The right sparring and the right existence are the main reasons for us to be in Las Vegas. A good thing about Kelly being on this undercard is that Kofi Jantua is also on it and he will be a primary sparring partner for Kelly throughout this preparation."
Pavlik's other manager, Tony Scandy, said this is an important time in the fighter's career.
"He has to get the right work, the right conditioning without outside influences and definitely a higher caliber of sparring than he can get in the Youngstown area," said Scandy. "We have to think heavily at this time about taking the right path for a local guy to become a world champion."