The middleweight takes on Fulgencio Zuniga on Oct. 7.
SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR
LAS VEGAS -- Youngstown middleweight Kelly Pavlik has spent the past three weeks in Las Vegas training for his 12-round bout with Fulgencio Zuniga for the NABF title on Oct. 7 at the Aladdin Resort.
Pavlik (26-0, 23 KOs) has been staying in a Budget Inn suite with trainer Jack Loew, who has trained Pavlik since he was an 11-year-old Junior Olympian.
Pavlik has started training at 7 a.m. each day with morning runs of three to five miles followed by gym sessions from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. After a short nap, Pavlik does sparring sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for six to eight rounds.
In addition to sparring with Los Angeles and Las Vegas-based middleweights, Pavlik has worked with Cleveland light heavyweight Ron Johnson and cruiserweight Hector Rosario.
Pavlik will soon increase his workload to eight rounds of sparring and four rounds on the pads or the big bag, Loew said.
Pavlik has also been doing sprints at night at a local high school.
"Kelly should have no problem with endurance if this fight happens to go the distance," Loew said.
"Kelly is about 80 percent ready and by the week of the fight he will be really ready."
Zuniga (17-1-1, 16 KOs) hails from Barranquila, Columbia. The 28-year-old fights at a persistent pace. His only loss was by majority decision to Daniel Santos on June 28, 2003. He won the WBO Latino super middleweight title on Jan. 6 and Dean Chance's IBA middleweight title with a 12th-round knockout over David Alfonso Lopez later in the year.
"I feel good now and I am ready and raring to go," Pavlik said. "There's no doubt that Zuniga is a tough kid who comes to fight. We have watched tapes of him and know how he fights.
"I just don't see him beating me."
Pavlik isn't looking ahead, but a fight with Winky Wright, the third-ranked middleweight in the world, is a strong possibility.
The Oct. 7-8 weekend is a Top Rank Inc. boxing exclusive in Las Vegas. Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo will fight a 12-rounder on Oct. 8 for the WBC and WBO lightweight titles.