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Hometown bout may be Rx for Youngstown



Published: Sat, October 28, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cable-TV channel Versus is televising the final two bouts.

By TOM WILLIAMS

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- Six days from the biggest fight of his career, middleweight boxer Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik understands the heat is on.

"This is a big, big fight, not only for Youngstown, but for my career," the Lowellville High graduate said Friday before a public workout at 20 Federal Place. "It's very important for us to do well and be impressive."

Thursday evening, Pavlik (28-0, 25 knockouts) will climb into the ring at the Chevrolet Centre to battle Lenord Pierre (18-2-1, 13 KOs) of Catskill, N.Y.

Jack Loew, Pavlik's trainer, says 3,500 tickets already have been sold.

Remedy?

"It could be something to kick start boxing back in this area again -- we've seen that the [Mike] Tyson fight really didn't," said Pavlik, referring to Tyson's exhibition at the Chevrolet Centre Oct. 20. "Hopefully, this one will.

"This is huge, it being in Youngstown," said Pavlik, who noted that he's already fought in three times in the Valley.

"Great fans and Struthers is an unbelievable place to fight," Pavlik said. "Now we're in Youngstown and it's awesome."

Fighting in his hometown creates pressure and the No. 2-ranked Pavlik said that comes with the territory.

"If it was just two people, it's still your hometown and [those] two people in the stands are still your fans coming to see you fight," Pavlik said. "It definitely puts pressure on, especially this far into our career.

"So it's very important to go out there and make a big statement in this fight and be impressive," Pavlik said.

Loew said the undercard is expected to begin at 7 p.m. and the co-feature will begin at 9 p.m. He expects Pavlik and Lenord to enter the ring at about 10 p.m.

Cable-TV channel Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network) is televising the final two bouts.

Rising to the occasion

Pavlik said the pressure that comes from the spotlight "is something that you have to adapt to -- it's almost like Ohio State playing Michigan this year, going in front of [more than 105,000 people].

"It's crazy because it's the hometown [with] homefield advantage, and it's how you play under the pressure," Pavlik said.

Pavlik said his training is pretty much complete.

"I feel great, I feel loose. We had a great training camp," Pavlik said. "[I'm going] to slow down because if you're not in shape by now it's too late. You need to let your muscles rest instead of using them up."

Asked what his favorite part of training is, Pavlik said, "There's not many things I do like. ... I would say the boxing gym work, going in there and being around everybody, the sparring. That's the most enjoyable part."

The worst?

"Running and swimming," said Pavlik, who said a lot of his training is outdoors including weightlifting.

Pavlik estimates that when he's training, he endures "a thousand reps per body part. It's non-stop."

Bulldozer

Pavlik's scouting report is that Lenord is a "tough, shorter guy but strong, comes straight ahead, throws a lot of punches, and every one of them is for the fence. He'll go for the knockout.

"This guy is almost exactly like Tyson, in fact he's using Tyson's former trainer," Pavlik said.

williams@vindy.com




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