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Downtown swells with Pavlik fans

Published: Sat, February 21, 2009 @ 8:02 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — The crowds downtown for the Pavlik-Rubio fight reminded Dan O'Nesti, 69, of Hubbard of the olden days, he said.

“I’m older and this young crowd is reminiscent of what you would see on the streets of Youngstown,” said O'Nesti who was recognizing the massive crowd at Buffalo Wild Wings, Central Square, downtown on Saturday.

“This city used to have people elbow to elbow,” he said.

O'Nesti and his wife Kathy O'Nesti, 62, made the restaurant their first stop of the Pavlik fight night, along with 13 others including grandsons, Jamie, 8, and Jordan, 13, Thomson, both of Hubbard.

“What a treat we got to come out all together,” Kathy O'Nesti said.

“They’ll never see this again,” she said of her grandsons watching a title fight in Youngstown.

For some downtown, like the O'Nesti’s, it was a family event, but for others it was a night out with friends.

It was a high school reunion for JT Thomas, 24, of Columbus, originally from Liberty, Doug Foster, 25, of Girard and Terry Swadener, 24, of Liberty.

“We saw him win the belt in Atlantic City, so we had to come to our home town to support,” Thomas said.

The three weighed-in on how many rounds they thought the fight would go and it was two-to-one.

“It will be a Pavlik knock out in round four,” said Thomas, with Swadener agreeing.

“I think it will go to six,” Foster said.

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