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Pavlik fights at YSU Dec. 19



Published: Tue, November 10, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Joe Scalzo

Pavlik didn’t agree to the fight until Sunday night.

YOUNGSTOWN — Kelly Pavlik is hoping to end a year of frustration on a good note.

The WBC and WBO middleweight champion will make his first title defense since February when he meets Miguel Espino on Dec. 19 at Youngstown State University’s Beeghly Center.

The fight was arranged quickly — Pavlik’s camp didn’t hear about the fight until a few days ago — and Pavlik didn’t agree to the fight until Sunday night. He announced the bout Monday at the Curbstone Coaches weekly noon luncheon and signed the contract soon afterward.

“Espino is a good fighter; someone who presents a real challenge,” Pavlik said at the luncheon. “I’m just ready to get back into the swing of things.”

A lingering staph infection in Pavlik’s left hand forced him to cancel two previous title fights — the first against Sergio Mora in the summer, then a Dec. 5 bout against Paul Williams.

Pavlik had planned to wait until January or February to get back in the ring.

But the two sanctioning bodies wanted to see their titles defended and threatened to strip Pavlik of the belts if he didn’t get back in the ring.

The Williams bout originally had been planned for October, then postponed to Dec. 5, then canceled altogether.

The Williams camp wasn’t willing to wait any longer to fight Pavlik, so Espino (20-2-1, 9 KOs) was picked as a replacement. Espino is the WBC’s No. 3 ranked contender.

“I talked with my dad, Jack [Loew, his trainer] and my manager [Cameron Dunkin] and we decided it’s not worth losing the title,” said Pavlik in a phone interview on Monday evening. “If I lose, I want to lose fighting.

“So, [Sunday], I told Cameron I want the fight.”

Although Espino, who starred on the first season of “The Contender,” isn’t as dangerous an opponent as Williams, the fight is still a risk. Pavlik’s hand is still not fully healed from two earlier surgeries — he still can’t make a fist — and his conditioning took a major hit with the long layoff.

Pavlik was unable to work out for two months while recovering, and a recent visit to the Ironman Warehouse only confirmed his fears.

“At the Ironman, I could see how much I lost,” said Pavlik, who is hoping to resume punching by the end of next week. “When you can’t pick up anything heavier than a gallon of milk for two months, it’s going to take a while to get back into it. But we’ll get there.”

According to ESPN.com, Pavlik will make just $500,000 for the Espino bout, which will be televised on Top Rank pay-per-view. That’s a far cry from the multimillion-dollar payday he would have earned for a Williams bout, but the Pavlik camp is hoping to use the December bout to prepare for a spring bout against Williams.

Beeghly Center, which seats at least 6,500 people, was chosen because the 7,500-seat Covelli Centre is booked for Disney On Ice from Dec. 17-20.

“This is an awesome feeling as I am ready to get back into the ring,” Pavlik said at the luncheon. “I really appreciate the many local fans that have traveled to my fights, so to be able to stay at home to defend my title is absolutely special.

“A jam-packed, smaller arena gets your adrenaline going. The fans are there to have fun but also root you on so this is going to be a special night for everyone.”

Loew made the call to postpone the Williams bout and has said he won’t let Pavlik fight unless he’s 100 percent. At Monday’s luncheon, he said he was happy with the bout.

“This is absolutely great news,” he said. “It’s always great to fight at home and after being off so long and suffering through a frustrating 2009, it will be great for Kelly to get back on his feet and into the ring.

“On top of that, it will be at home.”

Loew felt Pavlik needed a couple of more weeks in order for his hand, which had been diagnosed with MRSA staph, to properly heal and for him to be in top physical shape.

The Williams camp gave thumbs down to that request, and he will now fight Sergio Martinez on that date in Atlantic City.

“Everything works out for as reason,” Loew said. “We felt we needed the extra time so Kelly could bend his hand.

“Now, [Williams] will be fighting Sergio Martinez in a 3,500-seat ballroom and we’ll be fighting at home. That tells you who the draw is.”

XVindicator correspondent Greg Gulas contributed to this report.


Comments

1pappy800(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

What a Joke. Who is he going to fight next R.Cummings

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2yonko(27 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

“Now, [Williams] will be fighting Sergio Martinez in a 3,500-seat ballroom and we’ll be fighting at home. That tells you who the draw is.”

This a bold statement Mr. Loew considering you haven't sold "a" single ticket yet. You also failed to mention that Williams is guaranteed a little over 650k for the fight. Hmmmm.... Hope the hand heals and good luck Kelly

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3pappy800(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

he couldn't fight at the beginning of December because of his hand but yet a two weeks later he is able to fight? makes no sense to me. I think team pavlik is dodging williams

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4steelerman09(111 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Ok, this is totally the answer to the boxing worlds question....The freaking champion OF THE WORLD is fighting at this dump of a venue. What a JOKE!!!

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5Ken(153 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I said long ago that Kelly would not fight Williams. He will out box Espino...BUT, if the hand bothers Kelly even a little, another postponement!

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6pappy800(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe a hang nail will get another fight postponed.

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7mwp12371(1 comment)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I suggest you people keep inspiring Kelly with your trash talk.

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8joebag09(234 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

mwp12371....it's not trash talk...he's a champion that should be fighting in better venues and better fighters. Unfortunately, Kelly has issues he is going to need to deal with before they desrtoy his career and family! I truly do wish the best for him.

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9pappy800(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Trash is the fighters that he is fighting. He would have more respect if he faught real fighter that derserve a real shot at the belt.

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10steelerman09(111 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

After Pavlik spent so much money at East Side Civics, he absolutely NEEDS this payday to fight some loser that was on "The Contender". If he is healthy enough to fight Espino, then why isn't he healthy enough to fight someone who is actually known in the boxing world. Kelly has fought Taylor twice and Bernard Hopkins. Those are truly the only, real fighters he has fought. Taylor is washed up and the Old Man Hopkins put a whooping on him. A TRUE champion would fight REAL competition for REAL money at a REAL venue. Is the undercard TNA Wrestling?

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11sky(38 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

whens the last time the yankees played at Cene Field?

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12cord53(38 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

DO NOT WASTE YOUR CHRISTMAS MONEY GOING TO THIS FIGHT.

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