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Tension builds in Team Pavlik

Published: Thu, August 5, 2010 @ 12:08 a.m.




Four months after Kelly Pavlik lost his middleweight titles, cracks are beginning to show inside Team Pavlik.

Pavlik’s father and co-manager, Mike Pavlik Sr., told Steve Kim of Max Boxing on Tuesday he believes his son needs new tutelage after spending his entire amateur and pro career under Jack Loew.

“I feel right now he’s in the prime of his life and we’ve become one-dimensional and predictable,” Mike Sr. told Kim. “I’m not bad-mouthing Jack. It’s not that Jack has done anything wrong; Jack has reached a plateau that he’s never been before. He doesn’t know what to do.”

Although there have been occasional issues between Loew and Mike Sr. over the years, this is the first time the father has publicly questioned Loew. The tension stems from Pavlik’s unanimous decision loss in April to Sergio Martinez, whose speed and movement caused problems for the Youngstown fighter.

When reached by phone Wednesday, the 28-year-old Pavlik said he hasn’t considered making a change at trainer.

“That’s news to me,” he said. “For me to look at someone else, not to sound like a broken record, but I wasn’t schooled [by Martinez]. In the middle rounds, I was frustrating him.

“I haven’t even thought of changing.”

Although Mike Sr. stopped short of saying he wanted a new trainer, he believes Loew needs to bring in someone to help.

Mike Sr. did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday, Loew, who declined comment for this article, told the website the problem wasn’t the training, it was Pavlik’s condition entering camp and the father’s insistence on working out “four or five times a day.” Pavlik weighed more than 190 pounds entering camp — 30 above the middleweight limit — and, consequently, was drained on fight night.

Loew said Pavlik needs to take better care of his body between fights and hire a professional nutritionist to safely make weight.

Pavlik’s co-manager, Cameron Dunkin, doesn’t think his fighter needs a new trainer, but agreed with Mike Sr. that Pavlik could benefit from different voices in the gym, both physically and mentally.

“Nothing against Jack; he’s taken him as far as he can go,” said Dunkin. “But Kelly’s not learning anything. He’s not excited, he’s not motivated.

“I never want to get rid of Jack; he knows the kid as well as anybody. But I think if somebody came in and helped, that would be good.”

Dunkin said many top fighters train at gyms with multiple trainers and spend time inside the gym outside of training camp, gaining exposure to different styles from different cultural backgrounds. They also attend fights in person to pick up on new approaches, something Pavlik rarely does. (Although he does watch fights on TV.)

“There’s a whole lot of new ideas going on and Kelly doesn’t see any of that,” said Dunkin. “To close his eyes and not see other guys and other thoughts and other fighters and other places, it’s just stupid. It’s not fair to him and he’s never going to grow and he’s never going to get any better.”

Pavlik’s promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, told Fanhouse on Wednesday he’s discussed a possible HBO fight in the fall between Pavlik and Russian Dmitry Pirog, the newly crowned WBO middleweight champion.

Pirog (17-0, 14 KOs) won the title with a fifth-round KO of Daniel Jacobs on Saturday.

The title was one of two won by Martinez against Pavlik (the WBC belt was other), who vacated both when he didn’t make a title defense in time.

Dunkin confirmed the camp’s interest in the Pirog fight but Pavlik said he knows little of the discussions.

“I’ve never heard of the guy,” said Pavlik, who recently returned from a Hawaiian vacation with his wife. “I told everybody, the only way I’m going to fight at 160 is if a nutritionist tells me I can make the weight and be healthy.

“If they offer the right money and a nutritionist said it’s OK, it’s a definite possibility.”

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