The weight is over

Pavlik enters camp physically, mentally fit



As Jack Loew answered questions in his office inside the Southside Boxing Club on Wednesday afternoon, he quickly seized on one — “How much of a difference will it be starting training camp at 180 pounds rather than 190?” — he could turn into a competition.

“He ain’t no 180,” he said. “He’s probably 175.”

The reporter pointed to a scale a few feet away and said, “OK, let’s see.”

As Loew’s fighter, Kelly Pavlik, walked over, Loew pointed at Pavlik’s Asics running shoes and said, “Now remember, those each weigh one pound. Those are size 15s.”

Fully clothed and still sweating from a light workout, Pavlik stepped on the scale, which read 174.8.

“I thought he’d be 75,” Loew said, beaming. “He looks good! That’s 172 [without clothes].

“OK, let’s start this question over again.”

Six months ago, Pavlik started training camp for the Sergio Martinez middleweight title fight at 195 pounds. He was coming off a hastily-arranged fight against Miguel Espino and had spent the intervening time lifting weights and playing basketball.

He dropped 35 pounds over the ensuing eight weeks, sometimes working out four or five times a day, to make weight. Two nights before the weigh-in, he was still at 170.

“I didn’t get to 164 until the day of the weigh-in,” Pavlik said. “I had five hours to lose those last four pounds but I couldn’t go in the sauna. There was nothing to sweat [off].”

So, between Wednesday night and Friday afternoon, he ran 15 miles on a treadmill with a minimal amount of food and water.

“That’s the time when you’re supposed to relax,” he said. “But we were killing ourselves, starving ourselves.”

Pavlik gained 18 pounds between the weigh-in and fight night. But instead of making him strong and powerful, the weight left him slow and sluggish.

Entering the fight, Pavlik’s camp still felt they would win — but Loew was worried.

“I saw what we had to do to get rid of that [35] pounds,” Loew said. “I still thought we could beat Sergio Martinez but I was really worried about hitting that wall and we did.”

Pavlik didn’t look great in the first few rounds, but by the eighth round, he had taken control of the fight and led on the judges’ cards. But, by then, he was gassed and Martinez bloodied him over the final four rounds to earn the unanimous decision.

Afterward, Pavlik said he was done with the middleweight division and wouldn’t fight again until the fall. He’s kept at least one of those promises, staying out of the spotlight while spending his summer on the golf course, out of the gym and (at times) in the tattoo parlor.

“I feel rested,” said Pavlik, who got at least three new tattoos. “I told everybody after the last fight that I was gonna take the summer off, take a break mentally and physically from the sport.

“Now I’m ready to go again.”

On Monday, Pavlik will begin training camp for his Nov. 13 bout against little-known Daniel Edouard, which will take place on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito bout at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

In two weeks, he’s scheduled to leave for California, Pa., where he’ll train at the same place used by Roy Jones Jr. Pavlik also left town to train before his last two fights — Las Vegas for Miguel Espino, Florida for Martinez — only to return soon afterward.

The difference this time, Loew said, is the distance.

“Here’s the thing about California, Pa.,” Loew said. “It’s not 1,300 miles away to Florida or 3,000 miles or whatever it is out to Las Vegas or California.

“Kelly’s got a family, he’s got two little kids. He’s two hours away. If they need him, we could always come home and take care of whatever we have to take care of and go back to camp.”

Loew will tour the facilities beforehand — when they arrived in Fort Myers in March, they quickly found subpar facilities and a city overrun by spring breakers — and has no problem coming back once a week so Pavlik can see his family.

“He’s a family person, he’s a homebody and he loves training at home,” he said. “I think we got the best of both worlds training two hours away in the mountains.”

Back to the original question. The Nov. 13 bout will be at the 164-pound “catch weight,” meaning Pavlik will need to lose just 11 pounds in two months instead of 35.

“It’s going to mean a very strong, healthy Kelly Pavlik,” Loew said.

Instead of five workouts a day, Loew can alternate workouts, opting for swimming or jump stretch between road work and workouts at the Ironman Warehouse. Seven-hour workouts will become three-hour workouts, giving Pavlik’s body a chance to rest, recover and rebuild.

“Four pounds [at 164] makes a huge difference, a huge, major, major difference,” said Pavlik. “Four pounds is a matter of a whole night and morning of still [having to work out] before a fight.”

That weight also allows him to keep one toe at middleweight with the other at super middleweight. He’s open to staying at 160, particularly if he gets a title shot, but only if he can do it the right way, with a nutritionist.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen after this fight, how it’s going to unfold,” Pavlik said. “Right now, it’s all about getting back in the ring, being impressive, taking [Edouard] out and seeing what fights are out there.”

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