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Kelly Pavlik’s reputation takes a huge hit

Published: Thu, August 4, 2011 @ 12:11 a.m.


Kelly Pavlik has withdrawn from his scheduled fight vs. Darryl Cunningham on Saturday night at the Covelli Centre and told his promotional company, Top Rank, that he will not fight Lucian Bute in November.


Former professional boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

By Joe Scalzo



As the latest chapter in Kelly Pavlik’s career unfolded, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini had just one thought: “We are witnessing the assassination of a career.”

“What doesn’t he get about this business?” said Mancini, a former WBA lightweight champion from Youngstown. “You’re only as good as your last fight.”

Saying he wasn’t going to “fight a southpaw for peanuts,” Pavlik on Tuesday canceled Saturday’s fight with Darryl Cunningham at the Covelli Centre and his planned November bout with IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute.

Pavlik was guaranteed $50,000 for the Cunningham bout and $1.35 million for the Bute bout.

Mancini said Pavlik’s “peanut” comments will not play well with his promoter, the cable networks or his hometown fans.

“For all the good will he’s done, I don’t think he realizes the irreparable damage he’s doing,” Mancini said. “Fighting for a million dollars is chicken feed? Wow. Wow. I’m beyond baffled. I’m flabbergasted.

“It’s a million-dollar payday and you’ve got people in this town making minimum wage. How do you think they’re going to identify with you or sympathize with you? How?”

According to a Top Rank spokesman, Pavlik did not sign a contract to fight Cunningham and that members of Pavlik’s camp were aware of the $50,000 guarantee well in advance of the bout.

The cancelation continued a troubling trend for Pavlik, who has won just three fights in three years and has canceled bouts against Bryan Vera, Paul Williams and Sergio Mora due to injuries over that span.

His poor performance — his only big-time fights over the last 31/2 years were to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez, both lopsided losses — and his battles with alcoholism won’t help, either.

“What network is going to touch him now?” Mancini said. “He’s not relevant anymore. You lose and go away for awhile, you’re not relevant. A win, then beating Bute makes him relevant again.”

Pavlik did not return calls for comment. In a radio interview with Boxingscene.com on Tuesday, he said he doesn’t want to retire, but that he’s “tired of being a puppet.

“I don’t need the money. I don’t,” he said. “I made enough money in my career. I’m living happily ever after right now.

“I would rather retire before I sell my career short.”

Pavlik’s promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, said Pavlik was set to earn 82 percent of Top Rank’s cut from the Bute fight, with a chance to make more than $1.35 million if the gate was higher.

He was also set to earn 100 percent of the profits from the Cunningham bout, Arum said.

“It was a helluva deal and it’s the best possible deal,” Arum said. “To walk away from that demonstrates to me that he doesn’t want to fight.”

Pavlik’s sparring partner over the past few weeks, Youngstowner Darnell Boone, said Pavlik was rusty at the beginning of the Cunningham camp but was rounding into form with a week left.

“I felt, personally, he was going to steamroll the guy,” said Boone, a natural right-hander who had been sparring left-handed.

Boone has trained with Pavlik for years and admitted there’s a big difference between where Pavlik is now and where he was four years ago when he was beating the likes of Jermain Taylor and Edison Miranda.

“I think he got away from a lot of things he had done back then,” Boone said. “But the last time we sparred, he was getting back to the movement and using his jab more instead of just relying on his power.”

When asked if he thinks he can regain that form, Boone said, “I definitely think he still has it. He just needs to find something to fuel the fire in him again the way he used to have it.”


1youngstownsteve(81 comments)posted 4 years ago

Thanks Boom Boom - you are a true champ and have always made the valley proud. Pavlik should have followed your example. He can't shine your shoes.
People in Y-town work very hard for the "peanuts" we earn. How many families here actually make $50,000 a year? Apparently he has forgotten where he came from.
He can crawl back into the bottle he crawled out of as far as I am concerned and "live happily ever after"!

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2k9girl2223(19 comments)posted 4 years ago

I agree with you youngstown Steve 100% very well put!! Boom Boom is awesome and Pavlik can only wish to ever be as good as Boom Boom was!!

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3justonevoice(94 comments)posted 4 years ago

Fight for peanuts? He trains for a couple of weeks and fights one night to make $50,000 and that's peanuts? Try working for YEAR to make $26,000 BEFORE taxes. I've always been a Pavlik fan but he has now demonstrated he is out of touch with reality. As Mr. Mancini said, "you're only as good as your last fight". I wish you well in your retirement Mr. Pavlik.

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4YtownSports(278 comments)posted 4 years ago

Kelly, if you've got enough money, then what difference does it make if they're paying you $1.35-million or $1.35? ACT LIKE A CHAMPION...not like some alcohol sodden egomaniac.

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5fcb(388 comments)posted 4 years ago

If they need a fill in for Saturday night,I had 9 fights in the golden gloves, and I'am 67 years old but I'll fight for a 10th of that 50K. It's very clear that Kelly no longer wants to fight.That's OK,but a lot of other people depend on things like this show Saturday. Don't start some thing that you don't intend to finish. He was a well managed fighter.He built up a big record but as soon as he stepped in there with some one who had speed he was done.If he has enough money like he says I advise him to get his life back in order retire and spend time with his family.

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6Steelcityfightfan(25 comments)posted 4 years ago

Lol your sparring partner was Darnell Boone???? Lolol he's a conventional fighter and you have him sparring southpaw??? Lol typical garbage training for a guy who was going to fight for the super middleweight championship by the worst trainer in the game!!! No wonder he backed out Cunningham had it right....he was going to knock him out! Lol

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7GPackwood(35 comments)posted 4 years ago

Arum said ...“It was a helluva deal and it’s the best possible deal.”

Apparently it wasn't good enough and I agree with Kelly.

If your going to risk permanent brain damage might as well shoot for the stars and get in line for the Vegas shows.

Or especially get in line for the huge new markets for foreign competition.

Just saying.

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8Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 4 years ago


"Apparently it wasn't good enough and I agree with Kelly."

Maybe you and Kelly can sit in a bar, have a cold brew and ask What If?

As Mancini (and it's safe to say, he knows about the boxing world) would comment:

“It’s a million-dollar payday and you’ve got people in this town making minimum wage. How do you think they’re going to identify with you or sympathize with you? How?”

Guess you do GP....... smh

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9JHaddle(9 comments)posted 4 years ago

Why would anyone want to take advice from a guy who stuck around way too long and fought for nothing else but to have slowed slurred speech? At the end of the day Kelly is making a good decision. Top Rank is selling him out. Since I know the Vindicator won't post Kelly's response, I will.


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10JHaddle(9 comments)posted 4 years ago

BTW notice that on a national level, when people know why he didn't take the fight, KP is getting a lot more support for making the decision he did than he is in his hometown. Why? Probably because the Vindicator and local media have had it in for Kelly for some time.

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11JHaddle(9 comments)posted 4 years ago

"The local media believes he doesn't respond enough. Mike Pavlik said during one call with a local reporter that he was told the hounding "was the price of fame." During a recent interview, Pavlik's publicist, John D'Altorio, played a voice mail from an editor at a local paper. The message was sent just before Pavlik's fight with Martinez. In the message, the editor called Pavlik's refusal to give the paper's reporter access "bulls---" and said the paper "would draw our line, you can draw yours and it will be ugly.""


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12jude103(3 comments)posted 4 years ago

You have to show respect to get respect. Alcohol problems, re-hab for it, leaves re-hab, still denies having a problem, public intoxication and fighting. The joke around town was that if you wanted to watch him fight, don't pay for tickets, just go to a local bar he hung out in. Respect???? Start showing you have respect for yourself, your few fans that are left and the city that gave you a start. Unless you change your attitude, you'll never be with the "big boys" so stop whining.

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13UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years ago

Kelly Pavlik is a washed up drunk!

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14Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 4 years ago


The Sports Illustrated article is from February, 2011. Old news. And until he accepts that he is a alcoholic he will never get sober.


"And you've got to pay me more money than that you're offering. ... Kelly Pavlik is Kelly Pavlik. My name still draws. ... You can't tell me that the money's not there and the draw is not there. I will draw people to a fight. So until I'm happy and I get what I deserve, then I'm not happy.

He can't even draw in Youngstown! That is saying something right there.

""BTW notice that on a national level, when people know why he didn't take the fight, KP is getting a lot more support for making the decision he did than he is in his hometown. ""

Your joking, right?

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15nascar74(43 comments)posted 4 years ago

I am totally mesmarized by Pavliks comments and lack of loyalty. It's really sad because I have been a Kelly supporter from day one. Having attended a few of his fights (including the championship bout in Atlantic City), have defended him on this website and being a recovering addict and alcoholic, I had his back when so many fellow Valley people did not. Sorry Kelly, but the buck stops here. Get off your high horse and come back down to reality.

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16Max(91 comments)posted 4 years ago


This article says it all.

Ray Mancini was and still is a proud son of Youngstown. Kelly is an embarrassment. What a bum.

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