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Kelly Pavlik ready to put on a show

Published: Sat, May 7, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Andy Samuelson


Las Vegas

Even Kelly Pavlik, the former middleweight champion who has headlined big boxing shows from his hometown to Atlantic City, couldn’t help but get caught up in the surreal scene that played out Friday afternoon inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

An announced crowd of 8,000 people piled into the casino on the famed Las Vegas Strip, 90-plus percent of the fans donning the fight gear of their favorite international hero Manny Pacquiao, who will square off tonight with Shane Mosley in a WBO welterweight title tilt shown on Showtime pay-per-view.

“Pretty crazy,” Pavlik said with a smile. “The fan base that I’ve seen here this week is amazing. It’s gonna be a great crowd and I think an awesome card.”

A card the Youngstown native hopes will lead him back to boxing relevancy.

“I’m feeling good, I’m ready to go put on a show,” said Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) who takes on undefeated Alfonso Lopez (21-0, 16 KOs) from Cut and Shoot, Texas.

While the majority of the massive crowd, which was probably closer to 5,000 people (several hundred fans were turned away 45-minutes prior to Friday’s weigh-in activities hosted by sports announcer James Brown), waited the better portion of the day to see 10-time champ “Pac-Man,” Pavlik had a few familiar faces that made the 2,000 mile trip from Ohio to Sin City.

“I think for the first time in a while, not only because of everything that was going outside the ring, Kelly has a clear head,” said childhood friend Mike Cefalde Jr., who made the trip to Las Vegas with his father and Pavlik’s godfather Mike Sr., mother, Jackie and good friend, Jeremy Simpson.

“He has a clear vision of what he wants to do and that is capture another world championship and regain some of the respect he might have lost.”

Obviously Pavlik won’t be able to bring any belts home this weekend’s as tonight’s contest is a 10-round, non-title fight set at a catch weight of 171 pounds, but still billed as a super middleweight bout, which has a 168-pound limit.

“I feel a lot better with the added weight, definitely stronger,” said Pavlik, who tipped the scales at a 170 pounds, while Lopez registered 169. “I have as much energy right now as I’ve ever had going into a fight.”

The large projection of people expected to watch the pay-per-view telecast has served as extra motivation for Pavlik, who earlier this week admitted he is ready to put to rest the talk of his recent rehabilitation trip to a Betty Ford clinic for alcoholism and ring rust from a year without a match.

“After being outside of the ring for a year honestly I would be satisfied with a victory. But I know from a media standpoint and also personally I want to come out and do something spectacular,” said Pavlik, who is 10-0 in his career in bouts based in Las Vegas — with his last victory coming via unanimous decision against Jermain Taylor in February 2008.

Pavlik’s dietician Dr. Gregory Blackman said “Ghost” fans should prepare to see a totally renewed and reenergized fighter.

“Like Kelly said this is the best he’s felt before a fight in his career. A lot of that comes from us keeping our weight so close and not having the difficulties associated with cutting so much in past camps,” Blackman said.

“I think you’re gonna see a more powerful Kelly Pavlik, one who is out to prove he’s the same, if not better fighter, than he ever was before.”

No matter what happens tonight, Mike Cefalde Sr. said he wouldn’t miss this fight for anything.

“We watched him grow up with my sons, I’m so excited to see him get back out there,” said Cefalde Sr., who went to high school with Pavlik’s father, Mike and estimates he’s watched 25 Pavlik fights in person.

“I’ve talk to him at camp and out here this weekend, and he said he’s feeling great. What I’ve seen he looks like the old Kelly, if not better. I think he’s gonna do something special.”


1MLC75(660 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Good Luck Kelly,I wish you the best.I will be ordering pay per view to watch your come back.

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2cord53(38 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


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3MLC75(660 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

@cord53 your a loser !

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4cord53(38 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

your the jerk for following him. the only real champion from Youngstown is Mancini and arroyo. this guy can't handle success. He will never win another title. He is fighting a nobody tonight with a record of all easy wins. Don't be fooled you jerk.

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5cord53(38 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

if I'm not mistaken he lost a majority of his fan base. Hmmmm

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6redeye1(5615 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Good Luck Kelly !!! Don't listen to the naysayers, they are jealous because you beat your problem and they can't beat theirs

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7cord53(38 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

he has a big fan base redeye1 and mlc75 what does that tell you. no one cares.

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8copstarkey(27 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Well, shouldn't be surprised that the ytown haters would be back. We back this guy for years, wish him the best, and when things aren't perfect anymore we jump ship. And to make things worse, if all these stories are correct, is that if he has a problem some folks are gonna get on here and run him down some more. Well that makes alot of sense. And its really helpful. You might as well go buy a drink and offer it to him as well. And I wouldn't be suprised if some of these critics here have done that very thing and then come on here and say how bad it is.


Too many folks from the valley projecting their own shortcomings and sorrow in life on this guy. Like all of us are so perfect that we should criticize someone who tried to represent this valley to the best of his abilities and at the same time try to keep as normal a life as he could. He never asked for all of this. He set a goal, he achieved it. He made us proud. And alot of folks here put alot of pressure on him. We expected so much, and from many of the negative comments, I guess some expected perfection. And when he needs some encouragement, some of us get on here and say he's this and that. I do not know kellys exact issues, but we have some folks that claim he needs to admit to it all and grow up. So I ask you this, do you know how hard it is to admit you have a problem? Do you live his life? I've never been famous, but i did have that problem and it sucks. And for the "real clowns" who get on here and throw stones at the guy, I tell you this. IT DOESN'T HELP. And as for blaming former fans. I've seen the videos and read the stories, and I don't read that. But I will say this, some of you criticizers were those former fans, and I have no doubt some of you have contributed to this whole issue in one way or another. Yes no one put a drink to his lips, but its pretty messed up that folks who say "i've seen him do this or that, I'm no longer a fan" fail to include they witnessed this after they walked up, asked for a pic or autograph, hung out for a bit to feel important, AND in many cases bought a round or 2 themselves for this guy. And then go home and post here. Real classy.

I wish kelly all the luck in the world. And I think if we expect so much out of this guy than maybe some of us should ask something of ourselves, either show this guy some love, for him as a man and as a representative of this valley, or don't say anything at all.

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