By Joe Scalzo
On Saturday night, Kelly Pavlik’s promoter and co-manager both told ESPN.com that the Youngstown fighter would have a new trainer, and a new training site.
That was news to his current trainer, Jack Loew.
“I talked to Kelly Saturday night and he told me that was an absolute lie, that it wasn’t happening,” Loew said in a phone interview on Sunday evening. “I said, ‘Kelly, if you’re going with someone else, just be man enough to tell me before I hear it from some website.’
“He assured me again that I’m still his guy. So I said, OK.”
Pavlik, who did not return a message seeking comment, joined his father and co-manager, Mike Sr., in New York on Saturday to discuss his future with co-manager Cameron Dunkin and Top Rank officials. According to the ESPN story, Pavlik agreed to switch to trainer Robert Garcia and begin training in Oxnard, Calif.
Garcia trains several of Dunkin’s fighters as well as Antonio Margarito.
“Jack’s out,” Dunkin told the site. ““It’s about seeing if Kelly still has any fight left in him, and he may not. He wasn’t getting any better, he wasn’t training, he had no organization. He wasn’t in a positive way. So you have to make changes.”
Dunkin said the decision was “about getting him out of Ohio,” where Pavlik has battled alcoholism and dwindling motivation. The 29-year-old Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs) has trained with Loew at the Southside Boxing Club since he was 9 but has not looked good in recent fights and abruptly canceled his August bout with Darryl Cunningham at the Covelli Centre.
Pavlik did not confirm the ESPN report, declining an interview with boxing write Dan Rafael.
While Dunkin has pushed for a change in trainers for years, Arum has repeatedly said he’s fine with keeping Loew, provided Pavlik trains elsewhere.
“Jack is fine but [Pavlik needs] to be away from Youngstown,” Arum told ESPN.
Loew said he knew Pavlik was likely headed to California to work with infamous BALCO president Victor Conte, who spent time in prison in 2005 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute steroids and money laundering. Conte, who is best known for his ties to former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, has since said he will no longer distribute illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
“Victor works with all of Cameron’s fighters,” Loew said.
Loew was complimentary of Garcia but feels Pavlik’s fall has to do with his troubles with alcohol and not his training. But if Pavlik does make a change, Loew said he wishes him “nothing but the best.”
“I love Kelly like a son,” Loew said. “As far as I know, I’m still his trainer but if things change and it’s Kelly’s decision, I’ve got no problem with how his career has gone. I’ve got two up-and-coming young fighters and I always knew there was going to be life after Pavlik at some point.
“I trained him since he was 9 years old and helped him become the middleweight champion of the world. Not too many of even the great trainers out there can say that.”