Boxing fan Ted Olesky gets a surprise visit from his hero
By Greg Gulas
Kelly Pavlik is the first to admit that he has had his struggles both in and outside of the ring.
He’s never struggled, however, with the decision to help brighten someone’s day.
Prior to his Monday departure for California in preparation of his upcoming WBC/WBA super middleweight title fight against Andre Ward, the former middleweight champion of the world met with boxing fan Ted Olesky as part of Shepherd of the Valley’s Second Wind Dream Come True program.
“I get emotional every time I am asked to visit someone,” Pavlik said. “I’m not a miracle worker, but if I can give hope to someone then that makes me happy as well.
“All kidding aside, when someone out there supports me then I feel an obligation to reach out and meet them. It’s absolutely great every time I visit with someone because they always have a smile on their face and they’re laughing despite their many ailments. It makes you realize that your problems really aren’t all that bad.”
Olesky is a sports enthusiast with boxing at the top of his list. He is Pavlik’s self-proclaimed biggest area fan with pictures and a poster of his hero adorning the walls of his room at the West Boulevard facility.
“They kept telling me that I was getting a special visitor but I had no idea that it was Kelly Pavlik,” Olesky said. “For him to take the time out to come and visit me, especially since he will be in training for his next title fight, is really very special. I cannot tell you what this means to me.”
Activities director Kim Osborn, coordinator of the event, said this came together quickly within the past two weeks, all because of Pavlik’s willingness to take part in helping their seniors realize just one more dream.
“We found out that Kelly would be in town for a few days and when we told him that Ted was a big fan of his, he was more than willing to make the time to visit with him,” Osborn said. “Kelly made this dream come true, not only for Ted but for the entire Olesky family.”
Two of Olesky’s three daughters were able to attend. Robin [McCormack] drove in from Baltimore on Friday and Michelle [Krach] arrived from Columbus.
Olesky’s sister, Darleen Moore, of Canfield was also able to join in on the surprise.
“My brother escorted Grace Kelly as one of his assignments when he was in the Marines, but to actually sit down and talk boxing with one of his sports heroes was truly amazing for him,” Moore said.
Both daughters expressed their appreciation to Pavlik for his generosity, mostly because their father has had some physical challenges over the past several years and a visit by his hero would surely give his spirits a boost.
“Kelly’s visit definitely put a smile on my father’s face and added sunshine to his heart during what have been some difficult days. We’re all emotional and very appreciative of Kelly,” Krach said. “My dad will now look back on this knowing that someone he cared about cared enough in return to do something very special for him.”
Olesky had no idea that his daughter from Baltimore was even there as she waited outside in the lobby for her father’s arrival.
“This means the world to him and will be a memory that will last forever. He met [Leavittsburg native and boxer] Earnie Shavers and followed his career, but it is Kelly Pavlik that he calls his hero,” McCormack said.
Pavlik is ready to start training for his Jan. 26 championship bout with Ward.
“I leave Monday for Oxnard, Calif., and am more than ready to get started,” Pavlik said. “Andre [Ward] is fast, has decent pop and is smart. He always has an excellent game plan, but his strength is that he can change that plan and make adjustments over the course of a fight.
“Pound for pound he’s ranked anywhere from one to three behind Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. I need to be more athletic against Ward, so I will go back to more strength training. This fight is a big one so I’ll go back to some of my old school things as I prepare. This will be the toughest of my fights by far.”
Rich Limongi, a Shepherd of the Valley administrator, called the day just amazing.
“With 109 residents it is important to have something like this,” he said. “We’re just so appreciative of Kelly and how generous and giving he has been, not only by presenting Ted a signed boxing glove and his book, but sticking around for a while and spending some time with one of his biggest fans.”