By Joe Scalzo
Three months after his divorce from Kelly Pavlik, trainer Jack Loew believes the former middleweight champion is down to his last chance.
“If it doesn’t work out in California, I think it’s [Pavlik’s career] over with,” said Loew, speaking at the Curbstone Coaches’ weekly luncheon Monday. “I don’t think it’s a matter of coming back here to train, to work with Jack Loew. If he doesn’t succeed in California, it’s over.
“He’s with a fine guy in [trainer] Robert Garcia. If he succeeds out there, he’ll be OK. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Pavlik trained with Loew for 20 years but the collaboration fell apart in the fall after Pavlik abruptly canceled two bouts, including one in August with Darryl Cunningham at the Covelli Centre. Afterward, Pavlik said it was because he was offered just $50,000 for the bout and “wouldn’t fight for peanuts.”
“He knew we were getting the $50,000 to fight Cunningham and he knew we were getting the $1.3 million to fight [Lucian] Bute,” said Loew, referring to a planned super middleweight bout in November. “There was no discrepancy in what he was making. It was set in stone three or four weeks prior to that.”
When asked for the “real reason” for the cancelation, Loew said, “That is something you would have to ask Kelly. Was he training for the fight? Yes. Was he fully prepared for the fight? That’s something you’d have to ask Kelly. The only person who can answer that is Kelly.”
Pavlik’s drinking problem contributed to his downfall in recent years but when Loew was asked about the extent of his fighter’s alcoholism, Loew said, “I’m not going to go there. Let’s just say it didn’t start yesterday. Many people were warned that it was getting out of hand and the right people didn’t take care of it. It wasn’t supposed to be his trainer. I can only say so much.”
Since his split with Pavlik, Loew has focused more on professional fighters such as Dannie Williams and Willie Nelson and amateur Alejandro “Popo” Salinas.
Williams (21-1, 17 KOs) will meet Henry Lundy (21-1-1, 11 KOs) for the NABF lightweight title on March 30 in Mashantucket, Conn. If Williams wins, he could have a major title bout by the end of 2012.
“Hopefully we can bring not only myself but Youngstown another champion,” said Loew. “That’s something that I’m really striving for.”
Nelson (17-1-1, 11 KOs), who was once the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world and the No. 1-ranked amateur in the U.S., will fight on March 1 in St. Louis. The Cleveland native is 6-foot-3 and fights at 147 pounds.
“He looks like Tommy Hearns or Paul Williams,” Loew said.
The 17-year-old Salinas will fight in the 132-pound weight class at the U.S. Nationals from Feb. 26 to March 3 in Fort Carson Calif. There are more than 100 fighters in his weight class, with the winner advancing to the Olympic Trials.
“It’s a longshot,” said Loew of making the Trials. “But he’s gonna be a superstar someday.”