By joe gorman
Kelly Pavlik was charged with theft Wednesday after a cabdriver told a Mahoning County deputy sheriff that the former boxing champion failed to pay his $25 cab fare after he gave him a ride home from a South Meridian Road bar about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday.
A sheriff’s report said Pavlik asked to be taken to his home in the 3200 block of Sugarbush Drive in Canfield. When the cabdriver dropped Pavlik off about 10 minutes after he picked him up, he told Pavlik the fee was $25.
The driver said in the report Pavlik told him he would not pay and swore at him twice before walking into his home. The driver then went to a gas station on U.S. Route 224 and called 911, reports state.
The theft charge was filed in Mahoning County Area Court in Canfield.
Later Wednesday, Pavlik said he did not want to comment much, only to say “it was a screwed-up situation.” He said the driver initially couldn’t find his house when he took him home.
He said he did not want to talk more about the incident, and added if it was reported on in The Vindicator he “will go to national media and embarrass you [the newspaper].”
Brian Bleggi, owner of the cab company, A Cab, said it was his son, Santino, who took Pavlik home. He said he has not had much trouble from people not paying their fare, and standard procedure is to get the money up front, but an exception was made for Pavlik because, he said, “It’s him.”
He said his drivers have driven Pavlik home before in similar situations.
Santino Bleggi said in a written statement attached to the deputy’s report that he knows who Pavlik is because he has seen his picture on television and around Youngstown.
His father said he received a threatening call from a blocked number but that he was not scared.
“I’m not going to let [that] intimidate me,” Brian Bleggi said.
Pavlik has had issues in the past with alcohol including a driving-under- the-influence charge in 2011. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of failure to control in April 2012 in the Canfield court.
He has attended a treatment program to try to get help for an alcohol problem.
Pavlik retired from boxing in January after a career that saw him become the middleweight world champion in 2007.
In 12 years as a fighter, he had a career record of 40-2 with 34 of his victories coming by knockout.