Rumors have surfaced that former WBC, WBO and The Ring Magazine middleweight titlist Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik is on the cusp of axing trainer Jack Loew to instead work with Robert Garcia at his gym in Oxnard, Calif.
Pavlik (37-2, 32 KOs) strongly denied such chatter to Sports Illustrated staff writer Chris Mannix during the Nonito Donaire bout Saturday night at New York’s Madison Square Garden Theater.
“Right now we’re staying with Jack,” Pavlik said. “That’s guaranteed. There’s no reason not to.”
In early-September, Pavlik’s lifelong trainer revealed to SI.com he had not spoken to the troubled prizefighter since “The Ghost” decided to cancel his scheduled August 6 bout against Daryl Cunningham in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
“It happened and it’s over,” said Loew, who has trained Pavlik since he started fighting at nine years of age out of his South Side Boxing Club. “It was totally Kelly’s decision. I couldn’t give you a yes or a no about what’s going to happen. I haven’t talked to Kelly since it was canceled. If he wants to fight, we’ll move forward.”
Pavlik, whose only losses as a professional came at the hands of legendary pugilist Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2-1, 32 KOs) and 2010 “Fighter of the Year” Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 25 KOs), earned a majority decision win over Alfonso Lopez III (21-1, 16 KOs) in his May comeback fight.
Provided Pavlik managed to trump the underwhelming Cunningham (23-2, 10 KOs), he was tentatively slated to scrap IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian “Mister KO” Bute in the imminent future.
Pavlik allegedly balked after discovering he was set to earn a paltry $50,000 against Cunningham and approximately $1.35 million to clash with Bute (29-0, 24 KOs), a powerful lefthander.
“The Ghost” has battled alcoholism and in mid-January he left the Betty Ford Clinic for the second time.
Pavlik also underwent two major surgeries on his left hand in 2009 to mend a stubborn staph infection that placed his overall health in grave jeopardy.
Many analysts believed a rested, healthy and sober Pavlik could regain his prowess in the squared circle.
Alarmingly, The (Youngstown, Ohio) Vindicator newspaper reported Pavlik was involved in a drunken fracas with his brother at his parent’s home in the summertime.
“The Ghost” apparently fled before the fuzz arrived and his bloodied sibling declined to press charges.
According to police reports, the tormented 29-year-old pugilist “punched the west-facing side door of the home and pulled his brother, Michael, out of the broken window.”
Official police records also noted that the two brothers were boozing when the violence erupted.
Supporters and critics alike have long urged Pavlik to ditch Loew and replace him with a more decorated trainer.
However, Pavlik has insisted that Loew is the only man he wants to work with.
On a potentially positive note, Pavlik has chosen to vacate Youngstown and the distractions that come with being a local celebrity residing there.
“I will be heading out of town to train,” Pavlik said. “People say a lot of things about me [in Youngstown]. I don’t need that. After camp I’ll come back and live my life.” There are a lot of distractions [in Youngstown],” Pavlik said. “A lot of negativity. When you are down, people like to keep you down. I don’t need that, especially in training camp.”
Roger “Pitt” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brother’s Boxing and Training.
“I hate to say it, because I like him as a fighter,” said Perron, 75, who worked with the legendary Marvelous Marvin Hagler. “But, I think Kelly’s done.”
Perhaps a new surrounding without “a lot of negativity” will be ideal for Pavlik.
Unfortunately, like Perron, “I think Kelly’s done.”
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