Interview With Middleweight Contender, Kelly Pavlik - "I Plan On Sticking Around At Middleweight For A While"
23.08.07 - By James Slater: Currently in the middle of preparations for the biggest boxing fight of his life - a fight with world's middleweight king Jermain Taylor on September 29th - Ohio's undefeated twenty-five year old Kelly Pavlik graciously took time out to talk with me earlier this week. Both confident sounding and accommodating, here's what the power-puncher had to say.
Article posted on 24.08.2007
James Slater: I really appreciate you talking with me, Kelly. For my first question, do you feel as though this fight with Jermain Taylor has come at the perfect time for you at age twenty-five?
Kelly Pavlik: Absolutely. I turned pro young, so I figure Iím just entering my prime now. I feel I have a good eight years of my prime ahead of me still.
J.S: Taylor has had his fair share of negative press, with people saying heís a boring fighter. What do you think about those claims?
K.P: Well, styles make fights. His fights with Cory Spinks and Winky Wright were not that exciting for the fans because an orthodox fighter facing a southpaw often produces boring type fights and that's what happened with Taylor. But I think Jermain Taylorís a great fighter, who's been champ for a long time.
J.S: Do you think the fans are ready for a new champion at middleweight to replace Taylor?
K.P: I think so. The fans like a guy who likes to fight and wants to fight. I plan on sticking around at middleweight for quite a while too. I want the other belts. You canít just opt for the big money fights in boxing. You know, thereís always going to be money there anyway. I want to take on the other guys out there as well, not just pick the big money bouts.
J.S: Your last fight, against Edison Miranda, was a great win for you. Do you think that was your best performance so far?
K.P: Actually, my fight before that, with Jose Luis Zertuche of Mexico, was a real dangerous fight. He was a real good fighter, a hard puncher, but I took his best shots. That was a real good win for me. The Miranda fight was really the icing on the cake for me.
J.S: Youíre a very big puncher, are you worried at all about having to go the distance against Taylor if necessary?
K.P: Not at all. I always train to go twelve rounds. My stamina and my pace are both great, I throw more punches than any other middleweight, including Taylor. Taylor throws around fifty or sixty punches a round, whereas I throw over a hundred a round in every one of my fights.
J.S: It sounds like you expect an exciting fight on the 29th?
K.P: I'll fight the same way I always do, so if the fans like the fight, then great. I always bring pressure and throw lots of punches. I donít think any middleweight can match my punch rate. Let's just see how Taylor reacts if he gets tired in the fight, and when he's hit hard the first time.
J.S: Can I talk about your younger days, who were your boxing heroes as a kid, who did you look up to?
K.P: I didn't really look up to any boxers as such, but I kind of admired Ray Mancini and Harry Arroyo, who were world champions from Ohio, were I'm from, of course. One guy I did respect from the past though, was a heavyweight who was not too big, only around 185 pounds, yet just kept coming forwards - that was Rocky Marciano. That's a great heavyweight champion right there.
J.S: How many amateur fights did you have, Kelly?
K.P: I had around fifty amateur fights. I turned pro soon after graduating college, in 2000.
J.S: And you got your nickname of Ghost during that time?
K.P: Yeah, I was real hard to hit cleanly as an amateur and so my brother started calling me the ghost.
J.S: Do you make the 160 pound weight limit ok, for such a tall guy (Six foot, two)?
K.P: Actually, I always have to work very hard to make 160. I'm the biggest middleweight out there. It's never easy, you know? But I always work hard and get down to 160. Eventually I do see me moving up to 168. There will be no shortage of great fights there also. You've got guys like [Mikkel] Kessler and [Joe] Calzaghe up at super-middleweight - their fight in November is a real good match-up. But I want all the belts at middleweight first. I'd like to fight both Felix Sturm and Arthur Abraham.
J.S: You are a very hard puncher, how do you rate your power?
K.P: I do hit hard. When guys see me fight, before they get in the ring with me, they don't really think I hit that hard. But it's deceptive, and as soon as they feel my punches it's like, "whoah, this guy can punch!"
J.S: Will Taylor be able to take your punches?
K.P: We'll see the first time he gets hit around the side of his head. All I'm concentrating on is wining the fight, that's all - and making sure I'm properly prepared to win. That's the way to win a fight, making sure you're in proper condition.
J.S: And how has training gone so far.
K.P: It's gone pretty good. We had a long day in the gym today. I'll start sparring next week. We've got a couple of unbeaten guys coming in, guys that are like 180 pounds and that can hit real hard and throw fast punches. I'm training real hard for this fight, obviously.
J.S: Well, thanks for talking to me. Best of luck for the 29th, may the best man win.
K.P: Okay, thanks for the interview.
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