Boxing


Kelly Pavlik: “There is definitely no way that I would be afraid to fight Paul Williams”

by Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s 96th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former unified middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) who is scheduled to face Bryan Vera (17-5, 11 KOs) on November 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Pavlik talked about his upcoming fight, spoke about his career, and provided his views on the current boxing landscape. Here is some of what Pavlik had to say during that interview.

On training and preparations for his November 13 fight against Bryan Vera:

“Things are going really good. We’re up in California, PA training and everything’s going as planned right now. I feel great. The weight’s very good and it’s just been nothing but boxing.”

His views on the fact that the Vera fight will take place at a catch weight of 164 pounds:

“Well right now we’re still waiting to see what opens up after the fight. Obviously we have to take it one fight at a time, but we just want to keep the weight in the middle right in between right now.”

His views on his opponent Bryan Vera as a fighter:

“He’s a tough kid, a game fighter. I know he’s definitely coming to fight, but to me he throws a lot of wild punches. He goes for the homerun, but he leaves himself wide open a lot, too. That chin comes in the air with every one of his big punches and that’s something we’re going to expose.”

On what he plans to do in order to spoil Vera’s attempt at another upset victory:

“Right now with the training that we’re doing we got a lot of sparring partners that got the same style that he has, but the main thing is not to get caught up in his game. I think with my hand speed and straight punches down the middle, it’s going to be the big difference in the fight.”

His views on what went wrong in his last fight when he lost the middleweight title against Sergio Martinez:

“I think the weight had a lot to do with it in that fight. In the middle rounds we were outboxing him and beating him, and we just hit a wall in the eighth round. The way we got the weight down and the amount of weight that I was over before the fight a couple of days before the weigh-in probably is what made me go through all of that. So I think that played a big part in it.”

On whether he is interested in facing Lucian Bute at 166 pounds if he is successful against Vera:

“You know what, right now yeah. My goal is to go in first and take care of Bryan Vera, and then afterwards we’ll see what opens up. They’re throwing Bute out there, and there also could still be a title shot at 160 again. The only way I’ll go back to 160, though, is if we get the best nutritionist, you know a guy that does boxing, works with fighters, and that would be the only way for me to go back to 160. But if they say, ‘You know what, you could be healthy and we can get you on the right diet’ that’s still a possibility. So right now, we’ll see what opens up and what big fights are out there.”

On what he learned when he suffered his first professional defeat against Bernard Hopkins two years ago:

“You know what, you just got to learn how to bounce back. That’s the main thing. You can’t let it ruin everything that you’re doing. You can’t live off of it. I think what it really shows is how you come back. That’s the biggest thing right now. You can’t let that keep you down for the rest of your career. You know all great fighters lose, and one thing that we have to do is just move on and go from there on that.”

On whether Hopkins brought more to the table than he was expecting given his age and his prior performance against Joe Calzaghe:

“He might have and he could have been on top of his game that night, but one thing I could say is that wasn’t Kelly Pavlik the night of that fight. There’s nothing you can do about it. You got to just suck it up and move on. To have a bad night like that against a guy like Hopkins is just bad luck, and that’s the only thing I took from that fight was just how to take a loss and move on from that and get back on track.”

His views on the upcoming fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal:

“I think it should be entertaining. It depends on which Bernard shows up. I think he still has it. He’s still crafty, but it could be an entertaining fight. It really could.”

On whether he thinks Hopkins has a good chance to beat Pascal:

“I think he has a good chance. He’s still crafty. Pascal’s a tough fighter, but I just think Hopkins might have a little bit too much experience. He’s been in there. It’s hard to tell. I really haven’t seen too much of Pascal. I mean I’ve seen one or two fights, but I don’t think he’s really that big of a threat.”

On whether he is working on any specific training techniques to improve the way he deals with movement and angles:

“Yeah, it’s definitely something that you do work on. Going back again, even with Martinez like I said before, if you watch the fight in the middle rounds he was doing the movement but I was frustrating him. I was countering everything he was doing. I was coming over the top of his jab and countering him. So to a point, yeah anybody could struggle with movers and look bad against people that move a lot, but I wouldn’t say that’s something that I have to work on 100%. I showed in the middle rounds that I can outbox Martinez. The only bad thing is I just hit that wall in the eighth round and he picked it up.”

His views on the rematch between Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams:

“I think Sergio will take it. For the last fight when I watched Paul Williams fight he didn’t look that good at all. The way that fight was going he could have had some trouble later in the middle rounds of that fight, but it could be an interesting fight. I think Sergio will probably pull it out.”

On whether he is interested in potentially facing the winner of the Martinez-Williams rematch if he beats Vera and the opportunity presents itself:

“Yeah, absolutely it does. Right now that’s another plan right there. We’re just going to see what opens up and what big fights are out there. They’re mentioning Bute, that’s one fight, and maybe any title at 160, the IBF, or the winner of Martinez-Williams. So we’ll see what’s out there right now and we’ll see how things unfold after this fight.”

On why his scheduled fights against Paul Williams never materialized:

“Well first of all, with Paul Williams on that, the reason why I fought Bernard Hopkins was because Paul Williams pulled out. He had pulled out of that fight and we wanted to fight him, so that’s when we ended up fighting Bernard Hopkins. Then unfortunately with the staph infection, it was even in the Ring Magazine. They took a picture of the hand. There was nothing I could do about that. I couldn’t fight having the staph infection. We never pulled out of the fight with Paul Williams and he went on to tell everybody I was afraid to fight him, and in all reality he was the one who pulled out the first time we were supposed to fight. He pulled out because he said the money wasn’t right and they wanted this ridiculous amount of money. Everything else that they did they kind of made it to where the fight wasn’t going to happen. That was the whole situation with Paul Williams. Believe me I wasn’t afraid to fight Paul Williams. I jumped up two weight classes to fight Bernard Hopkins at light heavyweight. So if I did that, there is definitely no way that I would be afraid to fight Paul Williams.”

His views on his eighth round knockout victory against Jose Luis Zertuche:

“Zertuche when I fought him, he was still a very dangerous fighter. He hits really hard and that was my first fight on HBO, and it was kind of like my breaking through point in 2007. It was a war for the early rounds, but I just got to him in the middle of the fight and I wore just him down pretty good. That was a tough fight for awhile.”

His views on his upset seventh round technical knockout victory against the Edison Miranda:

“You know that fight right there, we knew that he was a dangerous fighter and that he hit really, really hard. He threw a lot of dangerous punches and the thing is you don’t want to try and box Edison Miranda because you can get caught. He was moving and a lot of things could happen. I noticed Miranda had a hard time fighting going backwards. So our game plan was just to go in there and push him back, and once he went backwards he lost a lot of his power.”

On how he survived and overcame the knockdown he suffered in round two of his fight against middleweight champion Jermain Taylor:

“The only thing I could think of when that happened, it was an equilibrium shot. I was there mentally but my legs went and the only thing I could remember was saying I worked too hard to go out like this. If I’m going to lose it’s going to be by somebody who’s judging it. All the hard training we did came into play, so it took a lot of heart. We worked too hard to go out in the second round.”

On how he felt in overcoming adversity to beat Jermain Taylor and capture the middleweight championship:

“It was awesome. With the support and everybody showing up, everybody had a great time there. It was a huge for them and it made a big difference. It helps when you got a lot of your fans there and people that are supporting you and cheering you on, and that was another thing that helped, too, there with that knockdown.”

On his decision to stick with head trainer Jack Loew:

“We spent all these years together. We won national tournaments, we went to the Olympic Trials, and we won the world title. With those fights, it was just bad luck with them two fights and the two losses. There’s not much else we really could have done.”

On his decision to move his training camp from Youngstown, Ohio to California, Pennsylvania this time around:

“It was just to get more into boxing and focus more on that. Some of the distractions back home, when you’re at home training you’re always going to have distractions. People wanting you to do this, do that, make that appearance, or tickets to the fight, or something. So this time it was more or less we just wanted to get ready for the fight with Bryan Vera and just focus on him. We’re still only two hours away, too, so it’s not like we’re that far out.”

His views on the Siuper Six super middleweight tournament:

“It’s a good tournament. It really is, but hopefully it keeps going through. I mean a lot of people are pulling out or dropping out of it, but it’s really competitive. There’s a lot of good fighters in there going back and forth going at each other. It’s pretty good for boxing. I just got to hope that it stays going.”

His views on Manny Pacquiao as a fighter and what he thinks about his upcoming fight against Antonio Margarito:

“I think Manny Pacquiao’s a great fighter, obviously. I mean he’s shown it. He’s in there meeting a lot of big fighters, moving up in weight, too. I think he’s definitely going to have a tough one this time in front of him with Margarito. Margarito’s big and he’s not as slow as people think he is and he’s not going to be like Clottey. He’s going to fight back, so it could be a real good fight.”

His views on critics who claim he is a less effective fighter when he ventures north of the 160 pound weight limit:

“You know, I don’t understand it. We fought Jermain Taylor in the rematch and I outboxed him and it was at 166. The only other fight I fought above 160 was with Hopkins, and it was just a bad fight.”

On whether he believes he can have the same success at super middleweight as he had at middleweight:

“Yeah, definitely! Like I said before, a lot of people are mentioning that and I just don’t know where they’re coming from on that, because like I said, I only fought twice above it. I beat Taylor in the second fight, and then the second fight I had above 160 was with Hopkins which was actually two weight classes above.”

On whether he believes Bryan Vera could land the type of shots against him that he was landing against Andy Lee in his upset victory:

“You know what, he landed some big shots against Andy Lee. I’m not taking anything from Vera in that fight, but he did fight Andy Lee. It’s going to be a little different fighting me. He’s going to have to worry about the big shots that are hitting him.”

***




For those interested in listening to the Kelly Pavlik interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and four minutes into the program.

***

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Article posted on 21.10.2010



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