The rebuilding of Kelly Pavlik – A fan’s perspective

By Chris Kelly: On his way up the rankings Kelly ‘The Ghost” Pavlik was a promoters dream; a rangy white middleweight with a concrete chin, an inexhaustible work rate and genuine pop in both hands. He seemed to handle both bangers and boxers alike, and the truck size holes in his defence only added an entertainment X factor that took him all the way to a 160 pound title victory over Jermain Taylor.

Perhaps we fanatical supporters got carried away. After all, one more solid shot from Taylor in the second round and Pavlik would most likely have been relegated to flash in the pan status.

But despite his struggling in the Taylor re-match, we went into the Hopkins bout full of confidence and the wholehearted belief that this was a mismatch.

And we were right; just not the way we expected we’d be.

If ever there was a one sided fight this was it. Obvious and brutal. And it wasn’t just the beat down; it was the fact that Kelly was completely bamboozled, that before our eyes we saw not only his body but his spirit, systematically exposed and broken down.

Even the Executioner recognised the damage that such domination can do to a fighter. Who could forget Hopkins’ post fight plea to a dazed and confused Pavlik not to let the fight destroy him?

Unfortunately, B-Hop’s fear seems to have been realised. Despite being triumphant in his next two outings the Youngstown hero was not the same fighter, and when faced with Sergio Martinez’s relentless angles and in & out attacks he had the same bewildered, and some would say defeated, expression we saw against Hopkins.

For Pavlik to “comeback” he needs to part company with Jack Lowe. As an outsider it’s impossible to know what Lowe is like in the gym or when in camp, but his between rounds instructions are as asinine as they are repetitive. Your heart almost breaks when a battered and incredulous Pavlik looks to his coach for salvation and the best he can offer is “double up your jab”

The obvious choice of a replacement coach would be Manny Steward. The Pavlik weapons of long jab and powerful right hand could only be improved under the guidance of Steward.

But as much as Pavlik needs work on his boxing it’s his spirit that needs rebuilding. What Pavlik needs is a shaman. Who Pavlik needs is Brother Nazim Richardson.

Who better than the man who helped engineer the voodoo that brought the Ghost down?

Richardson has sound boxing fundamentals, a strategic eye and a great turn of between round phrase (“swim through water without getting wet”).

Coupled with the spiritual element he seems to bring to his camp he may just have the technology to rebuild Pavlik, to make him better than he was – better, stronger and faster!

Article posted on 05.01.2011

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