By Scoop Malinowski
Scoop Malinowski: Hi Kelly. It’s great to see you here (at Madison Square Garden at Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux press conference). I still remember running over to you right after the face off with Taylor at the final New York City press conference and asking you what you saw in Taylor’s eyes and you said “I don’t see any confidence.” When did you realize you were going to win the Middleweight title from Taylor What was the turning point of the fight with Taylor?
Kelly Pavlik: “After the second round. When I came out after he hit me and wasted all that energy and tried everything possible to hurt me. And then I came out in the third and threw 98 punches and just kept coming. I was relentless. Right there – that beginning 30 seconds of that third round. His confidence came out of him – his body motions, the look in his eyes, everything. He was just zapped.”
Question: Was that the best performance of your career? Or was it the Edison Miranda fight?
Kelly Pavlik: “I think it was Miranda. It was all out war. Nobody backed Miranda up at that time, 2007, Miranda was the most feared guy in boxing. Actually I was telling everybody I was going to walk him down. Nobody believed me. And I said I was gonna beat him up. And I did that. But that fight, I came in, I was a steady target for him also. And then my handspeed was a little slower because I was, you know, (throwing) power shots. I think in the Taylor fight we went back to boxing. If you really watch it and take the commentary off, my jab was faster than Jermain Taylor’s. In the fifth, sixth round I was outjabbing him. And the handspeed was good to land the combos that I did.”
Question: Were you one of those guys that was unbelievably impressive in winning the world title, like Ricardo Mayorga or Buster Douglas, and then just couldn’t get the same drive, dedication and inspiration after you won the title?
Kelly Pavlik: “No. After we won the title we fought some good people, we did good. The Paul Williams fight fell apart and he was coming up from welterweight. And people said I was afraid to fight him. But in Sports Illustrated, it showed the staph infection. It was well-documented that I was really sick from that. And so that fight fell through. There was no big fights out there so I jumped two weight classes up to fight a living legend in Bernard Hopkins. I sparred only a handful of times in camp before that fight. I never made excuses for it, I still don’t, I learned a lot.”
“And then I turned back around and I fought Rubio who is still giving people fits. And was the first one to beat David Lemieux. So (he) was 25-0, 25 knockouts and I literally knocked him around the ring after that for nine rounds. And then the (Sergio) Martinez fight – well-documented, my weight problems. Even though Larry Merchant and Lampley stated how many treadmills were in my room, and stationary bikes, to make weight.”
“As you see in that fight, middle rounds, and I was ahead on the scorecards. I had figured him out. The ninth round I hit a wall. Everybody blames it on the cut. The cut was so bad from the dehydration but no matter if I got cut or not, he would’ve done the same thing. I was real lethargic in that ninth round. And that came from struggling to make weight the way I did. And again, you can see, the middle rounds, how I turned that fight. And then after that, how I was just quicksand.”
“But hey, you know what? Two losses to two great fighters. I went on to win four fights after that and I retired 40-2 with 34 knockouts. And just there were no more fights out there. We had the one with Andre Ward. He ended up getting hurt. And all the other fights were tied up at middleweight and super middleweight. And I lost a little at that point.”
Question: Do you miss competing?
Kelly Pavlik: “A little bit. But I moved on. We have a podcast now, the Punchline with Kelly Pavlik and James Dominguez, I’m here actually covering the fights. We’ve been doing this for some time now. I’ve been busy since I’ve retired. That’s why I haven’t had to throw a punch or punch a time clock or get hit anymore. And I’m actually getting ready to open up a boxing gym in about April. A real nice one. We’re thinking of the name right now, Belts, something like that. Have a catchy name. It will be kind of a crossover for other sports, for training, for strength, cardio. And then, of course, my big part is going to be the boxing part of it.”