April 23, 2011

The Comeback of Kelly Pavlik


Former Undisputed Middleweight Champion Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik took a break from training on Friday to address the media via international conference call in promotion of his upcoming comeback fight. Pavlik (36-2 w/ 32 KO's) is scheduled to face the undefeated Alfonzo Lopez (21-0 w/ 16 KO's) on the undercard of the the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley Showtime Pay Per View card scheduled for May 7th in Las Vegas.

This fight will be Pavlik's first since losing the Middleweight Championship of the World to Sergio Martinez last year and also his first at super middlweight. Pavlik has made the move to super middleweight because of the difficulty he was having in making the middleweight limit of 160 lbs. Is Pavlik at all concerned about his power carrying up to the super middleweight division? "I see my power at 168 being better than 160." Pavlik also spoke a great deal about the recent out of the ring adversity he has faced in his quest to overcome alcoholism as well as a dangerous staph infection. Pavlik checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic in California last year and reports that he is now healthy; doing well in recovery as well as in training, "I haven't had this much energy for a fight in a long time. I'm a lot more mature now in all aspects of life. I can see the big picture and I can do things in the gym now that I couldn't do before."

Pavlik understands that he must win his comeback fight if he wants to get back to the big time and fight the big names at super middleweight.

"This is one of the most important fights of my career. I have to win and look good, that's why we're taking it so seriously."

KO Digest asked Kelly Pavlik about his recovery from alcoholism, a potential rematch with Sergio Martinez at super middlweight, and his thoughts on the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight. 

KO Digest: Hi Kelly, welcome back to boxing and congratulations on your recovery.

Kelly Pavlik: Thank you.

KO Digest: What is your sobriety date? How much clean and sober time do you have?

Kelly Pavlik: November 1st or 2nd of last year.

KO Digest: Any relapses or slips?

Kelly Pavlik: No or I'm sure you guys would have heard about it. No issues with that. No concerns to me right now. That's the least thing on my mind. There's so many more things out there. Everything is going better than it ever has and it would just take a bonehead to go out there and blow any situation or opportunity that I have right now.

KO Digest: Did anything in your previous boxing experience help you or in any way prepare you for rehab, sobriety, and recovery?

Kelly Pavlik: There's a lot that helps, the mental strength to get through things. As far as me, I knew going in - and I gotta be careful how I say this - some people say, well I'm not this or that type of alcoholic. There are no certain types of alcoholics, but in my opinion there are different stages of alcoholism and I think that I treated mine at an early stage. It didn't come to the point of where it was like I couldn't function without alcohol, it just came to a point where I got in that party mode and it just kept escalating. When things didn't go my way, and I got mad, drinking was my way to keep doing what I was doing, and that's exactly what happened. It was good to bite it in the ass before it escalated to a point of where things started going bad, to where I started losing my money, my house, or my family. Unfortunately, that's one of the horrible consequences that comes with addiction. I didn't want it to get that far. I worked so hard in my life to get what I have now and I didn't want it to get out of control to that point.

KO Digest: Did you or have you found any similarities between recovery and boxing, any common ground between those two endeavors?

Kelly Pavlik: Alcohol is the last thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning. It hasn't put an effect on my life like boxing has. Boxing has been my career, my lifeline, my support, food in my kid's mouths, a roof over my head, so boxing is an everyday thing in my life and has been since I was 9 years old. Alcohol isn't. I don't wake up thinking I gotta drink 9 beers before I go do this, to where I wake up now and  say I gotta run 3 miles today. The difference between boxing and the drinking, the one thing I can say, there is no similarity. What I do is just wake up and keep myself busy throughout the day and I go about my business. There's no temptation. Of course once in a great moon, you know like an Ohio State football game, where you say man I wish I could go to the bar with my buddies and have a beer, that's always gonna happen, that's inevitable but as far as thinking about it one time a day, everyday of my life, it's not a concern.

KO Digest: Care to make a prediction on Manny Pacquiao vs Shane Mosley?

Kelly Pavlik: I never make predictions on fights because it's too hard with boxing. It's one of those fights where if Mosley's power and speed is still there at his age, the fight could easily be over if he catches Pacquiao. But overall I think the longer the fight goes, I just think it's totally in Pacquiao's favor; his punch output, his energy level, and plus his hand speed and how he just busts fighters up is unbelievable and I think it will be a late round stoppage for Pacquiao.

KO Digest: Are you officially done at middlweight and if so, are you interested in a rematch with Sergio Martinez at 168?

Kelly Pavlik: Yes. Yes I would and as far as 168, unless you go find somebody to cut a limb off me and I can still perform the way I do now, that's the only way I'll go back to 160. But definitely we are at 168 and that would be a good fight. Of course not in my favor if that ever happens, they would say Martinez is not even a big middlweight, that it's stupid for him, all the bad that will come with that. You know for me, for my own personal sake, I would love it.