Media Interview with Kelly Pavlik, Bob Arum, & Robert Garcia
BOB ARUM: Kelly’s opponent, Will Rosinsky, arrives in the LA area on Saturday and of course Kelly Pavlik – this will be his third fight since returning to action. Kelly is on his way to a title shot later this year if he is successful on July 7 at The Home Depot Center. We look for another terrific fight from Kelly and we are very happy to be a part of the project of bringing Kelly back to a world title.
ROBERT GARCIA: Everything is going well. Kelly has been doing everything that he has been told to do. He took a week off after his last fight then came back into the gym to prepare for this fight. He just kept going and nothing has changed. His power is there. Fighting at 168 is a lot easier for him to make weight. After that week off he weighed 172 so he only needed to take off four pounds. He’s in great spirits and coming back to win another title.
CAMERON DUNKIN: I am really excited about Kelly and I know Bob and Todd are too. I know there are some things Kelly wants to accomplish on this comeback, and we do call it a comeback because of all the changes that he made. I am a little nervous about this fight because it was such a quick turnaround [two televised fights in four weeks] but we’ve got no doubt the best trainer in the world in Robert Garcia is taking care of it and taking care of Nonito [Donaire] so I look for a real fun night. I am really looking forward to this show – it’s a great show.
KELLY PAVLIK: I am feeling really good in camp right now and there was no hesitation in coming back so soon. This is a golden opportunity for me to be back on HBO and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I was off for a week and a half so I was still in very good shape. This kid is a good fighter – a very game fighter and he’s going to come to fight. He’s coming off a fight so he is ready too. People are going to see the best of me come out that night. We are still over a week out but there are still things we are fine-tuning right now. I feel really good in camp – clear-headed and ready to go.
KELLY PAVLIK: I have been watching a little bit of film on Rosinsky. Bits and pieces every night I am watching and he is a game fighter. He’s not overly fast be he isn’t slow. He’s not overly powerful but he doesn’t hit weak. He’s in good shape. He comes to fight and he’ll mix it up. Sometimes he tries to come in on the inside and take his opponent out. There are a lot of things I’m picking up on.
How important is it to you to win a world title?
KELLY PAVLIK: It is very important. It is my goal right now. For me and the people that didn’t believe, it is definitely a goal. I am hungry for it. The move out here to Oxnard was the best move I could make. I didn’t think I was ever going to get this opportunity again if I stayed back home training. We had to make that move. I’m glad I did and this is our golden opportunity right now.
Are you living in Oxnard right now?
KELLY PAVLIK: Well, the way it’s been going with all these fights I guess you could say that. I am not living here, living here. I still live at home but I am out here training a lot.
How has your personal life been going?
KELLY PAVLIK: Like I tell everyone, I live my life. I do what keeps me happy and that’s what matters. Whatever keeps me happy in my personal life is the thing and that is the motto that I follow and that I’m always going to follow. And I am happy right now. I have been coming out here to train and that has been going phenomenal. I isolate myself, mentally and physically out here and it helps also in my home life too. It keeps me grounded and keeps me going forward.
Are you 100% sober right now?
KELLY PAVLIK: Right now I am in training. You see people mentioning the last couple incidents, but that is a three-year-old question. I will talk about my fight coming up and the opponent I am fighting.
Where do you see Kelly now and what he needs to do to get back to the ’08 level?
BOB ARUM: He was on a roll in those days and it was one success after another. We hope to replicate that now. Let’s see how he does in this fight – we expect him to do well and then we are going to step him up to a much bigger fight in his next fight in the fall. But it’s one step at a time.
CAMERON DUNKIN: I agree, just take one fight at a time. This presented itself and it really showed me a lot about Kelly and his character. He jumped right on this fight in five minutes. There wasn’t even a question whether he wanted this fight. It’s just the drive he has in him and how much he wants this again and that was just like the old Kelly. Kelly would just say to me ‘make the fight, make the fight,’ whoever it was. ‘Let’s go and I’ll take care of it.’ He showed that same attitude in this and he’s been so dedicated and done so well. Of course he’s got a great trainer and great training and it’s one step at a time. Let me tell you, his skills are better than they’ve ever been. The stuff he does with his jab now and his hands are up. I just see so many basic things that he is doing now that he’s never done in his career. I look to see a great Kelly Pavlik again – as good as or better than the first one so that is what I’m looking forward to.
KELLY PAVLIK: It was definitely important (to come out to Oxnard to train). I am not here to knock anybody or anything like that but I wasn’t going any further where I was. We had a meeting in New York with Bob and Cameron and we had this conversation and a move had to happen and it was very important. I am learning, hungry and rejuvenated to get back into it. You can never quit learning in this sport and I’m learning again and that’s very important. On the personal part, when I get out here I don’t have any distractions or headaches. I am able to focus on what I’m here to do and that’s been very important.
What have you learned from Robert?
KELLY PAVLIK: I knew I had a left hand my whole entire career but I learned I could use it now. That’s what we work on a lot, even on the mitts. A three-piece or four-piece combo – and it’s repetitious. It’s not once or twice in that round and you’re done. Your body gets in that habit – the motor reflex of throwing that combo. And counters that we are working on. Robert reminds me constantly about them. Being a tall fighter, I never threw too many uppercuts and people don’t expect uppercuts from tall fighters and that’s another thing we’ve been working on a lot. Bending your body, turning your hips and throwing the uppercut. There are so many different things – on the inside – the jabs – it’s hard to explain but the biggest thing is that it’s always repetitious. We don’t just do something then forget about it, we work on it round after round.
You looked tired after the 4th or 5th round last fight…
KELLY PAVLIK: I wasn’t tired. I was having a little bit of fun in that fight with Sigmund. I kind of made it look that way and that was my fault. Robert kept telling me ‘keep your distance, keep your distance.’ If he had some power to threaten me or keep me on my toes I wouldn’t have fought that way. But he didn’t have anything and I was enjoying what I was doing in there.
Why are you coming back so quickly?
KELLY PAVLIK: Because I was give a golden opportunity – to be on HBO again. You’ve got to make that move for my career. HBO, the major network, I make it to that next level it’s a step I have to take. It’s on short notice only because I fought two weeks ago.
Did you notice fatigue in the gym coming back so soon?
KELLY PAVLIK: No I haven’t. The first day was a little tough but I had just flown in and it was my first day in the gym. The other day we sparred eight strong rounds and no problem. I am going to spar today, probably 10 rounds. I have been feeling great. Working like a mule.
BOB ARUM: Kelly is a throwback. In the old days, fighters used to fight often. Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta fought twice in a 10-day period and they fought three times in a 30-day period. Guys that are now fighting twice a year aren’t doing themselves any favors.
KELLY PAVLIK: The other guy is coming back in the same time so you have to ask him those same questions.
How did you feel as the fight went on against Sigmund?
KELLY PAVLIK: My body punches were right on and the right hands, heck, I even turned southpaw in that fight and landed a few straight left hands. The timing is there. The rust is off. The rust was off after the [Aaron] Jaco fight because of all the rounds I was sparring. Back home I never sparred that many rounds in my life. I am in there with top-notch guys so I have to be on top of my game and the sharpness has to be there.
KELLY PAVLIK: I am ready for the big fight now. I have been pro for 12 years now. I have been in the ring with Taylor twice and Hopkins and Miranda and Martinez – we’ve got our fights in and it has to be after this fight the big fights. On July 7 we have a game kid in front of us so I can’t even think about that right now. We’ve got to take care of business Saturday or we won’t be worrying about any of that.
Who would you like to fight if you had your pick?
KELLY PAVLIK: I would like to fight Carl Froch. That weight class is loaded no matter which way you go. Any big fight at this stage. Whatever opens up – whatever opportunity presents itself, whatever sanctioning body, it doesn’t matter. Some of those heated words and some of the things Froch has said to me before hurt a little bit. I would like to fight Bute also. Any of those guys I will fight. These guys can sign on to fight someone else and it could be five months from now.
BOB ARUM: Kelly should be a promoter when he retires because what he is saying is absolutely true. We’re looking for a big fight. HBO wants him in the fall in a big fight. The question then is who is available and it’s all the usual suspects. We’ll see what the best opportunity is and if Kelly is successful on July 7 and looks good then it’s on to a big fight.
What were your impressions of his last two fights?
BOB ARUM: I was really enthused with the Sigmund fight because he threw a tremendous amount of punches and he looked like everything had come back and I thought the kid he fought gave him a real workout now this is another step forward on July 7 and hopefully he passes that test and then we’re on to big things.
You haven’t fought two fights this close together since early in your career…
KELLY PAVLIK: Let me interject, I don’t think I have fought two fights this close together at any time in my career. We came out of the last fight healthy. There were no bad hands, no sore hands, so cuts no bruises – I’m healthy. We took a week off, so we’re still fit. It goes back to Rosinsky; he is doing the same thing and even a shorter period than I am. So I don’t have any problem with it. We’re out here training. If my hands were sore or tender I would have thought maybe I shouldn’t take this fight but I was healthy and I’m ready to go.
Do you know anything about Rosinsky?
KELLY PAVLIK: He’s really tough, man, and he’s tough competition. He has a better resume than Sigmund. He’s a strong fighter and he comes to fight. He is serious too, he took this fight also.
Do you think you have changed some of your doubters?
KELLY PAVLIK: I think so. If not, oh well. No matter what happens there will still be doubters, but it goes to show – I am taking this serious. I am here to prove a point – to show that I am taking it serious.
How was the atmosphere when you went to Oxnard?
KELLY PAVLIK: Everybody at the gym was very welcoming. After the first day I felt comfortable like I trained there for five years. The hunger was there when I made the move to go to California. But working with Robert and learning again made me hungry again. It made me want to keep boxing and fight harder. It was easy to get along.
ROBERT GARCIA: When he first came to us we sat down and talked. He was going to be the only white guy in my gym and thought it would make it harder but it was really easy. He found himself at home and we made him do that. We gave him the same treatment and everything went well. Cameron told me a little about him. He came in and became friends with everyone and everyone is friendly towards him. It has worked out really well.
Do you want to box more instead of a being big puncher?
KELLY PAVLIK: The boxing is going to have to be there. After 40 fights and being in there I knew what I could get away with in the Sigmund fight. Boxing is going to have to come into play. Even though I picked off all the shots, no one wants to stand there and take a chance of getting a head butt or an elbow or getting hit with anything. Boxing is not out the window at all – it was just with Sigmund and that fight.
CAMERON DUNKIN: So many more skills than he had shown in the past. He was catching his punches and rolling with stuff, moving his head, holding his hands up, working inside. Not every punch was loading up – he just touched him, turned him and beat him down. And he was so calm in there. Then you see Kelly with Jaco and he was a monster just ripping shots. It shows he is becoming so much more of a complete fighter. Robert has him doing so many different things. He’s turned into a really great fighter. I think he can box when he wants to box and move inside and move his head and like he said about the uppercuts; and he doesn’t have to load up on every punch. He can break them down and box. He can also get you out of there with a shot.
Which Super Middleweight impresses you the most?
KELLY PAVLIK: Ward impressed me the most. He won the Super Six hands down and his overall boxing is good. I would love to fight him because he is the man. But he’s got a fight with Dawson right now. Froch I would love to fight. Bute also. There are a lot of opportunities out there and whatever big fight opens up first I am game for.
Right now I am learning and staying active. There are going to be big fights coming up and that’s what I’m here for. I came to Oxnard to train to win a world title. Robert is watching me and telling me certain things to do. He’ll be doing the mitts, and I have to tell you he’s got more balls than I do and he can see how I’m planting my feet. It makes it fun – fixing bad habits and learning new ones. Overall it makes the training atmosphere better.
ROBERT GARCIA: We are basically just getting started. This is out third fight together but we are doing better than I expected. He’d been out for so long and came back and looked as good as he did. In his last fight I think he did better than anyone expected. He is motivated and ready to do what he did a few years ago – HBO, world championships – I am excited to be a part of that — to be there with him when he gets those titles.
BOB ARUM: I want everybody to enjoy the 4th of July and prior to that hope to see you all at Fortune Gym in Los Angeles at Noon on Tuesday for the Media Workouts. It’s going to be a great night under the stars at The Home Depot Center. Really fine fights will be on HBO. Nonito Donaire has a very tough fight with Mathebula who is another 122-pound title-holder. It’s going to be a terrific night – the non-televised undercard is going to be very good. I am really astounded by how well tickets have been selling.
ROBERT GARCIA: People in Southern California are going to enjoy a great show. We are going to have a great show with both of my fighters.
KELLY PAVLIK: Watch and you will see Kelly Pavlik who always give 100% and always puts on a good show.