LAS VEGAS -- Last month, reports surfaced that former lineal middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, whose career has stalled due to myriad issues the last two years, was prepared to leave long-time trainer Jack Loew and try and rekindle his failing career in Southern California under veteran trainer Robert Garcia.
While most applauded the decision, many were wary that Pavlik would not follow through. Pavlik has long resisted the push for him to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio in the past and in interviews as recently as last month has said he would not leave Loew, who has trained Pavlik since he was nine years old.
Have things changed? Maybe. In a recent interview with Ring magazine, Pavlik said he was planning to sit down and talk to Loew, though he did not go as far as to say he was ready to change trainers. On Wednesday, Pavlik's manager, Cameron Dunkin, said Pavlik would be changing trainers and that Dunkin, Pavlik and members of his family planned to visit the Oxnard, California area -- where Garcia's gym is located -- in the next week or two to look for houses.
Pavlik's promoter, Bob Arum, remains skeptical.
"The kid can't get himself to do it," Arum said. "The more I force him, the more Cameron forces him, the less likely he is to do it. I'm waiting for him to call us and say I'm ready to do it, I'm getting on a plane and getting out there."
"But he won't do that," Arum continued. "One day it's 'Yeah, I'm coming.' The next day it's 'well I don't know about leaving Youngstown.' He doesn't listen to anyone. His father wants him to leave. It's all [messed] up. Cameron is being honest with us when he says 'don't spend a nickel' on him. I've offered to rent him a house. It's sad. I don't know what to do. I'm at my wits end. People say get him a psychologist. But he's the kind of guy that will say nothing is wrong with me mentally, I don't need any mental help. So we'll see."
While Pavlik remains under contract with Top Rank, Arum said he was open to letting Pavlik out of his deal if he thought it would kickstart his career.
"If he came to me and said 'Bob, I want to continue my boxing career but here is the way I want to do it. I want Lou DiBella to handle me in New York,' we would consider it," Arum said. "If there is an alternative that made sense, we would definitely consider it. But he hasn't done that. It's the same old, same old."
-- Chris Mannix