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More than one victory

Pavlik’s win may not silence his doubters, but on Saturday he won in more than just the ring

May 8, 2011
By B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor ( , Salem News

Kelly Pavlik was hoping he could vault his way back into the hearts of boxing fans with one big punch.

The story would've written itself if he had, and a little part of all of Pavlik's supporters wanted so badly for that to be the case.

But like many things recently in the world of "The Ghost," things didn't work out quite that easy.

Pavlik won a majority decision over previously unbeaten Alfonzo Lopez Saturday night. He himself gave his performance a five out of 10, and that's about where most boxing analysts would put it, too.

But the most important story was simply the fact that Pavlik was back in the ring, and the Mahoning Valley was excited again.

He looked rusty, his timing was off, but it was still Kelly Pavlik fighting on a huge boxing show in the Fight Capital of the World.

Any place in the area that broadcasted the fight was mobbed, putting to rest any doubt that "The Ghost" still doesn't have loads of ardent followers in and around his hometown.

He certainly showed he could still take a punch even at a higher weight class, as he took a few solid shots from Lopez and didn't ever looked too concerned. People questioned his stamina at 170 pounds, but it was Pavlik that had Lopez on the ropes in the fight's final moments. Another round and Pavlik could have very easily gotten the win by knockout. He wasn't winded, he wasn't backing up. For all his timing issues and ring rust, he was arguably in the best shape he's been since he was a middleweight champion.

Lopez' claims that the fight should've been a draw were rather unfounded. Even sloppy, Pavlik won the fight, winning essentially all but the first few rounds.

His critics will still criticize. What else are they going to do?

For more than a year out of the ring, Pavlik still dominated and notched another win likely setting up a title shot down the line at super middleweight against Lucian Bute should Bute win a July 9 fight that is in the making.

In the downtime, Pavlik and trainer Jack Loew have set up a boxing production company as revealed to the Salem News back in March. Their first show will likely be in June and if they get all the fighters they mentioned (Jake Giuriceo, Billy Lyell, Dannie Williams and Chris Hazimihalis), it would be a huge showcase for local boxing talent.

While he waits for his next opponent there's really only one piece of advice this column will direct Pavlik's way.

Don't respond to criticism. Not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not to any media outlet, not to anyone. Keep training and keep swinging.

Like all fighters, Pavlik will always have his doubters and haters. If he ignores them and simply does his thing and lets the pieces fall where they may, regardless of the outcome of his fights, he'll have won.

He already took a giant step Saturday night as Loew said, by simply stepping into the ring again.

He doesn't have anything to prove to anyone. But his fans sure love it when he does.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at



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