Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pavlik and Loew Taking Espino Seriously

Trainer Jack Loew (left) and middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik pictured Tuesday at the Southside Boxing Club in Youngsown, Ohio.

Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and his trainer Jack Loew are glad to be returning to the competitive mix and both are eagerly looking forward to putting the events of the past several months behind them. Pavlik will defend his WBC and WBO 160-pound titles against Miguel Espino on Dec. 19 in their hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.

Pavlik conducted an open-workout Tuesday at Loew's new Southside Boxing Club in Youngstown. He and Loew are hoping that the staph infection to Pavlik's left hand has finally healed.

“I'm excited for the fans in Youngstown and for the fans in the boxing world that were out there saying stuff and had their doubts,” Pavlik told “I think it's huge that we're able to come back this year. We're pretty much guaranteed to fight now, but the whole thing was the hand wasn't one hundred percent and we had no choice.”

Pavlik, 35-1, 31 KOs, has been sidelined for several months with the infection. He claims his hand is still not back to normal, but that it is good enough for him to meet Espino, 20-2-1, 9 KOs, a former participant on “The Contender” reality show. Pavlik indicated that he is still icing his hand after workouts and is also undergoing physical therapy to regain flexibility. His left index finger is still problematic when he makes a fist.

Loew, like all good trainers, never underestimates the competition. Espino is a massive underdog, but Loew can see his strengths.

“I've seen him fight on 'The Contender' years ago and I saw him fight at the Playboy Mansion one time,” said Loew. “Espino is one of those guys that's busy...a guy with a lot of heart and a lot of balls and he's in your face. He likes to fight, he throws a lot of punches.”

In 10 days, Kelly Pavlik (left) and Miguel Espino will lock horns for the middleweight championship of the world.

Pavlik spent only five weeks in training camp as the bout with Espino was hastily arranged after the sanctioning organizations threatened to strip him of his title belts if he did not fight this month.

Pavlik is still chipping away at 10-months worth of accumulated ring rust since he last appeared in a boxing ring. He sparred eight rounds on Tuesday and claims he is scheduled to go ten rounds on Thursday.

Pavlik and Loew moved their training camp to Las Vegas for several weeks in an effort to escape some of the distractions of their hometown. While most boxing observers do not believe Espino stands any chance, Loew views him through a different prism.

“Espino is a very well-conditioned athlete,” he says. “For him it's the chance of a lifetime. He's been struggling and fighting and now he gets a big opportunity to fight for the middleweight championship of the world. Because of that, he's going to come with his A-game which means that Kelly has to be ready and he will be.”

December 2009

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