But sometime just after the national anthem on Saturday, Pavlik said something to trainer, Jack Lowe that couldn't be made out on television.
It is no secret that athletes can have delicate psyches. Baseball players need constant reminders of their adequacy. Constant reinforcements that they are good enough. Baseball's highest paid player, Alex Rodriquez is notorious for his life coaches, spiritual advisers, kabbalah and mind coaches. Fighters are notorious for needing giant entourages to tell them how great they are. But Pavlik has not been one of them.
Jack Loew's response was, "don't get it in your head that you can't get off."
Kelly replies with something that again can't be made out on TV.
Jack Loew answers. "Don't say that! I don't want to hear that."
As if he was expecting it, and he was sick of it. It was an excuse. He knew Kelly had it in his pocket and was all too eager to pull it out. As if to say, if things aren't going my way, this is my handy excuse or reason. Wow, that level of self doubt was shocking to hear, that early from a fighter, especially one as universally agreed upon as tough as Pavlik.
Then, just rounds into the fight. Kelly is losing, but not being hurt. Not being blown out. Not beyond a feasible game plan against a mover and shaker like Martinez. Pressure him early. He'll be tough and fast for the early rounds. We'll wear him down and get to him in the middle to late rounds.
But Lampley seemed to also have something in his pocket that he had at the ready. It was shocking and seemed to come out of nowhere but really it was pre-show meeting type of stuff. It was something about Kelly didn't win the belt until late in his career. He is after all almost 30 years old. Like, this is the reason for the loss, not that. And we know his reign is going to end tonight, and this is the excuse. Lets quickly wipe away any evidence of the Pavlik era. Weird for that early in a fight against someone Pavlik would have his best chance at catching later.
Yes, Martinez won that fight. After the well-worn bad decision with Citron and the close one against Williams. It was good to see the mover and shaker get a fair shake. This is not a call for more corrupt judging. This is not a call for more robberies, but where were the hometown cards? Everyone expected to see some. Especially at a place were Pavlik was fast becoming their next Gatti-draw. Also, where were the rounds given to the guy with the strap because he has the strap and the round was close enough?
The judges had it 115/111, 116/111 and 115/112. Yes, this has to be the first time a fight is being questioned because the judges got it right. But why? And how. These scores mean the judges most likely gave Martinez round 5. A round that could have gone to the champion for possession of the belt. Possession may not be 9 tenths of the law in boxing, but it means something(even though DC disagrees). Round 5 could have also gone to the champ due to home cooking. It was close enough to go to the champ without a call out to CSI Jersey.
At least one of the judges also gave round 6 to Martinez. There would be few that would have made too large of a stink if it was given to Pavlik. He's the champ. He landed the power shots. An easy round to give to the homeboy with the belt.
But the scoring was right on. Right down the middle. Not even the slightest benefit to Pavlik. Why? Again, Martinez won the fight. Giving the new champ 5 or 6 was fair, but unexpected. He gets cooked by a much smaller name in Citron in Florida, but dealt a straight deal in Jersey with a giant name in Pavlik? Forgive a cynical viewpoint, but come on...somethings got to be behind that. But what?
After the fact and fight, it seems similar to strange NFL drafts or free agent signings from years ago. There would be a great college player with all the tools to be a great pro. Or an allpro that a team would allow to leave. Football fans from every city were eager for their favorite team to get him. He's a great player. Every organization is sure to want him. But no team signs him.
Or the college star is expected to go in the top ten selections. Then he slides out of the top ten. Then out of the top twenty, and finally taken in 30s. And fans are asking what just happened.
Then a year or few later, when the player has been forgotten it comes out that he had off-the-field issues. NFL teams knew he was a risk. He was riding a fine line. The guys who get paid to know, knew. Teams cut ties with him early so their marquee pick or player didn't embarrass them later. They were eager to cut their loses.
Kelly's strange fragile psyche that seems un-Pavlik like. Jim Lampley's at-the-ready early comment of Pavlik's expected short reign. The absence of any benefit of the doubt going to the champion. The lack of home cooking. All this for or not for a guy who has Bob Arum as his promoter?
It just seems for whatever reason Arum and some around Pavlik are cutting their loses. Jumping off the Pavlik bandwagon. Again, this is not a call for underhanded scoring, or fixes, but it seems like all of Bob Arum's resources were not used for the Pavlik fight. The fix was not in, but the writing may have been on the wall.
Those that get paid to know... know something. The question is...what?