KELLY PAVLIK: "Training is going very good right now. I've been hitting it hard; this is probably the last hard week. We're going to finish up sparring and next week will be cruise-mode. It couldn't be better than the way it's going right now. I'm feeling good."
Have you adjusted to super middleweight? Do you feel stronger at this weight?
PAVLIK: "I really do. Making 160 was just impossible anymore. I'm never going to be able to see 160 again. In this new class we're not killing ourselves to make weight. Now, as we're getting ready, we can prepare more on boxing and more on the opponent and worry about that stuff rather than how we're going to lose weight. I'm really happy with this weight class."
Kelly, can you talk a little bit about your last fight. Did you feel the difference in the weight class?
PAVLIK: "You know, I really didn't notice the weight. That wasn't a factor in the fight. Timing was. I knew when he was going to punch before he did and I just had a hard time with the timing of that. That's why we wanted to come back right after that fight just to make sure the timing was sharp. As far as the weight, no, I don't think that played a big factor at all. You got to remember I was coming down from 195 walking into camp so I was probably walking around heavier than Lopez was."
In that fight you got hit more than you did in a lot of your fights. Was that because of your timing?
PAVLIK: "I think so. It was hard to pick up on the punches. I went back and watched the film and I looked a little jittery in there. I was punching a little bit too much, even more than I had against a power puncher like (Edison) Miranda. There were a lot of things that we've been studying. But we got through it after a 13-month layoff."
Is it common for you to watch tape of yourself?
PAVLIK: You know, I never really did do that. But at this stage in my career I think it's important that we did start doing it. You can learn a lot more that way, too."
Jack, how important was it for you to look at the tape from the Lopez fight to point out to Kelly the things he did right and the things he did wrong?
LOEW: "I think it's very important. I've done it all the way through. Kelly wasn't a big film watcher but I've always watched our previous fights and then come back to Kelly and tell him what I thought he did wrong and what he should correct. It was very important - we got to move forward, we can't move back."
Can you talk about Cunningham's strengths and weaknesses?
PAVLIK: "If you give him momentum or you let him come forward, he likes to throw a lot of punches, big shots. If you put pressure on him, he likes to go backwards - he goes straight backwards. We've seen a lot of that. I think our game plan for this fight is to fight like we always had earlier on. Put the pressure on him and not come straight, not head first but side to side angles, keep the punches moving and land some of the big shots."
Is this a dangerous fight for you and how do you expect it to go?
PAVLIK: "You know what? Any fight is a dangerous fight, especially if you don't take it seriously. If you're looking past him that can be a dangerous fight. At this point in his career this could be his last big name. He is 36 years old so I think he's going to come in hungry and wanting to win more than anything. So any fight like that is a dangerous fight. I think I've faced a lot more dangerous fighters in my career though."
Jack, do you have any problems or worries about it?
LOEW: "I have all the confidence in the world in Kelly. But like Kelly said, anytime you go in there with another professional fighter there's always danger. He has everything to gain and nothing to lose so he's going to go all out. This is an opportunity for him to make a name for himself. We picked a left hander because we're looking at things past this and what people have been mentioning but we're not looking past Darryl Cunningham."
Is the upcoming potential fight against southpaw Lucian Bute the reason you guys decided to face a southpaw in this fight?
LOEW: "Absolutely. It wasn't so much a southpaw that looked like Bute, we just needed a southpaw. Being off 13 months if we hadn't taken a fight like this it would be almost another six months before we took a fight like Bute. I didn't think that was good. We're looking at the big picture down the road but we've done nothing but concentrate on Darryl Cunningham."
What is your opinion of Lucian Bute? Have you watched much of him?
LOEW: "Absolutely. I already have film on him. I've been watching it. He's the whole package - he goes upstairs, he goes downstairs. He can move from side to side. But his chin is questionable. Obviously Librado Andrade should have won that first fight. How is he going to react when a big super middleweight like Kelly hits him on his chin? We'll see what happens and we're going to have to be 110 percent prepared for a guy like that."
Is that (Bute) the fight you're looking at in the fall if you get pact Cunningham on Aug. 6?
PAVLIK: That's the big name and we want to fight big names. Whether it's Bute, Froch, whatever the big name is. Big fights are key for me. I don't want to finish my career off fighting meaningless fights. I want to go in there and get a chance to get the title back and defend it a couple of times."
Do you have any thoughts on Bute?
PAVLK: "I think he's a very good fighter. Obviously he is. There are some things questionable about him. I think he's probably one of the best body punchers in the sport today by far, but I think he has pretty good boxing ability too. I don't think he's as talented overall as (Sergio) Martinez as far as movement and slickness. He's got the whole package but I think everyone will see when I go into that fight that it's going to be a different Kelly Pavlik. I'm hungry. I want the title back."
How do you expect the hometown fans to support you this time?
PAVLIK: "You know what, I'm not sure. I'm hoping they are. Word is it's going pretty good right now. There's a lot of people still saying they're going to get their tickets. Mainly, you expect a walkup crowd in Youngstown, that's one of the big things, too. I'm going to do my thing, I'm going to put on a great show, I'm going to fight as hard as I can. Whatever happens as far as that part comes, my true fans, and I'm sure there's a lot, they'll be in for a real treat."
Kelly, are you excited about coming back home and fighting?
PAVLIK: "Actually, I am. It's always good to fight back home. Who knows when the next time will be so you make the best out if it when you get the chance."
Kelly, a lot of fighters mention how much pressure there is to fight at home. Can you talk about the plusses and minuses about that?
PAVLIK: "Earlier in my career, there was a lot of pressure. I think with all the experiences I've had and all the stadiums I've fought in against the opponents I've fought, I have the experience now. I've been there and done that so the pressure doesn't really get to me. The fans can sometimes act as your second wind and give you more motivation to go out and put on a better show. Not to try and go out for a kill, but you fight a smart game plan and you just have a little more drive in you."
How are you recapturing the old Kelly Pavlik?
LOEW: "I think the training regimen, the brutal training regimen where you go in there to get that natural strength and cardio and everything else, that's something that we're going to get back to and that's going to be a key."
How much of the old Kelly Pavlik are you seeing in training and can he bring that same ferocity at that level as a super middleweight?
LOEW: "He's going to have to. It's not a matter of can he do it; he's going to have to. That's what got him the middleweight championship of the world - his relentless worth ethic, he's relentless in the ring, coming forward, throwing punches. He has to come forward and he has to come forward with angles and he has the throw punches. He has to get that hunger back. I've seen a lot of it so far. We've put this together in kind of a short amount of time so I'm expecting a very good Kelly Pavlik on the 6th and I expect him to knock this kid down and if not knock this kid down I expect him to back him up and I expect him to stop him. That's what I'm looking for. I want to take a week or so off after this fight and I want get right back into it and get ready for what's next. I think it's very important for us to get back to the way we used to do things for the Taylors, the Mirandas. I think it's very important for the type of fighters he wants to fight in the super middleweight division."
Is Kelly punching harder than he was?
LOEW: "I don't think that's possible, but he's punching hard."
Kelly had a nice left hook in the Lopez fight. Was that something you worked on or added?
LOEW: "He's lefthanded so he's always had a great left hand. But everybody that he touched with his right hand he knocked out so we never really had to come back with the left hook too much. But I think that's a very important part of it. Instead of just worrying about that big one-two bomb we can always come back with something or even lead off with it. I think it's always been there, it's just a matter of finally putting it all together."
Are you guys going to have to box more now that you're moving up in weight?
PAVLK: "I don't think so. With my size and my height I'd be a good size light heavyweight. As far as super middleweights, there's not too many big powerful punchers at super middleweight. You have some guys that are strong and have some pop in their punch but not any that are knocking guys out a lot."
What about Bute saying, "I can beat this guy"?
PAVLIK: "He's a slick fighter, first of all. That gives me more of a motivation because people always pounded it and they still do, ‘Oh, he can't fight a guy side-to-side.' I want to prove them wrong. Second of all, he's a great fighter. I want the big names. I want to win the world title. I want to fight the best and be the best."