Enough has been written about Pavlik this past week not to warrant much further attention but I am interested to hear, what, when, and where you all believe that Kelly Pavlik was, if not truly dangerous, then still a viable, serious contender.
No one will ever be certain of how his decline began outside of the ring or should I say no one can be absolutely certain. His friend and trainer Jack Loew, often criticized for his limited advice in the ring, has said that Kelly does not handle th difficulties of life outside the ring very well. Well, knock us down with a feather. Who'da guessed.
His record since repeating his dominance over the short time middleweight belt holder, Jermaine Taylor, is filled with names, few of them of any consequence. Taylor was followed by Lockett and then disastrously by Bernard Hopkins, the fight commonly cited as the beginning of Pavlik's travails. The came Rubio folowed by Espino, teh former now looking better but the latter of no real consequence.
The name that never followed was Paul Williams, although it was he who twice was left before getting to the alter as Kelly, clearly not in good health, was nursing what we were told and shown whenever necessary, a staph infection. I don't doubt the staff infection. What I do doubt is how it was used in delays of scheduled bouts. And what I am all but certain is that an infection hosted in a poorly maintained body is not one that has any incentive of leaving anytime soon. In other words, kelly was not taking care of himself.
The rest is history. Pavlik faced his best competition since Hopkins and once again he came up short. He was not exposed. In fact he was competitive until he was cut and ran out of juice. He was however beaten far earlier. Passobly even before the fight.
Whispering in his corner between early rounds to his trainer, we never heard his words but we did hear Loew's. He was clear. He did not like or want want to hear what Kelly was saying. I'm guessing he had lost his confidence early. No confidence. No mojo. No mo'.
Lopez was a match merely to see what was left and to keep him in the mix. Cunningham the same. But Pavlik balked. Simply packed up and walked.
The question is when was the last time Pavlik was a serious meaningfiul threat to someone other than himself.