Source: Youngstown Vindicator
Before we get started on the story of Jack Loew talking (a lot (again)), isn't it amazing how quickly the Youngstown Vindicator became such a hotbed of boxing journalism? That's a town that loves their boy.
From Loew's big ol' mouth:
"This is what happened: His dad went back and said, ‘Don’t fight this killer. He’s gonna knock you out.’ I’m pissed off. He’s telling us that we don’t want to fight him. Yes, we do want to fight Joe Calzaghe. He doesn’t want to fight Kelly Pavlik."
Good, old-fashioned trash-talking. You have to kind of think about Jack Loew, who he is, where he comes from, and what he's had to deal with in boxing in the last little while.
Jack Loew is a guy that has no other pro fighters. No other notable fighters at all as far as I know. Yet he has trained Kelly Pavlik for over a decade, since Pavlik first came into his gym as a kid. Loew has had no success with any other fighter. I'm not saying that to be insulting; I don't know what kind of kids or adults he's gotten that came into his gym. Maybe they all just didn't have it, and only Pavlik did. Maybe guys that did have it decided that pro boxing wasn't for them, and thus, Jack Loew is left with just the one fighter. No matter what you think of him, though, it's clear that Pavlik-Loew is one of the best fighter-trainer combos in the sport today, up there with famous combos like Pacquiao and Freddie Roach or Floyd Joy and his uncle Roger.
But the thing I always think about is this: how much jive has Jack Loew had to take during Pavlik's rise? Think about Kelly's last three fights. In the first fight with Taylor, the opponent's trainer was Emmanuel Steward, who has become increasingly arrogant over the years. While he's a lovable talking head as a commentator, he often comes off quite difficult to like when he's training. I'm not taking anything away from Manny; he's a legendary trainer, and that's his job. His job isn't being nice.
Steward, though, never gave Pavlik any credit, really. He made a show of it, with the "he fought a great fight" quotes, but they were always asterisked with, "but we should've won." And Steward absolutely never gave Loew any credit. He sounded unhappy on the HBO broadcast of Pavlik-Lockett when it came to showing Jack Loew any respect.
Why? Because Manny Steward's a legend, and Jack Loew is a guy that trains one fighter anyone cares about.
In the Taylor rematch, Steward wasn't there. Did Loew snipe back and forth with Ozell Nelson? Nope. Both camps were pretty quiet. The most we got was updates on how everything was going, promises for a good fight, and both men guaranteeing victory.
The Lockett fight had Enzo Calzaghe, 2007 Trainer of the Year, across from Loew. Some of the arguing between Loew and Enzo made the Loew-Steward shots seem like invitations to parties.
At the end of the day, Loew's guy crushed Calzaghe's guy, as expected, and now we're where we are today, with Loew throwing disrespect to Enzo, who's had a tough 2008 so far, with most of his big fighters losing. And Calzaghe never gave Loew any credit, either. And still appears to have no interest in doing so.
Why is that? Because Enzo Calzaghe is a big-name trainer with an award, and Jack Loew is a guy that trains one fighter anyone cares about.
I like Jack Loew. I think he's funny, I think he's insightful, and I think he's vital to Pavlik in more ways than one. Obviously they've got a closer relationship than just fighter and trainer. Kelly's not one of boxing's sad stories, really; he came from a solid family, never went hungry, and wasn't one of the kids that went into boxing in need of a father figure just as much as they were in need of a way to stay out of trouble or make money. But he got one anyway.
Then there's the fact that Loew talks for Pavlik a lot of the time. Pavlik is too humble, too laid-back to do all the crazy B.S. that sells a fight these days. He doesn't even talk trash. He doesn't promise to send anyone out on a stretcher or eat their children; he fights. He does his job. Jack Loew is the mouthpiece.
Have you heard anything from Pavlik calling Joe Calzaghe a "slap-happy Welshman" and nothing more? Nope. And Joe has never said a bad word about Pavlik, either. This is a trainer war.
And it's setting up a fight in 2009. I mean, come on. It's all salesmanship and marketing ploys. Calzaghe should beat Roy Jones, Jr., and Kelly's upcoming schedule isn't looking terribly rough unless he fights Arthur Abraham, and that's contingent upon Abraham beating Edison Miranda this weekend anyway.
There was one other great Jack Loew quotable:
"Any middleweight who goes into the ring with Kelly over the next few years is gonna get just what Gary Lockett go. At 168-175, the guys are bigger and stronger and can take better shots, but Kelly should clean out anyone in the middleweight division in three, four, five rounds."
I am one of those that really thinks Kelly Pavlik is a very special fighter and has a great shot at going down in history as one of the best ever. I really think he's that good and that unique. But some of this stuff is getting out of hand.
Bob Arum recently said, according to ESPN's Dan Rafael, that Pavlik would have beaten Marvin Hagler. Maybe he would have -- we'll have a better perspective on that impossible matchup in a few years. But right now, that's a stupid thing to say.
And now Jack Loew thinks everyone at 160 can't last past five rounds with Pavlik? That's a lot of weight to put on a fighter. Are we so entrenched in thinking about only what happened in the last fight of someone's career that we're now forgetting that it took Pavlik more than five rounds to clean out Miranda and even Zertuche? He was badly rocked and tasted canvas against Taylor before that remarkable comeback. And then the second time, Taylor took him the distance.
Comparing what Pavlik can do with Gary Lockett to a world-class challenger is dumb. It is d-u-m-b DUMB. Dumb with a capital D. Don't put unrealistic expectations on someone. Arthur Abraham would go more than five stinkin' rounds with Kelly Pavlik. So would a guy named Winky Wright. So would plenty of other guys, including a bunch of guys at 154.
Let's admire Kelly Pavlik for what he is and enjoy having him in the sport, because he's a real asset. Let's not, however, start painting him as the greatest assassin to ever step foot in the middleweight ranks.