Age • 25
Why he’s interesting • With a seventh-round knockout against Jermain Taylor in September, Kelly Pavlik claimed the middleweight boxing crown. Next month, the Youngstown native will head to Las Vegas for a non-title rematch against Taylor at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.
The boxing mind-set • Pavlik says he thinks of boxing the way football coaches think — he has a different game plan and strategy for each opponent. But there is one consistent rule: “I try to hit him and hope he doesn’t hit me back.”
“Rocky”: Hollywood or the real thing? • While there is some authenticity to the movie boxer’s training routine, much of the story amps up the drama. “In some of the fight scenes, there are hits that I don’t know if people would live after.”
No taunting necessary • Pavlik would rather let the other guy do the pre-bout talking. “I love when they talk. ... It gives me confidence, because I know they are worried. I just sit there and laugh. You don’t fight with your mouth, you fight with your fist.”
That’s dedication • Pavlik trains for eight hours every day in the eight weeks leading up to a fight — a combination of jogging, strength training, weight training and boxing.
Positive influence • Pavlik hopes his success might be inspirational to local kids who want to box, but their talent will determine whether they succeed. “It’d be nice if more kids got into boxing. It helps keep them out of trouble.”
Just not his little girl • Pavlik says of his 1-year-old daughter: “She will go to school and play tennis and golf.”