Published: Saturday, October 6, 2007
Pavlik eyes 2008 bout at Stambaugh Stadium
He wants to repay his Youngstown fans for their support.
By JOHN KOVACH
YOUNGSTOWN What's next for Kelly Pavlik?
Days after Youngstown's popular middleweight picked himself off the canvas to knock out Jermain Taylor in Atlantic City Pavlik thanked the people of Youngstown for the "umpteenth" during a Friday afternoon press conference at Nancy's Place on Shady Run Road, not far from his home on Cornell Street.
He indicated the sky's the limit and Youngstown always will be part of his plans.
"I can't thank the fans enough. ... We showed the whole world what Youngstown is about," said Pavlik as he faced a swarm of television cameras and reporters.
Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs) said having an army of 5,000 fans in the audience at Boardwalk Hall helped him survive a second-round knockdown then rally to take away the WBC and WBO titles from Taylor on a TKO in the seventh round.
He said having such support is like: "Don't mess with me. I got my people behind me. It was a good motivational tool."
And now after a few days, "it definitely is settling in that I am world champion. ... It's not what I expected. I now realize that I did something great."
Pavlik said he is open to all possibilities. He would like to win the other two world middleweight titles (IBF and WBA), then possibly move up in weight class even perhaps to the heavyweight division.
He would like to fight next summer at Stambaugh Stadium wearing the red and white colors of Youngstown State on his trunks and he also would like to fight at Ohio Stadium in Columbus wearing the Buckeyes' scarlet and gray.
And how a book and a movie about his life and comeback championship win called "Kelly?"
"Sure, why not," he said.
"Those are good ideas," said Pavlik, 25, a Lowellville High graduate who realizes the potential in his championship as requests for product endorsements, magazine and newspaper stories and television appearance requests pour in from all over the nation.
"My next fight probably will be out of town in Atlantic City or New York, but then next summer I want to fight back in Youngstown. If I'm going to do it [defend my title], then I'm going to do it back in Youngstown.
"I have no idea who I will fight next. The fight probably will be in Atlantic City or New York but the opponent is up in the air. We have to see what Jermain is going to do." said Pavlik.
Taylor has the option for a rematch in his contract.
Pavlik's father and co-manager, Michael Pavlik, also acknowledged Youngstown's support.
"We owe all this to Youngstown," said Michael. "And people from Atlantic City to La Vegas to California, they all saw that we were from Youngstown."
Pavlik not only had 5,000 fans cheering for him in Atlantic City and thousands more across the nation watching the fight on HBO, but he also had the entire General Motors complex in Lordstown in his corner.
"I work at General Motors and they shut down the assembly line so that the workers could watch Kelly fight," said Karen Tobin of Boardman, Pavlik's cousin. "It was the first time they shut down the assembly line in 30 years. It never was done before. They never did that for 9/11 or blizzards."
His long quest of 32 unbeaten bouts and comeback win for the world championship have captured the imagination of a nation.