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KELLY PAVLIK: "I DO WANT TO FIGHT STILL...IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY. IT'S ABOUT RESPECT!"

By Ben Thompson | August 05, 2011
KELLY PAVLIK:

"I want to. Yeah, whatever, it's up to Top Rank. Whatever they want to do, it's up to them. You know, if they want to fight me again, if they're still interested, which I hope they are because they're great promoters, then fight me. I want to let them know that I am hungry and I do want to fight still and I do believe that I can be a world champion again. If they don't have confidence in me, then, you know, do whatever they want to do...it's just a lack of communication. That's what it boils down to. I do want to fight though. I want to tell my fans, my loyal fans, the ones that are standing behind me, that Kelly Pavlik will be back no matter what happens. If they want to sit me, fight me, not fight me, Kelly Pavlik will be back eventually and will put on a show and will be better than ever, that's a guarantee...if I was all about the money, I wouldn't say I would retire tomorrow. It's not about the money. It's about respect. Again, I'm not knocking Top Rank, but I do think I'm worth more than $50,000," stated former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik as he set the record straight regardig his decision not to fight this weekend. You don't want to miss what he had to say. Check it out!

BT: Kelly, obviously there's been a lot buzz this week regarding your decision not to fight this weekend. What exactly happened?

KP: It's all business. It ain't Top Rank's fault, it's not Cameron Dunkin, it ain't my trainer, it ain't me; you know, I can be a man about it and say that whatever happened with these fights coming up was a lack of communication and I should have been a smarter person and took more control of my career and I didn't do it, you know, so it ain't nobody's fault. Just lack of communication, that was it.

BT: So you were training for a fight that you hadn't even signed a contract for?

KP: I never got a contract for this fight; never got a contract. I never got no contract for Bute; the Bute fight was never even done, you know, so I got nothing. I never got a contract for anything and it kind of seems like it was a cash out problem, but it's not Top Rank's fault though. It really ain't. The negotiations went beyond and past my agent, Cameron Dunkin. He did not negotiate anything for me and everything was already kind of like said and done, and there was no guaranteed figure, and the next thing you know, I was getting lowballed. Now, like I said before, it's not about the money. Kelly Pavlik don't fight for money. I've fought anybody and everybody. I fought Miranda. I fought Taylor twice, but I didn't have to. I jumped up two weight classes to light heavyweight and fought Bernard Hopkins. It's not about the money, but there is a respect level and I can't get stepped on all the time. You know, I gotta finally put my foot down and make a statement. I'll ask your honest opinion. I mean, if somebody told you...now, imagine me, I'm taking a $225,000 paycut. If your employer deducts $25,000 from your salary for next year, are you going to sit there and be all happy and say that's fine?

BT: Hell no! That's what I didn't understand because your purse for your last fight was like $250,000 or $275,000. How do you go from making $275,000 to making $50,000? That doesn't make any sense.

KP: Your exactly right. The whole thing is, you know, it's hard for me to say because I get ridiculed for anything that I say when I open my mouth, but don't pay me what you were paying me and then turn back around and pay me what you want to pay me. You know? Don't pay me $275,000 after a 13-month layoff and I win, then turn back around and offer me $50,000, you know? Don't offer Mikkel Kessler, and I'm sorry, but if you think about it, my name is every bit as big as Kessler, if not bigger, and it is, but you're going to offer him $3 million and tell me that there's not even $1 million for the Bute fight in Canada? I'd fight Bute in the United States, in Atlantic City, I'd fight him for $1 million in a heartbeat, but you're going to send me to Canada where I have to put the guy in a coma to win the fight and you're only going to offer me $1 million? No! It's just, you know, a lack of communication. Again, it's not Top Rank's fault, it ain't Cameron, it ain't my trainer, you know, it's not really even my fault, but if there's anybody to blame more than anybody else, maybe it is me. Like I said before, I should be more involved in my career and in the negotiations and I'll be a man and I'll stand up and say it's more my fault than anybody else.

BT: Well, that's definitely big of you take all the blame, but in my opinion, it's the fault of your promoter and your agent. I mean, I would think they would be looking out for the best interests of their fighter, but in my opinion, offering you basically just 20% of what you made in your last fight doesn't really sound like they're doing a good job of that. But you're not the only fighter who's been questioning their finances lately. Even Manny Pacquiao, who's been making ridiculous purses of $20 million, is counting every penny now. What's even more messed up is that I heard nasty rumor that he had to ask for an advance recently. That's crazy!

KP: Manny Pacquiao can go and gamble all of his money and everything else, and he has no money. The guy makes $25 million a fight and asks for advancements because he blows all of his money. Nobody says anything about that; it's not a big deal. Kelly Pavlik picks his nose and gets into a shoving argument with his own brother, which anybody and their mother has been in a fight with their own brother, and it's headline news. Anything that Kelly Pavlik does is headline news. De La Hoya was in rehab himself. You hear it about one time and nobody talks about it no more. Pacquiao blows money as fast as he makes it. He's asking for an advancement because why? He has no money. Now, I don't blame Top Rank on that part either. If I was Top Rank, I would say, "Holy shit, you made $25 million in your last fight. What do you need an advancement for?" You know? I mean, come on. But at the end of the day, the only thing that anybody ever talks about is Kelly Pavlik. Kelly Pavlik, Kelly Pavlik, Kelly Pavlik. And if you think about it, it's true. If Kelly Pavlik farts in public, "Oh my God, Kelly Pavlik is all fucked up. He farted. Has everybody heard. He farted and it smells like shit." That's what happens. It's true. But nobody says anything...that's why Pacquiao is asking for an advancement because he got himself in jeopardy. Nobody talks about Manny Pacquiao and his gambling problem, drinking and partying problem. Nobody talks really much about Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton, and nobody talks about De La Hoya, but everybody wants to talk about Kelly Pavlik. I mean, Kelly Pavlik is out there so you can't tell me the public is not interested in what I do in my career. You know, if I fight tomorrow, I'm going to have a draw, believe me.

BT: So are you basically trying to sit out and retire for the remainder of your contract, or are you still trying to talk to Top Rank and work things out?

KP: I'm still trying to talk to Top Rank. Top Rank has done wonders for me too and I'm not saying it to kiss any ass or anything like that. Top Rank has been great to me and I would rather take a fight for $125,000 or $200,000 against a respectable opponent, because I understand I'm not the Champ no more, and then wait for a Carl Froch to open up. I'll fight Carl Froch for $1.5 or $1.8 million, but I'm not going to travel all the way to Canada to pretty much lose a fight and then turn back around and fight on ESPN for $15,000 after the money I've made in my career and get punched in the head for a living. I'm not knocking anybody's job, but I don't go hit golf balls or I don't work in a cubicle for $100,000 a year. I get punched in the face for a living. That's my job. I got two babies at home. I'm trying to be able to talk to them by the time I'm 40 years old. I'm trying to be able to count my money by the time I'm 35 years old. You know, I don't have an easy job in life. This is my craft; I've been pro for 11 years. I'm trying to make some money and that's about it. I'm not asking for the Pacquiao or Mayweather money, you know. I understand I'm not Mayweather or Pacquiao. I can be honest; I mean, those are big names, those are top dogs, and they deserve every bit of money they make. But pay me a respectable amount, you know, what I deserve. If you're going to ship me off to Canada to fight for a world title, you know, pay me what I think I'm worth. If you're going to offer Mikkel Kessler $3 million, give me $2 million.

BT: How did you find out Kessler was offered $3 million? Bob Arum came on record and said that wasn't true.

KP: It was posted on the internet. It's not a lie. If you put in Google "Mikkel Kessler $3 million offer from Bute's camp", you'll pull it up. I can't remember exactly what website or who the reporter was, but I know for a fact he was offered $3 million. It's not a lie. I'm smart, I would never...I learned in my life not to say anything that's not true so I don't get smacked with slander, but it's guaranteed he was offered $3 million and it's posted on the website.

BT: The other day, Top Rank was saying you hadn't spoken to Cameron, Jack, your dad, or anyone regarding any of this; you basically weren't picking up your phone. I assume you're speaking to some of those people now trying to clear things up.

KP: They alway say that. You know, the funny thing is, I might have had, in my whole entire career, in 11 years since June 16 when I turned pro in 2000, I talked to Bob Arum 15 times. I talked to Bruce Trampler maybe 10 times. I don't talk to nobody. There's no contact with us. Cameron Dunkin is the only one that keeps in touch with us and he's only limited to so much, so whatever the stories are, it's bullshit. I'm not knocking Top Rank at all, but there's never been any real communication. Again, I'll stress that's my fault, you know, because I should have took more of a stand in my career. It's my fault. It ain't their fault, it's not Cameron Dunkin, it ain't Jack Loew, it ain't my dad; it comes down to me. I should have been more of a man and stepped up to my career and put my foot down, but you live and you learn. Everybody makes mistakes in life and everybody learns, but unfortunately for me, my mistakes are in the media and criticized and everything else. I'll bite the bullet, I will, and it's my fault. I'm a man about it. I can admit. But Top Rank don't talk to me. I haven't negotiated anything ever in my career with Top Rank. Nothing!

BT: So how do you fix that going forward? Are you going to start taking a more active role in...

KP: (Cutting in) I want to. Yeah, whatever, it's up to Top Rank. Whatever they want to do, it's up to them. You know, if they want to fight me again, if they're still interested, which I hope they are because they're great promoters, then fight me. I want to let them know that I am hungry and I do want to fight still and I do believe that I can be a world champion again. If they don't have confidence in me, then, you know, do whatever they want to do. They're going to go back out and make $35 million off of Pacquiao, and Pacquiao's going to make money if he doesn't ask for advancements, but, you know, it's up to them. But I do know for a fact that I do trust them and they're great promoters. They made boxing what boxing is to this day, and if they know that I want to fight again, then they'll fight me again and they'll put me in there in a big fight and make money.

BT: So basically this a matter of a lack of communication. You're ready and willing to fight, but you want to be paid what you're worth, which obviously is more than $50,000.

KP: Lack of communication is the key word. That's exactly what it was. It was a lack of communication between camps; between me, Top Rank, my agent Cameron Dunkin, it was just a big total loss of communication. Nobody talked to anybody. Nobody knew what was going on and there was an offer made, and I don't know who made it, for the $50,000, and then the fight with Bute, there was never anything talked about with that. So I can't say Top Rank owes me an apology; I don't owe them an apology. I just think there was a totally big lack of communication between camps. Lack of communication was it; it really was.

BT: So when did you finally find out about your purse for Saturday's fight and what was going on with the Bute fight?

KP: I found out about two weeks ago that I was making $50,000 to fight in Youngstown against a southpaw. There was no guaranteed amount that I was getting paid for Bute until I asked. Now, again, I will stress this, when I found out that Mikkel Kessler was getting offered $3 million to fight Bute, I came in and I even lowballed myself. I said, "Okay, $2.5 million is the minimum I should get." Believe it or not, again I'm not arguing this, but I carry the same amount of power in boxing that Mikkel Kessler does.

BT: I think you probably carry more as far as the casual fan is concerned.

KP: Well I won't go that route, but I thank you for saying that, but why are you offering him $3 million and you turn back around and are telling me $1 million. And then my agent, Cameron Dunkin, steps in and negotiates to get us to $1.35 million and that's what you're going to pay me to go to Canada to lose? Because I gotta put the guy in a coma; you're not going to beat Bute in Canada. It's not going to happen. A blue bird is blue, you know what I mean? So it was just, the whole matter of the fact, I mean, it's not a smack in the face, it's just a lack of communication. That's what it boils down to. I do want to fight though. I want to tell my fans, my loyal fans, the ones that are standing behind me, that Kelly Pavlik will be back no matter what happens. If they want to sit me, fight me, not fight me, Kelly Pavlik will be back eventually and will put on a show and will be better than ever, that's a guarantee.

BT: If they did decide to sit you, how long of a time period would that be?

KP: It's up to them; whatever they want to do, but evenutally, I will be back to fighting. You can't sit me forever because I'm not hurt. I didn't cancel it due to injury or anything else; I'll be back. And like I said, Top Rank has done wonders for boxing. Without Kelly Pavlik, without Pacquiao, Top Rank will do wonders for boxing. But Kelly Pavlik will come back and if Top Rank wants to, I will still be a big draw and I will go out there and give them 110% and I will still put on a show for anybody in boxing and I will be an exciting fighter again, but fight me in a respectable way. I'm not asking for the world. I'm not asking for everything. I just want to be paid what I think I should be paid. I don't think I'm worth what Pacquiao or Mayweather or any of these up-and-coming fighters are. Yeah, I will say I lost my world titles. I know that I'm not the person who's the middleweight champion of the world again, but I'm still a big name. Fucking pay me. Like I said, I'll go fight in Atlantic City and I'll fight a tough guy for $150,000 or $200,000 and I'll turn back around and fight Carl Froch in the United States for $1.5 million and I'm happy with that. I'm content. But don't send me to Canada, you know, to pretty much cash out on me. I'm not saying that's what Top Rank's plan is; I'm not saying that by no means, but it's kind of what it seems like to me. You cannot tell me that you're paying me $2.5 million to fight Gary Lockett in Atlantic City with 8,000 people and that there ain't $2.5 million to offer me to go to Canada where you're going to fill an arena with 25,000 people for a world title. It don't add up and until somebody breaks down numbers and everything else to me, I'm not a firm believer. That's it.

BT: Previously, you mentioned that you've been asked to sign a contract within a day...

KP: (Cutting in) They haven't done that for this fight, but every other fight, every contract that I've gotten in my career has been last minute. You know, "Well, you gotta sign this and turn it in." My attorneys and accountants, they're still asking for previous contracts, but it comes to a point where I gotta start making a stand. I do. Not only am I getting raped, but I'm going to get punched in the face. But, it is what it is and like I said, I have faith in Top Rank. I have faith in their decision that they're going to put me back in the ring. Whatever there problems are right now with...I understand they got a lot on their hands with Pacquiao. Pacquiao is the big draw, he's the moneymaker, and they got problems going on with that, but I gotta eat too. I gotta feed my family and I want to be healthy for the rest of my life. Like I said, it's not like I sit in a cubicle. I get punched in the face for a living, you know?

BT: That's what a lot people don't realize sometimes. This is what you do for a living; all fighters, not just you, but all fighters make their livelihood like this so every decision is an important one.

KP: All fighters. This goes for every fighter. Hopefully all the other boxers sit there and agree with me. This goes for all fighters; for everybody. But again, it's not about the money. I know I"m getting ridiculed right now in my own hometown. Everybody is saying, "Oh, $1.35 million." Well, if I was all about the money, I wouldn't say I would retire tomorrow. It's not about the money. It's about respect. Again, I'm not knocking Top Rank, but I do think I'm worth more than $50,000.

BT: Well look man, I've kept you on long enough. No matter which way this goes, whatever you need, just hit me up.

KP: I just want to tell you thank you for letting me vent, that's pretty much what it is, vent to you and tell you my side of the story. Again, to my fans, my loyal fans, Kelly Pavlik will be back eventually and he'll be fighting his ass off.

CLICK HERE IF YOU MISSED PART 1 OF THIS INTERVIEW WITH FORMER MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION KELLY PAVLIK



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