Tonight's edition of ESPN’s prime-time newsmagazine E:60, at 7 p.m. ET, will include a profile of Kelly Pavlik, the undefeated middleweight boxing champion from Youngstown, Ohio. Pavlik takes on two-division world champion Bernard Hopkins in a 12-round light heavyweight battle Saturday, October 14 at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
Pavlik is a fighter and a hometown hero. In many ways, the middleweight boxing champion is much like the legendary movie character “Rocky Balboa.” Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Pavlik represents hope for his beleaguered city.
At one time, Youngstown was a bastion of middle class success. The steel mills that once served as the nerve center of a booming economy now sit shuttered and still, a reminder of what used to be.
E:60 profiles this homegrown champion – the story of a young boy who found his true passion in the sweet science of pugilism. Pavlik trains in the same gym and with the same trainer he has used since he was nine years old. It is a story about a gifted fighter who boxes much like his beloved hometown – workmanlike, with a steely resolve and a powerful one-two punch..
E:60 correspondent Jeremy Schaap tells the narrative of Kelly Pavlik – from his start at the young age of nine, to his frustrations in the fight game that almost led him to quit the sport, through his victory over Jermain Taylor to claim the middleweight crown. The piece includes interviews with his longtime trainer, Jack Loew; his father, Mike; boxing historian Bert Sugar; and another Youngstown boxing legend, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.