Sean Porter, one of the best welterweights in modern boxing, spoke about how he sparred with Kelly Pavlik at the age of sixteen. The difference in experience and size took its toll, and the older partner knocked Sean down.
“If someone doesn’t know who Kelly Pavlik is, this is one of the best boxers from Ohio, from Jongstown. He was the super middleweight champion, he beat Jermaine Taylor, he was in the ring with Bernard Hopkins, with Calzaghe, and everyone. I first sparred with him when I was 16 and my brother was 17. ”
“I arrived at the gym a little late, came there from football training. I was changing clothes and saw him spar with my brother. Kelly was constantly hitting the body. And I was 16 years old and in amateurs I had no idea what kind of blow it was. Well, Pavlik was a professional and he continued to work on the body. I saw my brother literally start to slow down. I thought, “What’s going on?” I have never seen this in my life and thought: “What are you doing? Why are you just standing there? “
“This blow weakens you. And so he hits the body again, Kenny drops to one knee, rises and crouches again. I asked my father: “Well, what can you wear a helmet?” The father said, “Yes, get dressed, I don’t think your brother will last long.” And here I am all on edge, I think so is it like, how can you not withstand a blow to the body? And now two rounds pass and Pavlik gets the same blow again! “
“I remind you that I am an amateur, I throw 100 hits per round, I move, but I still miss that hit all the time. And then one day I missed it and was knocked down. But I got up immediately. “