Kelly Pavlik and his trainer, Jack Loew, are working to change the boxer's career arc.
Pavlik was the middleweight champion just a few years ago. Older and heavier now, "The Ghost" is trying redefine himself, master the super middleweight division and become a champion again.
Pavlik and Loew have their eyes on a potential bout with IBF champion Lucian Bute. That matchup could come this fall, but first things first.
Pavlik is set to meet Darryl Cunningham on Saturday, Aug. 6 at Youngstown's Covelli Centre. The Pavlik camp has acknowledged that this might just be the boxer's final opportunity to fight on his home turf.
Pavlik returned from a year-long layoff to defeat Alfonso Lopez in a majority decision on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight on May 7 in Las Vegas. Immediately after that fight, Pavlik admitted he hoped that a big-name opponent - perhaps Bute - would be next.
But when the Pavlik camp looked at his uneven performance against Lopez, it was clear more work was needed.
"I think looking at the video was very important," Loew said in a conference call Wednesday. "I've always watched video. Kelly was never a big video watcher, but I've always watched the fights later and told Kelly what I saw."
Pavlik (37-2, 32 knockouts) agreed with his trainer.
"I looked jittery," he said. "I thought Lopez fought a great fight, but we gutted it through."
It was Pavlik's first fight as a super middleweight.
"I really didn't notice the difference in weight," he said. "It was the timing. That's why we wanted to get back in the ring again soon."
It's all part of remaking himself.
"Making 160 is impossible anymore," Pavlik said, referring to his target as a middleweight. "I'll never be able to see 160 anymore."
When Pavlik, 29, began training for the Lopez fight, he was at 195. He said he weighed in at 174 1/2 in the gym on Wednesday and expects to meet Cunningham at 170.
The difference in weight has made preparing for this fight easier.
"Now we can prepare more on boxing and the opponent, rather than making weight," Pavlik said.
When Cunningham (23-2, 10 KOs) was announced as Pavlik's next opponent, Loew made it clear a big reason he was selected was so that the former middleweight champion could get a look at a left-handed fighter.
"The game plan is to fight like we always have," he said. "Put pressure on him, keep the punches coming and set up the big shot."
Which Pavlik hopes will lead to a shot at Bute.
"It's a big name and you want to fight big names," he said. "I had the world title for three years and fought some big names. I don't want to finish my career off by fighting meaningless fights. I want a chance to get the title back."