LAS VEGAS - Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor weighed in at 164 pounds yesterday at the MGM Grand Garden in the anticlimactic final step before tonight's rematch, a nontitle middleweight bout.
Pavlik knocked out Taylor 4 1/2 months ago to claim the World Boxing Council belt, and both agreed to fight the rematch at a 166-pound catch weight with no title on the line.
Both claimed the extra weight would help them, as they have labored to make the middleweight division's 160-pound limit in the past. They had no such problems this week, with Pavlik even making a trip to the MGM Grand's buffet - though he ate only healthy food, he claimed.
In front of a lively crowd featuring fans of both fighters, Taylor took the stage to chants of "J.T." and "Woo, pig! Sooie!" - the historic hog call of the University of Arkansas.
"You better believe this time here, it's going to be a totally different fight," Taylor said. "I get him down this time, he's going to stay down."
Pavlik was knocked down in the second round of their first fight, but recovered and stopped Taylor in the seventh round in Atlantic City. Instead of taking a tuneup fight to recover from the first loss of his career, Taylor immediately exercised the rematch clause in his contract.
Pavlik, who's known as "The Ghost," didn't have to say much to incite the hundreds of fans wearing T-shirts with his likeness and holding up hand puppets shaped like ghosts. Pavlik's camp expects thousands from his native Youngstown, Ohio, to join the West Coast's Ohio expatriates at the fight.
"I'm not one of those fancy guys that likes to live it up," Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs) said earlier his week. "That's just not me. You can't pretend to be something you're not."