His story starts out a humble one of a young kid hanging around the old south side gym. With his hope and dreams of some day becoming a true champion in his pocket, Kelly quietly trains and learns. Until, at the young age of 18 he explodes onto the boxing scene in 2000 turning pro. Since then there’s been no looking back for Kelly. He has shown the world through his lightning jab and “The punisher” strait left that he truly deserves to wear the World middleweight belt. Kelly’s official record stands at (34-1, 30 KOs).
His recent title defense at the Chevrolet Centre: 229 East Front Street, Youngstown, OH against MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO further goes to prove the point that Kelly comes to fight! He has time and time again brought with him into the ring something that no other fighter has to Jose Luis Zertuche, Edison Miranda, and Jermain Taylor…a knockout punch!
Another beautiful ability that Kelly posses that many other fighters struggle with, is his capability to fight effortless through the weight classes from middleweight, super-middleweight and light heavyweight. Which coupled with his lethal left makes him a dangerous man. Soft spoken and reserved Kelly is always happy to pose for a fan photo or sign his name for the millionth time. Carrying himself with dignity and pride, returning the well deserved honor to the sport of boxing.
When Kelly was defeated by Bernard Hopkins in 2008 it only went on to proved one thing, that Kelly is all heart. Every witness to his fight that night knew it, Kelly accepted his defeat as he does his victory with honor and pride. Win or loss fans will always believe in Kelly and what he has come to stand for, a sincere hometown hero just when they needed him. Kelly, a true champion who has earned the right to stand with greats.
When he isn’t fighting Kelly in true champion form gives tirelessly of his time to support local charities to help those in need. Such as the upcoming Pavlik Golf Outing for Akron Children's Hospital at Bedford Trails, August 7th, 2009.
In addition, his boxing career is only second in his life behind his family and the new arrival of his son. In a time in the modern boxing world when “back door” steroid use is common and even greater scandal threatens to further tarnish the reputation of boxing, Kelly emerges with the flavor of boxing days gone by. The days when “old school” was the only school.