This guy thinks he's cooler than Kelly Pavlik. He also uses Twisted Sister for his theme songs. Isn't he a bouncer at Shooter's?
The annual Arnold Sports Festival, held every March in Columbus, is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chance to take a break from being Arnold in California to celebrate being Arnold in Ohio.
He gets to chomp cigars and display his shit-eating grin as 17,000 athletes compete in such things as ping-pong, gymnastics, arm wrestling and, of course, bodybuilding. The Governator hands out checks totaling $320,000 to bodybuilding competitors, including $10,000 to the winner of the Most Entertaining Posing.
But during these festivities, there’s only room for one hero. And it’s not you, Kelly Pavlik, Ohio girly man…
That seemed to be the message to Youngstown’s middleweight champ, who was invited to Columbus to receive Arnold’s “Outside the Ring” award — one of those sports awards that includes words like “community,” “inspiration,” and “youth.” Pavlik, who recently announced his next fight against Welshman Gary Lockett in New York on June 7, is an apt candidate — the guy’s a rare bright spot in dilapidated Youngstown.
Unfortunately, Arnold is from California. Which means he doesn’t understand a middleweight champ is way cooler than the governor of a state where everyone wears ironic D.A.R.E. t-shirts without knowing that it makes them look like Carson Daley, only wimpier.
Pavlik arrived just before the scheduled ceremony at 12:30, and was hustled into a small area between stages where kickboxing and karate exhibitions were held. As an exceedingly gracious Ohio guy, he naturally cam bearing a gift -- a portrait of the boxer commissioned from Youngstown artist Ray Simon and stamped with a giant California state seal. Columbus native and former heavyweight champ Buster Douglas was also on hand to present Pavlik’s award.
But as the clock ticked toward 1 p.m., an Arnold lackey appeared to say that the governor was suffering from low blood sugar and would have to eat lunch first. Later Pavlik was told that Arnold needed a cigar break before the ceremony, because he apparently can’t smoke and hand out an award at the same time.
“’The PR lady kept saying, ‘20 minutes, 30 minutes,’” says a friend of Pavlik.
At first, the boxers waited patiently, but as the minutes turned to hours, the crew grew restless. Pavlik was enticed by the festival’s ping-pong competition. “He said, ‘Look, I’ll go check out the ping-pong, you can call me when Arnold’s ready,’” says the friend. “The dude loves ping-pong, man, and people flew here from all over the world to compete.”
But Arnold’s handler insisted he was on his way, and that Pavlik would have to stay put. His crew was given no chairs to sit on, and even leaving to go to the bathroom was difficult; the area was guarded by karate-themed festival employees. “They were like, ‘We need to keep this area on lockdown, because Arnold’s coming,’” says the friend. “They were wearing dojo outfits. I was like, ‘You ain’t secret service, man.’”
After three hours, Arnold’s rep relayed that the Governator was just going to check out the cheerleader competitions and then be right over. The patience of Pavlik and Douglas finally ran out. Pavlik handed the handler the portrait, and when offered his trophy, politely refused.
Pavlik’s friend summarizes it best: “Arnold managed to snub two legendary Ohio boxers in one fell swoop.” – Gus Garcia-Roberts