Thursday, October 02, 2008

Rust Belt Chic: Kelly Pavlik

Part nostalgia, part grit, and all Rust Belt Chic, boxer Kelly Pavlik is the face of more than Youngstown:

When Pavlik wore a "Defend Youngstown" T-shirt in a documentary that aired on SportsTime Ohio, the T began selling in Cleveland. Then Midwest chic went viral after the shirt popped up in the pre-fight profile before his January 2007 HBO debut. Since then, stories in Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have all advanced the legend: Pavlik personally defends Youngstown, sledgehammer in hand, city on his shoulders, carrying it to a brighter future.

I wear a "Defend Youngstown" T-shirt around Longmont, CO. The iconography is a catalyst for conversations about the revitalization of the Postindustrial Heartland. I'm not just Erie proud or Pittsburgh proud. I'm Rust Belt proud.

I appreciate the urban jingoism among Detroit expatriates or Cincinnati aficionados. But defending Youngstown should be of mega-regional interest. A remarkable renaissance in the Mahoning Valley would give the rest of the world cause to reconsider their perception of the Rust Belt. And Kelly Pavlik is leading the way.

1 comment:

Youngstown Nation said...

Thanks, Jim. Defend Youngstown!

Phil Kidd

P.S. Just a remider to your readers that if you'd like to see Kelly in action, his next fight will Oct. 18th 9pm (HBO Pay-Per-View) against former middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins live from Atlantic City. Should be a great one. Also, if you live in the Cleveburgh region and would like to take in an authentic Youngstown/Pavlik fight night experience, come to The Royal Oaks (oldest bar in all of Youngstonw). Defend Youngstown will be purchasing Pabst Blue Ribbon for all patrons from 9pm-12am.