Interview: Peter Manfedo Jr Wants That IBO Belt!
By Peter Mark Heintzelman, Photos by Peter Mark Heintzelman --This Thursday night, the Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island, hosts a world title boxing event, facing off The Pride of Providenceís Peter Manfredo, Jr. against The Contender champion, Sakio Bika, for twelve rounds scheduled, for the vacant IBO super middleweight title.
At age 27, the Providence super middleweight has been round the block, and more than once. In his career, that spans over eight years in length now, Peter has fought the best the boxing world has to offer, including bouts against world champions, Jeff Lacy, Sergio Mora, Alfonso Gomez, and Joe Calzaghe.. In his sixteen professional bouts fought within the borders of his home state of Rhode Island, Manfredo has racked up an impressive and undefeated 16-0, with 10 KOs to his record. Fighting this week against Bika, Manfredo Jr. seeks to extend his three wins by knockout record to four at the Dunk. As aspirational and exciting as that chance may appear, Peter may be in for the fight of his life, and this fight may well be the crossroads fight of the hometown favorite, as he will most likely re-examine his professional career following the outcome of Thursday nightís fight.
In the lionís den, his fatherís "Manfredoís Gym", in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, media week presented the press with an open workout, where Peter Jr., spent a few minutes with EastSideBoxing to discuss Thursday nights world championship fight:
EastSideBoxing: So, Peter, your 37th professional bout at age 27, and many against world class fighters, including Lacy, Gomez, Pemberton, Mora, and Calzaghe. Fights like those have got to cause a lot of premature wear and tear on your frame. Youíre at eight years and counting in the ring. I added up the number of your professional rounds of boxing to date, and youíve fought 200 rounds! How much more gas do you have?
Manfredo: A couple years ago, after my Spina fight, I thought I was in my prime. But then the Calzaghe kind of brought me down from there, and I had a terrible year after that. Then the Lacy fight kind of woke me up. I got more on the ball. I feel so great, and so much more confident. I had my eye on one prize, the world title. And now I have my shot on Thursday. I was immature when I fought Calzaghe in England before 35,000 people, my biggest fight to date. It was very intimidating. It was a lesson I learned. It was a premature stoppage, thatís for sure. But, I donít know if I would have beat him that night. I saw him the other night (against Roy Jones, Jr.) , and heís a great fighter. He will probably go down in history as one of the best fighters ever. After the Lacy fight, I know I can fight the best, and beat the best.
EastSideBoxing: What do you like about Sakio Bikaís style, and who have you been sparring with, to get ready for Thursday nightís fight?
Manfredo: I love Sakioís style. Heís just a banger, and he tries to come forward and knock you out with every punch. Its just an exciting fighter where heís not going to be backing up. And thatís the kind of fight you get pumped up for, because you know its going to be a war. Its in my hometown, and Iím very serious about this fight. I expect nothing less than a war. Iím definitely prepared. Iíve been sparring with a couple large amateurs, Maurice Cole, Thomas Fallowell, who throws nothing but right handers, about 200 punches a round. Jessie Brinkley, another strong, experienced middleweight. Edwin Rodriguez, tall, can box, is very sharp. I got fast guys, slow guys, Iíve looked at all of them, Iím great with all of them, and Iím ready!
EastSideBoxing: While you and Bika will have the same number of cornermen working your corner, what edge does it give you to have your thousands of fans pack the Dunkin Donuts Center to watch this title fight?
Manfredo: That means it all, you know. But, heís used to it too, you know - heís fought in everybodyís back yard. But just maybe, in the eighth or ninth round, if it goes that long, and weíre both worn out and tired, then those thousands of hometown chants might give me the second wind I need to capture the belt, and Iím glad to have them on my side!
EastSideBoxing: The IBO champions include the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, Chad Dawson, Jonathon Banks, Nonito Donaire, and Ricky Hatton. How important is it to you personally, and professionally, when the final bell rings Thursday night in Providence, for the referee to put the IBOís gold and green around your waist?
Manfredo: It means everything to me. Its everything Iíve been working for since I started boxing as a kid, at age 7. Professionally, thatís the goal you want to reach. It just means everything. I would love to put a word in to my friend, Chad Dawson, a IBO world champion, and I would like to be able to say to him after the fight: "Weíve both done it buddy!"
EastSideBoxing: Do you anticipate your fight Thursday evening, to go the entire twelve championship rounds, and why, or why not?
Manfredo: Iím prepared to go twelve. Heís wide open for the left hooks. My left hooks on the money. If I catch him with the hook, that would be good, but Iím not looking for it. Iím prepared to go the twelve. Iím just very excited, and what happens, happens.
EastSideBoxing: Does the fact that Sakio Bika has a couple inches in height and reach intimidate you, and how will you counter his advantages in these regards?
Manfredo: It doesnít intimidate me, I mean, everybodyís bigger than me! Lacy was bigger than me, he was muscular. Pemberton and Joey Spina were bigger than me. Iím not intimidated, Iím a fighter. This is like my last big shot. Bikaís not that big, heís like 6 and a half feet, it doesnít bother me at all.
EastSideBoxing: Its amazing to see the successes of so many father and son teams pairing up in the corners of the boxing ring, including the likes of the Hattons, the Calzaghes, and the Manfredos. What parts of your success over the years, do you owe to your father, and how does it feel going into a world championship bout, knowing Peter Manfredo, Sr., has been there for you from start to finish?
Manfredo: Well, I owe him everything, because if it werenít for him, I would have never boxed. I didnít have much of a childhood. Did I hate him for that? No. He kept me out of trouble, in the gyms, and off the street all my life. He made me a man. Iím mature for 27 years of age. I have seen the likes of others come and go. I owe everything to him. It would be nice for me to win this championship title, and we could share it together like a team.
EastSideBoxing: Any final words for yours fans at EastSideBoxing.com?
Manfredo: Yes, thank you very much for all your support; youíve never stopped believing in me from the start. Thursday night is a big night for all of us, and weíre going to get whatís coming to us! I want to thank my fans, and Thursday night is the night!
This Thursday nightsí world championship "Tried ad Tested" fight night, is promoted by the Tournament of Contenders in association with Jimmy Burchfieldís Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), will air nationally live on Versus television. In addition to the fantastic IBO super middleweight championship bout between Manfredo and Bika, the fight night features the attraction of Contender graduates, Grady Brewer (23-11, 13 KOís) against Cornelius "K9" Bundrage (28-3, 16 KOís) and Jaidon "The Don" Codrington (18-2, 14 KOís) , runner up in The Contender III facing Jameel "Black Gold" Wilson (13-14-3 (8 KOís) , a former WBF International middleweight Champion. Some of New Englandís most talented and popular fighters are scheduled to fight on the undercard including WBC World Youth and USNBC featherweight champion Matt "Sharp Shooter" Remillard (15-0, 8 KOs) faces Isander "Peachy" Beauchamp (5-0, 2 KOís) , super flyweight Isander "Peachy" Beauchamp (5-0, 2 KOs), Providence light welterweight Jesus Caro (2-0, 2 KOs versus Pawtucket light welterweight Diego Periera (1-0, 1 KO). Tickets, priced at $18.00, $23.00, $58.00, $79.00, $107.00 and $222.00, are on sale at the Dunkiní Donuts Center Box Office (401.331.6700) or through CES Boxing at 401.724.2253/2254 or www.cesboxing.com. Tickets will also be on sale through www.Ticketmaster.com, at all local Ticketmaster outlets by calling Ticketmaster direct at 401.331.2211 or 617.931.2000, as well as Manfredoís Gym in Pawtucket (401.723.1359), 401 Gym in Cranston (401.261.9800), Ballettoís Gym in Providence (401.641.9994), Elite Mixed Martial Arts (401.728.1356) and Ultimate Fitness in Bristol (401.253.3539). All fights and fighters are subject to change. For more information call 401.724.2253/2254 or go online to www.cesboxing.com, www.tournamentofcontenders.com or www.dunkindonutscenter.com. Doors open at 5:30 PM/ET, first bout 6:30 PM/ET. The Dunkin Donuts Center is located at One LaSalle Square, Providence, RI 02903.
Article posted on 11.11.2008
previous article: News: Futrell Wants Diaz; De La Hoya/Pacquiao 24/7; Emile Griffith Book
next article: Where Are They Now? Pinklon Thomas