EXCLUSIVE: 12 Rounds with ex-IBO Champion Peter Manfredo Jr.
Born in 1980 in Providence, Rhode Island, Peter Manfredo Jr made his professional debut in late 2000 after a promising amateur career. The second-generation fighter won numerous titles including the outstanding boxer award at the Junior Olympics and the New England Golden Gloves.
A decision victory over unbeaten Steve Garrett in his first pro fight was the catalyst for Peter to go on a 20 fight unbeaten run in the light-middleweight ranks, picking up the EBA, IBU and WBO NABO Titles along the way.
In 2004, Peter was one of sixteen middleweight boxers to be offered the chance to compete in a new television show for NBC called “The Contender” in which boxers face off against each other in five and seven round contests until one winner prevailed.
Peter took on Alfonso Gomez in his first contest and lost a unanimous decision meaning that he was eliminated from the competition in the first round and had lost his first professional fight.
When the late Jeff Fraza had to pull out of the competition with chicken pox, Peter was asked back and duly beat Miguel Espino to advance to the next phase.
Peter then beat Joey Gilbert on a technical decision after a clash of heads to set up a rematch with Gomez and a revenge win for Peter would advance him to the final match at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and a chance to become Contender Champion.
A tight bout saw Manfredo defeat Gomez unanimously over seven rounds 68-65, 67-66, 69-64 to avenge his only loss to date and move on to the final match-up against the impressive “Latin Snake” Sergio Mora.
The fight took place eight months after the semi-final and as Peter looked out of sorts against the unbeaten Mora, he went on to lose the final on points to take the runner-up spot.
Due to the public interest in the TV Series, the shows producers Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard quickly organised a rematch five months later but despite the bout being a lot closer, Peter lost again, this time on a split decision.
“The Pride of Providence” suffered the third loss of his career, but Peter had gained world-wide fame as a result of the tournament despite the losses he gained on his record.
Peter then took a short break until coming back in early 2006 at super-middleweight to record two third round knockout wins at the new weight and set up a surprise shot at WBO Champion Joe Calzaghe.
He travelled to Wales in April 2007 to face Calzaghe in his own backyard but came off second best and looked out of his depth against one of the greatest super-middleweight boxers of all time, losing in the third round.
This seemed to be a cross roads in Peter’s career – whether to move back down to middleweight or continue at super-middleweight. Peter decided on the latter and racked up two more wins within two months of losing to Calzaghe.
Manfredo Jr. looked better and more polished for the experience of being in the ring with Calzaghe and felt confident enough to take on former IBF Champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy in late 2007.
Although he looked the better technical fighter at times, Peter lost yet another close decision, this one over ten rounds to move to 29-5.
Peter swiftly got back to business in March 2008, beating Shane Benfield and Luis Lopez in quick succession before knocking out Donny McCrary in two rounds to set up his second world title challenge.
He would face ironically another Contender Series Champion in Sakio Bika, who won the third series almost one year prior to defending his IBO Super-Middleweight Title against Manfredo Jr in November 2008.
It was another world title setback for Peter as he was knocked out in the third round of the contest, just as he was against Calzaghe in his previous world title quest.
Peter would fight two more times at super-middleweight, both impressive stoppage wins over seasoned campaigners before moving back down to middleweight to totally dominate Matt Vanda over ten rounds in early 2010.
Four months later and Peter had another world title chance as he was matched up with Angel Hernandez for the vacant IBO middleweight title previously vacated by Anthony Mudine.
The bout took place at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut and Peter’s determination not to lose a third world title challenge saw him through and after an impressive tenth round knockout, Peter was finally crowned champion of the world.
It was an assured performance by Manfredo Jr., which he backed up with two assured victories, one against Jhon Berrio and the other against Daniel Edouard after losing he title for not facing the mandatory challenger.
Manfredo now takes on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on November 19th in Texas as he looks to gain the sports biggest prize, the coveted WBC belt.
The former IBO Middleweight Champion’s record now stands at 37-6-0 with 20 KO’s.
Peter took time out to answer questions for our “12 Rounds ” with series.
(ROUND 1) How did you first get into boxing Peter?
“I have no choice really Phil, My father started a gym in my great grandfather’s basement, I had my first fight in 1988 and the rest is history.”
(ROUND 2) What was your Amateur record?
“Not really sure of the exact record but I had over 165 fights and won over 100 of them, I only lost to the best fighters.”
(ROUND 3) Who influenced you as a young boxer?
“Vinny Paz and my father who was a kickboxing world champion.”
(ROUND 4) Toughest opponent you have faced?
(ROUND 5) Who would you want to fight in the future?
“Maybe Kelly Pavlik, but Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was a fight I had already wanted before he was champion. I will fight where the money is.”
(ROUND 6) Which fight do people ask you about most?
“I always get asked about the Sergio Mora rematch.”
(ROUND 7) Best fight you have seen?
“Gatti v Ward I.”
(ROUND 8) What were your emotions when you claimed the IBO World Title?
“I was so happy and excited about reaching one of my goals and finally becoming a world champion.”
(ROUND 9) What’s your motivation?
“My motivation has always been and always will be my family, my wife and kids. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
(ROUND 10) What would you change in Boxing?
“There are many things that i would change in the game, for one, the fighter should make the most money, not the promoters, not the managers and certainly not the people who believe that there entitled without doing anything.
“The fighter is the one in there abusing his body to make a payday to feed his family.”
11. Mayweather or Pacquiao?
12. Tell us something we don’t know about Peter Manfredo Jr?
“I love bonding with the old-timers like my grandparents and hearing stories of how things used to be. I feel that I should have been born in the 50’s or something.”