Exclusive Interview With “The Pride Of Providence” - Peter Manfredo Junior: “I Never Gave Up!”

peter manfredo jrBy James Slater: As fans know, Peter Manfredo Junior came up short in his recent challenge of WBC middleweight champ Julio Cesar Chavez Junior - even if the 5th-round TKO stoppage “The Pride of Providence” lost by was seen by practically everyone as a premature stoppage to a good fight.

A man of his word, Peter promised he’d retire if he never won. Now, looking ahead to the rest of his life, the warrior who gave his all in an exciting, up and down 11-year pro career bows out with his head held high.

Very kindly taking the time to speak with me just three days after his loss in Houston, the former “Contender” had the following things to say:

James Slater: It’s always great to be able to speak with you, Peter - even at this time, after you lost the big one and are going to retire.

Peter Manfredo: Okay, my friend.

J.S: My first question: is this really the end? Will You definitely retire?

P.M: Yeah, it’s been a long road, and I’ve had a good career - not a great career - but a good career. It’s time to be a father and stay home.

J.S: There’s no way you will change your mind; obviously that’s a tough question - but as of now, there’s no way you’ll come back as so many fighters do?

P.M: As of now, I’m definitely retired from boxing. I’ll always be a fighter in life; that’s how I came up. But I’ll go back to being a labourer, and a husband and father. I’ll be home at dinner time and be there for my kids. There is nothing more important in life than your family.

J.S: Talking about the Chavez Jr. fight - he boxed in the first three-rounds.

P.M: He did. He fought differently than I thought he would, actually. He did box. I was the one who had to chase. I knew I’d get to him eventually, and I did in the 4th, but he caught me and that’s boxing.

J.S: Many, many people - the top writers, the fans - they all say it was a premature stoppage in the 5th. You hurt him , he came back and hurt you, but all his follow-up shots missed the mark. Did you think that as soon as it happened?

P.M: I was a little bit out of it at the time of the punch he caught me with; he caught me around the ear, kind of at the back of my head, and my equilibrium was a bit off. But my feet were back under me when he [the ref] stopped it. I knew I was fighting in hostile territory going in, and I knew that any excuse they had to stop it, they’d do it. I knew I was never gonna get a break on the score-cards. But I walked onto a shot and that’s that. I have no complaints. I knew what I was going into.

J.S: Do you feel they stop fights too quickly these days?

P.M: Yeah, I do. And I know that’s why I can’t box anymore. This new school of boxing, with sharp guys; Olympians - it’s not for blood and guts guys like me. The sport has changed and it’s sad. I mean, if they’d stopped the first Gatti-Ward fight, we’d have never seen those three great, epic fights. But I can walk away knowing I gave my all each and every time out; that I never gave up. That’s why I think the ref stopped it when he did [the Chavez fight] - because he knew I’d never give up.

J.S: How good is Chavez Junior?

P.M: He’s a good fighter, stronger than I expected. But I had to take chances to win the fight, and that meant leaving myself open. But I have nothing against Chavez; I hope he reigns for a long time. I hurt him in the 5th and he cane back at me, so he does have heart; he does have balls. I give him nothing but credit.

J.S: You seem to have dealt with the bad stoppage better than some fans have, including me! What one word would you use to describe the way you are feeling right now, Peter; having come to the end?

P.M: Content is the word I think I’d choose. Three years ago, before I moved down to 160, I knew I wasn’t done, that I still had more to do in boxing. But now, after those three years, and after climbing back to championship contender status, I’ve accepted that I’ve done all I could. As far as fighters from Rhode Island, there’s only me and Vinny Paz who have got this far.

J.S: You walk away with a fine and honourable 37-7(20) career. What would you say was your proudest moment?

P.M: It’s hard to pinpoint, but I think the win over Angel Hernandez (a 10thround TKO win for Manfredo in May of 2010) and those six wins in a row. They put me back on HBO and they put me back in title contention. You know, lots of fighters can lose, but not everyone can come back. I’m very proud of that.

J.S: Of all the great fighters you fought, who was the very best?

P.M: Joe Calzaghe!

J.S: Hands down?

P.M: Hands down! He is one of the best fighters to have ever laced up gloves in my opinion. It was a real privilege to have fought him in front of 35,000 people.

J.S: It’s been a real privilege being able to call you up all these times, Champ - and I still call you Champ! Will you still be around boxing - as in a commentator role, etc - or will you make a clean break?

P.M: It’s hard to say right now, but I think I’ll make a clean break. If a commentating position were offered to me I’d seriously think about it. But right now I’m looking forward to spending time with my family.

J.S: It’s been great watching your fights over the years, Peter. You certainly did your bit for boxing. In fact, many experts - and I think the only real experts are you guys, the fighters who climb into the ring and hit and get hit for a living - say you achieved more than they thought you would.

P.M: Thanks. I want to be remembered as a guy who always gave his all, a blood and guts warrior who tried his best and did all he could.

J.S: No doubt. Thanks and best wishes for retirement and for the rest of your long life, Champ!

P.M: Thank you, my friend.

Article posted on 23.11.2011

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