Born on October 30th, 1974 (the date of the legendary “Rumble In The Jungle”), Angel Manfredy was born to fight. And fight hard, and often Manfredy did. Packing in over 50 fights during his 11-year pro career – Angel winning 43 of them, to 8 losses and a draw – the warrior from Indiana was hugely popular in his prime years. Fans knew they would see Manfredy give his all when he fought.
Going in with, amongst others, Floyd Mayweather, Arturo Gatti, Diego Corrales, Calvin Grove, Ivan Robinson, and Paul Spadafora, Manfredy thrilled fans with his heroics.
Recently, the hugely religious Manfredy was kind enough to look back on his ring career.
On his best wins:
“My best win was definitely the Arturo Gatti fight. When I beat Gatti (Manfredy getting a stoppage win in 8 rounds in January of 1998), I beat the peak, Arturo Gatti. I told him before the fight that it wouldn’t go the distance. I cut him, and I knocked him down with a nasty left hook. I was surprised he got up from that, but he was a warrior. That fight, looking back, was probably me at my peak too. I was also pretty good against Ivan Robinson. He spoke so much trash, and I went right through him like he was nothing (Angel winning a UD in April of 1999).”
On the hardest puncher he ever faced:
“The hardest puncher I fought was probably Gatti. I had to take some real, real shots in that fight. But I was in the zone, and I was focused. His left hook hurt me to the head, and that rocked me. Gatti also hurt me to the body, also with his left hand. It was the 4th-round, I think, and he shook me up with body shots. I had to soak it up, and I did so. Also, what no-one really knew at the time was, I’d broke my right hand, and for the last two rounds, I was in pain from that. So I had to contend with Gatti’s power and his aggression, and with the hand pain. It was tough.”
On his second-round stoppage loss to Floyd Mayweather in December of 1998:
“I really beat myself in that fight, by making 130-pounds. I killed myself making weight when I knew I should’ve moved up to lightweight and stayed there. Going into the fight with Floyd, I was the name; I didn’t know who he was at the time – at all. I said to the promoters that I couldn’t make 130-pound any more, but they sent me some money, and that made me think twice. So I took the fight, and I definitely think it was stopped prematurely. I was defending myself, my hands were up, but I think there were politics involved; what with his boxing family. He was expected to win that fight.”
On how tough Gatti really was:
“Gatti, in our fight, he hit me with everything, I had the hand injury, and we were both at our very best. It was more than just my heart that won that fight – it took everything I had. Everything. At that time, I was at the point in my career where I simply had to overcome every obstacle that was in my way. That fight was also a mentally tough fight. Boxing is mostly mental anyway. When they stopped it [due to Gatti’s cut eye], I already knew I was going to win, despite how tough and draining the fight was. I’d have won somehow; I was just so hungry and so determined. But Gatti was great, the toughest man I ever shared a ring with.”
On being content with his career:
“I’m content in retirement. I can remember my last fight against a guy called Craig Weber (LU10 in 2004). I went the distance, but I’d cut him real bad, with blood all over, and then he got the decision. Then, as I was in my corner, I heard a voice. I knew straight away whose voice it was; it was Jesus Christ. He told me that was it, and I knew I was done. I never had any second thoughts at all. I told my family I was done. I knew I’d never fight again.”