By Jack Price @PriceyJ97.
Things looked bright for 'The Pride Of Providence' Peter Manfredo Jr when he came out of the 2005 Contender Series a more popular fighter than ever and with a bigger fan base than he may have ever expected. And for three or four years he did live the life of a "mainstream" boxer but now he faces what he believes is the "inevitable" outcome for any professional boxer.
Manfredo returns this weekend at the Twin River Event Center when he takes on Walter Wright (14-3, 7 KO's) in a 10-round contest. His comeback began back in November of last year with a unanimous decision victory Rayco Saunders, and the 32-year old believes this next fight can get him back to where he wants to be. A win is a must for Manfredo at this stage of his career, and he is certain he can get that. But this time his lifestyle are preparations are a bit different to his fights back in the day with the likes of Joe Calzaghe and Jeff Lacy.
A normal day now for Manfredo begins at 4 with the 32-year old going off to his day-job in Boston. He then travels 50 or so miles back to Rhode Island for a few hours of training with each session becoming longer and tougher as fight night grows near. After a long and tiring day he then heads home to Connecticut with his wife and kids before doing it all again the next day. Balancing life as a laborer and professional boxer is a tough ask for any man but Manfredo believes it is worth it if it means he doesn't have to go through the plagued aftermath that many retired boxers do.
"There are no happy endings, not even for the best fighters in the world," said Manfredo. "Joe Louis died broke. Sugar Ray Robinson died broke. Muhammad Ali is like a vegetable now. There are no pensions or retirement funds. Why do we keep fighting? We're living within our means when we're fighting. When you're not fighting, how do you make ends meet?"
Manfredo went on to explain that his comeback is just "for the extra money."
"I'm probably the one percent that that's made it to where I've been. I've fought some of the best fighters in the world. I fought Joe Calzaghe in front of 30,000 in Wales. I fought Sakio Bika, I fought Jeff Lacy, I fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. I've fought on HBO, ESPN - all over the world. I won a world title (IBO). If it were to end today, it'd be perfect."
"Now I'm just doing it for the extra money. Its a trade, like when guys fought during the great depression. God gave me this gift and I'm going to use it. I'll do it until I can't do it anymore."
The former world-title challenger & Contender Series fan favorite is still excited about climbing between those ropes in just a few days.
"I feel good," he added. "I've been in the gym a lot, whereas before when I was preparing for the last fight I hadn't been in the gym for a year. I definitely feel an improvement. Things are a lot better than last time... I'm getting it done. I'm excited for this fight!"