Paul Spadafora (45-0-1) | The "Pittsburgh Kid" ReturnsWritten by Lee Cleveland
Former IBF lightweight champion Paul Spadafora (45-0-1) of Pittsburgh, PA will return to the ring August 18th after a two year hiatus.
The 36 year old southpaw who was mentioned as a possible opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr in years past will look to shake off some ring rust when he faces journeyman Wilfredo Negron (26-16-1) in Chester, West Virginia.
Nicknamed the "Pittsburgh Kid," Paul Spadafora (45-0-1, 19 KO) was once a young prospect with an extremely bright future.
He won 75 of 80 amateur bouts before turning pro in 1995. And four years later as the underdog, Spadafora won the IBF lightweight title by dominating Israeal Cardona.
In the same year, 1999, he engaged in a famous sparring session with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and apparently dominated the future fight legend. Mayweather himself seemingly acknowledged he got whopped but claimed to have been out of shape.
The "Pittsburgh Kid" would successfully defend his IBF Lightweight Title eight times, notching a win against the vaunted Angel Manfredy in 2002 in the process.
The lone blemish on Spadafora's record is his draw against then WBA Lightweight Champion Leonard Dorin (then 21-0) in a 2003 lightweight unification bout that was an exhilarating slug-fest which was fought primarily in the center of the ring. HBO's unofficial scorer Harold Lederman scored the fight 116-112 for Dorin, while HBO's color analyst Larry Merchant scored the fight 114-114.
Although he was often mentioned a possible opponent for Floyd Mayweather, a Mayweather vs Spadafora bout was seemingly never close to happening.
Hampered by personal problems, Paul didn't fight at all in 2005 and has fought sporadically against journeymen since 2006.
In October 2003, Spadafora was arrested and accused in the shooting of his pregnant girlfriend after an alleged argument broke out between the two over the paternity of the unborn child.
A year later, Paul was arrested again for running a car into a parked police cruiser while allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. And later that year, he was arrested again after a urine test showed traces of cocaine in his body. He pled guilty to cocaine charges and was jailed.
In 2005, Spadafora was sentenced to 21 to 60 months in prison for the attempted murder of his girlfriend but was paroled in April 2006 after a little over a year in prison and a boot camp.
Can the incredibly-gifted "Pittsburgh Kid" leave the demons of his past behind him and bounce back at 36? If he can, he will be an exciting addition to the already red hot jr welterweight and welterweight divisions.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.