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Paul Spadafora: A wasted career?

By Gav Duthie: Rod Salka looked a man well out of his depth on Saturday night as most of us expected but what did surprise me was that Paul Sadafora 49-1-1 (19) who is still an active fighter was training the “lightning rod”.

Spadafora “The Pittsburgh Kid” has one of the dullest careers in current boxing which is probably largely due to his hectic life outside the ring. Why didn’t he fight Danny Garcia on saturday night, at 38 years old if he wants any chance of being a top level fighter again he needs to act now. This article looks at the life of Spadafora and why perhaps we will never see the best of him. 


Despite 49 wins from 51 bouts Spada is possibly most well known for a dominant performance over Floyd Mayweather in sparring. The southpaw was constantly landing a body, right hook, left uppercut combination and really made Floyd look bad. This was 15 years ago but a fight between the two never materialized nor did any other mega fights. 

Turning Pro

Paul Spadafora had a fantastic amateur record of 75-5. His transition into the professional ranks was nearly stopped before it started as he was shot in the achilles tendon during a car chase by police when he was a passenger. He recovered well and turned pro in 1995 and won the IBF Lightweight title in 1999 his 27th straight win against Israel Cardona. His Mayweather show was also this year and after a few successful defences against the likes of Victoriano Sosa, Angel Manfredy and Dennis Pederson he was one of the poster boys for EA Sports new boxing game Knockout Kings 2001. 


This is where it all started to go wrong. He was probably lucky to draw a unification bout against the then unbeaten Leonard Dorin in May and was then in major trouble with the law in October. He was accused of shooting pregnant girlfriend Nadine Russo and was eventually charged with her attempted murder in 2004. In another incident he drove into a parked police car whilst inebriated with alcohol. After he went to jail in 04 he didn’t fight again for 32 months. 


Despite returning to the ring almost 8 years ago his comeback has went pretty much under the radar. He stopped Frankie Zepeda in November 06, then struggled to a split decision win over Oisin Fagan and since fought sporadically and against low key opposition.  He stopped fighting again in 2010 before another ring return in 2012 against dangerous Colombian journeyman Humberto Toledo. Despite his promoter Roy Jones Jnr (Square Ring Promotions) talking him up like he is the next pound for pound king Paul finally lost late in 2013 as he was outworked by Johan Perez who was recently defeated by Mauricio Herrera. 

He has had another comeback win last month but after being linked to a fight with Adrien Broner and on Saturday he was standing ten yards from Danny Garcia. He seems to be an extremely wasted talent for someone with so much natural talent and defensive qualities. At 38 I don’t expect him to ever become a world champion again. His personal problems, injuries and age have likely caught up to him but he should at least have one more crack at the world stage and if he doesn’t make it at least he will have finally taken a risk. 

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