Heavyweights Amir “Harcore” Mansour of Wilmington, DE, and Travis “My Time” Kauffman of Reading, PA in their last bouts were not listed as in elimination for a title fight that I am aware of. Both lost their bouts and both winners got world title fights.
Mansour, 22-2-1 (16) though age 43 and turning 44 on Monday has been one of the most feared heavyweights since his comeback in August of 2010 after a near 10 years of inactivity. He won 11 straight bouts with 9 by stoppage. In his first career loss he had former 2-time Cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham on the deck twice in the fifth round. IBHOF Referee Steve “Double SS” Smoger known to let the fighters fight unlike too many referees allowed Cunningham to continue though many referees would have waved it off. Cunningham went onto knockdown Mansour in the last round and go onto win a ten round decision. This writer felt the fight could have gone either way.
Mansour would go onto win his next two fights over Fred Kassi, 18-2 and Philly’s Joey Dawejko in Philly. Then in his bout before the Dominic Breazeale bout he received what most felt his opponent Gerald Washington was fortunate to get a draw. Washington is currently No. 14 in the WBC rankings.
Then comes Mansour’s bout with Breazeale who was world ranked in the IBF rankings and despite a title loss to Anthony Joshua is still ranked No. 15 in the IBF. Mansour wins all five rounds with Breazale picking himself up off the canvas in round three. Suddenly to us viewing the bout Mansour cannot continue. What we didn’t know at the time is that earlier in the fight Mansour’s tongue was cut acquiring some 38 stitches per Mansour to this writer. His cut-man Danny Davis said “the blood was coming out so much in the dressing room even when he was on his back!” He told this writer that. Ever bite your tongue? Can you imagine fighting with 38 stitches in your tongue?
So instead of Mansour going onto win even if he lost the last five rounds he still wins due to the knockdown. New IBF champion Joshua decides to keep busy so he fights Breazeale and scores a pair of knockdowns in the seventh round forcing the referee to halt the bout in Joshua’s favor. It’s doubtful that Joshua lost one round up until the stoppage. Would Joshua then defended against the dangerous southpaw Mansour if he had defeated Breazeale? It’s very doubtful. A rematch with Gerald Washington 18-0-1 (12) who has posted wins over Philly’s Eddie Chambers by decision and a knockout over come backing former contender Ray Austin is in the making. Mansour and Washington fought to a split decision draw in October of 2015 with both fighters getting the nod and the other judge calling it a draw. This writer felt Mansour deserved the win.
AMIR MANSOUR: When I won the WBO NABO a title shot was to come and it didn’t. When I won the USBA title it was to come but it didn’t. When it all came down his hand was raised. I was told before that fight by PBC I was the most exciting fighter they had on Fox.
Then we have the case for Kauffman in his bout with Arreola. This writer predicted just the opposite how both boxers fought and the ending. Arreola comes out boxing instead of his usual rugged style of fighting. Kauffman, 30-1-1ND (22) comes out fighting right in front of Arreola. Kauffman drops Arreola in the third round. Arreola’s best weapon upon getting up from the canvas the rest of the fight was of all things “his jab!” Seemingly well ahead it’s not Arreola running out of gas the last three rounds it was Kauffman. “I thought I won the tenth round,” said Kauffman. If he did he would have won the fight since it was split with 114-113 scores by two of the judges in favor of Arreola and one 114-113 in favor of Kauffman.
This writer is one of the few people in talking with fight fans since they felt Kauffman won I thought the fight could have gone either way for it was that close. Especially with the knockdown it couldn’t be called a draw. After the fight Arreola fails a drug test due to a banned substance making his win a ND. So Arreola goes up to No. 9 in the WBC rankings and though admitting he didn’t deserve a title fight fought the WBC champion Deontay Wilder recently. The fight itself was awful. It was an embarrassment to call it a world heavyweight title bout with Wilder showboating and not very good at it. Though Wilder said afterwards he broke his hand and probable torn biceps. The round or rounds this happened is not clear. He did have Arreola down in the fourth though it wasn’t a devastating one.
Both Arreola and Kauffman were friends before and after the fight. Kauffman was in camp with Arreola earlier in his career. I have also seen Arreola come in from CA to attend one of Kauffman’s bouts in PA. If Kauffman got the win would Wilder chose him to defend against? Since Wilder has defended against No. 12, two No. 9’s and a No. 5 anyone but in the top four could have gotten the shot. Povetkin has been No. 1 ever since Wilder won the title over a year ago. It would certainly be his toughest opponent up until now.
A rematch with Arreola and Kauffman is doubtful since they are good friends. Beating Arreola now would not mean anything. His career may have ended with his last performance. At 30 Kauffman is still young enough to come back and has a fight scheduled in his hometown of Reading, PA, possibly in September promoted by his father Marshall and partner David Feldman of King Promotions. Be nice to see him in with one of the contenders of either the IBF or WBC.
TRAVIS KAUFFMAN: My opinion doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day I didn’t get that title shot which I deserved. I never used an illegal substance. I never disrespected the sport of boxing and to top it off when I fought Chris I beat him. However I’m happy for Chris that he got that opportunity, but just like every other opportunity he’s gotten he blew it. I’d like a rematch with Chris but I think he should retire. He is a friend of mine and his well-being to me is very important. He needs to enjoy his life with his kids. I’m excited to be back in Reading, PA, on September 9th. There’s no place like home! I’m on the road to the championship of the world and first stop is Reading, PA, and I’m coming through like a train on the Reading Railroad!