Paul Spadafora

From Academic Kids

Paul Spadafora (born September 5, 1975) is a native of Pittsburgh who is a professional boxer. Spadafora was the IBF's world Lightweight champion.

Spadafora is a local hero in Pittsburgh. His fights there attract rather large amounts of considerably loud supporters, both male and female. One of his most loyal fans is his grandfather, who has gone to each of his bouts, both on the amateur and professional ranks.

Spadafora had a fruitful amateur career, winning 75 of the 80 bouts he participated in during that stage of his life as a boxer. His dreams of becoming a professional boxer were almost dashed before he could fight for money for the first time, however: In a confusing incident, Spadafora was shot in the achilles' tendon by a policeman. According to the official reports, Spadafora was travelling in a car that was driven by a friend. When his friend began to go over the speed limit, he was chased by a cop. Seeing as the driver refused to stop, the cop fired a shot, hitting Spadafora.

On October 18 of 1995, Spadafora was able to make his professional debut, with a four round knockout of Steve Maddux. He won a total of four fights in his initial year.

In 1996, he fought eight times, winning all, six by knockout. In 1997, he fought six times, but his percentage of knockout wins dropped considerably, when he only won two of those six bouts by knockout.

In 1998, he continued his winning ways throughout the year, winning all six bouts, three by knockout.

He began 1999 by raising his quality of opposition, facing the veteran Rocky Martinez. He won that fight by a unanimous decision, and after one more win, he and Israel Cardona met in Chester, for the I.B.F.'s vacant world crown on August 20. An underdog in the betting lines, Spadafora nevertheless became world champion, defeating Cardona by a 12 round decision. Then, he retained the title with an 11 round knockout of Renato Cornett to finish the year.

He opened 2000 with a 12 round decision over Victoriano Sosa to retain the title, and subsequently retained the title also against Mike Griffith, by knockout in round 11, and Billy Irwin, with a decision in 12 to close the year.

By the time 2001 rolled in, Spadafora was already a regular on the HBO Boxing television show. He retained the title with a 12 round decision over Joel Perez and won one non title fight that year.

He began 2002 retaining the title by beating Angel Manfredy with a 12 round decision. His only other bout that year was a 12 round decision win over Dennis Holbaek, also with his world title on the line.

In 2003, Spadafora and WBA world champion Leonard Dorin decided to meet to try to unify their world titles. They met on May 18, but the fight was declared a draw (tie), both boxers remaining as world champions in their respective organizations.

On June 27 of the same year, Spadafora announced he is relinquishing the IBF world Lightweight title, to move to the Jr. Welterweight division. He said he was having trouble making the Lightweight division's weight limit.

On October 29 of that year, Spadafora was arrested and acussed in the shooting of his girlfriend, Nadine Russo. Russo was shot while in a gas station on October 26. Spadafora was released after posting a $50,000 dollars bond.

Spadafora next fought on July 17 of 2004, knocking out Costa Rica's Francisco Campos in three rounds.

On September 7 of that year, he was arrested again, for running a car into a park while allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. At the same time, he announced that he and Russo are planning to get married.

On September 29, he had a failed suicide attempt. His personal troubles continued on December 11, when he was arrested after a urine test of his showed traces of cocaine in his body. On December 20, he pleaded guilty of the charges of drug using, and was jailed immediately.

Spadafora has a record of 37 wins, 0 losses and 1 draw, with 15 wins by knockout.

External link

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Can Spadafora rebound from rock bottom? (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05058/463277.stm)

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