Seeing as though both he and his opponent are from Rhode Island, Rich Gingras had the option of a coin flip to determine who would enter the ring last in his Friday night main event showdown against Peter Manfredo Jr.
In the name of fairness -- and respect -- Gingras deferred to the older, more experienced Manfredo, who has built a legacy in Rhode Island as "The Pride Of Providence," the Ocean State’s most beloved fighter since Vinny Paz passed the torch more than a decade ago.
"He deserves that," Gingras said at Thursday’s pre-fight weigh-in. "He’s earned it."
Tomorrow night, Gingras (13-3-1, 8 KOs) is hoping to earn something even greater, a signature win against the most prolific, celebrated opponent he’s ever faced. The Claremont, N.H., native, who now lives in Lincoln, R.I., will face Manfredo (39-7, 20 KOs) in the 10-round super middleweight main event of "Pride & Power" on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013at Twin River Casino.
The card, presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports, features five exciting bout, but none more highly-anticipated than the border war between Gingras and Manfredo, which could shift the balance of power in New England.
"This event is what boxing is all about," Burchfield said.
Both fighters made weight easily Thursday, with Manfredo clocking in at 168 pounds and Gingras tipping the scales at 169. This fight could be the last for Manfredo, who had planned on retiring after his win over Walter Wright in March, only to come out of retirement a third time after his friend and fellow Rhode Island boxer Gary Balletto suffered an accident in July that left him paralyzed.
Manfredo rose to fame during his heyday when he starred in Season 1 ofThe Contender reality television series, advancing to the finals before losing to Sergio Mora.
"What a job he did, not only for himself, but for boxing," Burchfield said. "The whole found out what he was all about."
A self-proclaimed blue-collar family man, Manfredo walked away from the sport twice before deciding to come back both times, most recently in November of 2012.
"I’m a blue-collar worker just like everyone else," he said, "but God gave me a gift as a fighter and I’m going to use that gift to provide for my family."
Gingras hopes to do the same while continuing to build his legacy in Rhode Island. This fight is a major jump from his previous bout against Providence’s Vladine Biosse, which ended in a draw, though it might not have happened had Biosse and Gingras come to terms on a potential rematch in September. Instead, Gingras agreed to Friday’s mega-bout with Manfredo, which could launch his career to new heights if he emerges victorious.
"Rich is a tremendous warrior," Burchfield said. "He never said no to Vladine Biosse and he never said no to Peter Manfredo."
The two fighters don’t share the same animosity Biosse and Gingras shared in the aftermath of their controversial draw, but neither side will exchange pleasantries once the bell rings. Tomorrow night, it’s all business.
"I have nothing but respect for Rich," Manfredo said. "He reminds of myself when I was younger. He’s a warrior. That’s why I prepared myself for this fight.
"We’re friends, but not tomorrow night. We both have a job to do."
November 21, 2013