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#1
Old 08-05-2009, 04:36 AM
The Buzz
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Default New Travis Kauffman Article

Travis Kauffman prepares for the future
By Gabriel Montoya
http://www.maxboxing.com/Gabriel/Montoya080509.asp



Twenty-three year old heavyweight prospect Travis Kauffman (17-0 with 14 KOs) is no stranger to the ups and downs of the fight game. Raised in the sport by his father and trainer Marshal Kauffman, young Travis has been a part of boxing his whole life. He watched as his father took Cintron from a promising but raw amateur to his first world title fight and then watched the relationship crumble as Cintron moved onto other pastures following his first loss to Antonio Margarito. Hard work and hard lessons were a part of every day life and Kauffman took notice even if those lessons couldn’t truly be learned until he was faced with tests of his own.

Kauffman, despite having only a four year amateur career, compiled a 52-12 record and left the amateurs ranked number one in the US. Faced with a choice between staying amateur and trying for an Olympic berth and turning pro, it was ultimately his burgeoning family that helped him make the decision.

“There are so many politics in the amateur game and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick around for the Olympics or what,” Kauffman would tell me from Muhammad Ali’s old haunts on Deer Lake where he is training for his upcoming August 7 bout on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights live from Buffalo Bill’s Star Arena in Primm, Nevada. “At the time my girlfriend was pregnant with my first son. So I had to make a choice of $500 a month for a stipend or try and go out and make a living at boxing. So I turned pro and here I am today.”

Kauffman’s career began with a bang as he rattled off win after win. He fought seven times in 2006 and kept his undefeated streak going with 3 victories in 2007. But Kauffman’s promising career would take a turn for the worse when he was accused of rape by a local girl. After firing a lawyer who advised him to settle for a plea bargain, Kauffman would eventually be acquitted under the counsel of a new lawyer. But it during this dark 14 months that Kauffman, who had been a rebellious and wild kid, finally faced himself and in his words “grew up.” While he had been successful to that point, the tumultuous period revealed all that was truly important in his life.

“The whole time I knew I was innocent,” he explained. “But I came close to losing my son. My son at the time was a year and half. I was thinking ‘Man, I am going to lose everything.’ Thank God I found another lawyer and got everything situated. But when I was going through this and I got that second chance in life and in the fight game and everything else, it taught me discipline. It was one thing I never had coming out of the amateurs because I thought I was unbeatable. I thought ‘I’m number one in the country, can’t anyone beat me.’ I had money thrown at me. And I was like ‘I don’t need to work.’ I was 20 years old when I turned pro. I had a little bit of money. It was a lot of money for a 20 year-old. Coming from nothing. Not even a pot to piss in. I had X amount of dollars. I thought ‘Can’t nobody beat me. And I don’t have to train.’ I would train two or three weeks before a fight.”

Before the accusations, the sky had appeared to be the limit. But success has a way of clouding your judgment and making you complacent. Kauffman had fallen victim to both those things and it nearly cost him not only his freedom but his life. Under the stress of the impending trial, Kauffman turned to food as comfort. Out of training camp and with a potential prison sentence looming, he would balloon 80 pounds from his normal 225 in a mere 3 months.

“My drug of choice was food,” said Kauffman. “I don’t do drugs. While I was stressing all I could do was eat. After I was done eating, I would eat more. I would be full and want to eat again. It was bad. I literally felt my body stretching. That’s when I knew this has got to stop.”

Adversity always reveals your true character as well as your true friends and this situation proved no different for Kauffman. He credits both his father and his girlfriend, Crystal Smith, for helping get through the roughest time of his young life.

“The other day, my dad was going through some old amateur tapes from when I was fifteen years old,” Kauffman recalls. “The first thing I asked him was ‘That’s me?’ And he was like ‘Yeah.’ And then I asked him ‘What did you see in me? What made you want to continue to work with me?’ He said ‘Because I seen something.’ I was like ‘What? There’s nothing there. I looked terrible.’ So I have to thank my father for being so hard on me. Even though I still think sometimes he is too hard on me. We have our ups and downs like any father-son relationship. It’s more like a father/son/trainer relationship. Sometimes out of the gym he is still my trainer instead of being my father. It gets tough but I have to thank him because without him I wouldn’t know where I’d be today.”

“[Crystal and I] have our ups and downs,” he continues. “But when we argue . . . I can’t even argue with her because she was there through the worst part. The biggest downfall of my life and she was by my side. Hand in hand. The day I got acquitted from court she was there. When the first lawyer said to take the plea bargain, she was there. She was going to be by my side whether I went to jail or not and I am so thankful for her. She’s definitely a keeper.”

So with his team and family in place, Kauffman has once again set his sights on building himself up as a fighter. Since he returned to the sport in June of 2008, Kauffman has had seven knockouts in seven fights. He describes his style as that of a “boxer-counter puncher. I like to be on my toes a little bit, kind of dance around.”

One of Kauffman’s strengths is his ability to finish off an opponent.

“It’s one of best assets,” he says. “When I hurt someone, it’s over.”

But unlike say a Mike Tyson or Tito Trinidad who pinpoints you and lands that thudding bomb that turns out your lights, Kauffman has his own theory on how to get the stoppage.

“When I hurt somebody I try and throw a lot of punches,” he explains. “I don’t try and knock a guys head off. I just think it’s easier for the ref to jump in there and stop it. If I am throwing a lot and the other guy isn’t throwing back he can jump in. It’s easier than loading up and missing and maybe getting countered by something.”

For his upcoming opponent, which was changed just this week to Williams Shahan (7-1 with 6 KOs), Team Kauffman has moved training camp to Deer Lake for both its seclusion and rugged terrain but also out of convenience. It is here under the guidance of his father and strength and conditioning coach Errol Washington that the young fighter is honing his craft and preparing for contender status.

“It’s convenient for my father because he runs his own business,” explains Kauffman. “Our hometown is 45 minutes from Deer Lake in Reading, Pennsylvania. My dad had used it for Kermit Cintron when Kermit was getting ready for Teddy Reid. And we just know the history of up here. After my runs in the morning, he will go to town and do his work. Then he’ll come back up at night time for the gym and stay overnight. And do it all over again in the morning.”

In the seclusion of Deer Lake, Kauffman and his newfound discipline are tackling new challenges and a new way of training.

“I wake up at 6:30 in the morning Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday, and do a 3 mile run,” he said. “It’s all uphill. It sucks. I hate it. But it’s a heckuva run. I’m actually pushing for four miles this week. Tuesday and Thursdays we do sprints. Though I am cutting back on those getting close to the fight. Then Monday, Wednesday, Friday, my strength and conditioning coach comes and we work as well.”

Kauffman credits Washington with helping take off the 80 pounds he had put on during his time off from boxing. While he is down to 230 as of the morning we spoke, he admits that no one will ever accuse him of being Mr. America. And he’s ok with that.

“[Washington’s] another guy I have to thank for this turning point in my career as far as how my body is,” Kauffman’s said. “I don’t think I will ever have a six-pack. I don’t think I will ever have a picture perfect body. But I’m not in this business to look good. I’m in this business to hurt people and win fights.”

While he is facing a last minute replacement of a fighter he was most likely being showcased against, as a prospect Kauffman understands where is in the sport and how important these building block fights are. While these are often times developmental fights, Kauffman feels his new take on his work will have him prepared for anything. At 23, he feels he is only growing and getting better.

“These are stepping stones,” Kauffman explained. “Something to learn off of. I don’t care who I fight. You can put me in with whomever and I will say yeah. It’s not up to me who I fight. You could put me in with the Klitschkos and I would say ‘Yeah’ because that is the nature of me as a fighter. I train for everybody the same way. I train like I am fighting Mike Tyson. I don’t take anyone lightly. After all I went through, I had to learn. Really, I just grew up. I am pretty technically sound but I have a lot to learn. I’m 23 years old and that’s why I am not in a rush. Look at all the champions. They are all over 30 years old. Heavyweights, something about us we don’t start maturing until we’re 27, 28 years old. We don’t get our so-called man strength until then. So when I get my man strength, everyone better watch out.”
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#2
Old 08-05-2009, 04:37 AM
The Buzz
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Looking back at all he has overcome, Kauffman reflects on what he has learned and how that lesson fuels him now.

“What I feed off now is the negativity that people talk about me,” he explains. “It drives me to want to work even harder. I was always afraid of failure. So I would never really give it my all because I was afraid if I gave it my all and failed anyways then why did I even try? Well, I learned through this entire situation that you will never know unless you try.”
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#3
Old 08-05-2009, 08:18 AM
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i like ur avatar - zab191 
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Get that pedohile out of boxing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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