"The Pittsburgh Kid" Paul Spadafora (45-0-1, 19 KOs) is ready to make his return to the boxing ring. The undefeated former IBF lightweight title holder will take on Puerto Rican journeyman Wilfredo Negron (26-16-1, 19 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round welterweight comeback fight Saturday, August 18 at the Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino in Chester, W.Va.
Spadafora has had a very tumultuous life outside the ring, including a stint in prison, time in rehab and multiple arrests. Now, he says that's all behind him. "I just want to keep fighting and stay busy," Spadafora said.
The last time Spadafora's name made headlines was in the summer of 2011 when he was mentioned as a possible opponent for pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. Although that fight never happened, a lot of fight fans were clamoring to see the fight after watching the footage of the two sparring years ago, in which Spadafora got the better of Mayweather.
At nearly 37 years old, many would question how much Spadafora has left in the tank, but the Pittsburgh fighter feels as though his time away from the ring has preserved his body. "When I was away (from the ring) I was in prison, I was in rehab. I wasn't getting hit, I wasn't killing myself on workouts, so now I am able to get ready," Spadafora said.
Spadafora's trainer Tom Yankello, who has worked with the future Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr. in the past, said he feels the time away hasn't hurt his fighter. "He's got even more knowledge now and I think there are certain things he does even better than he did before," Yankello said. "If the best Paul comes to the table, we are ready to rock against anybody."
There are a lot of potentially lucrative fights for the undefeated Pittsburgh native. Besides a potential matchup with Mayweather, there is also the WBA and WBC Jr. welterweight champion Danny Garcia or WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi. "We would love to fight Garcia. That would be the fight I think is tailor made for Paul. We have always wanted to get a piece of Mayweather, but that'll come in time," Yankello said.
"That's a dream fight for me, he's the best fighter in the world right now," Spadafora said about a future fight with Mayweather. "If you're a fighter, then you want to fight the best, and I personally feel that I am the best when I am right."
Michael Walters is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.