Looking To Bring Hope To The Future Of The Heavyweight Division
If by chance the last name Kauffman rings a bell, that could be because Travis Kauffman is the son of well known trainer Marshall Kauffman. The difference between the two is that while Marshall applies his craft outside the ring, teaching fighters what they need to make it to the top of this business as a professional, Travis takes care of his business inside the ring. Currently sporting a 7-0 (5) record, Travis and his father/trainer Marshall have set a path set towards the top of the heavyweight division.
After a five year run in the amateurs that ended with an impressive 52-12 record. Travis "The Great White Hope" Kauffman decided to turn pro in January, 2006. Since that time, he has kept himself busy, fighting seven times in less than 12 months and taking out all but two of his opponents before the final bell. Those who did not make it to the end fell in less than three rounds, not a bad start for the 21 year old Pennsylvania native.
Of course, Kauffman has had the benefits needed to be successful in this sport today. Over the last few years, he not only competed as a top amateur but has gained valuable experience by sparring with some of the sport's top heavyweights, including former two time world champion Hasim Rahman and current WBC kingpin Oleg Maskaev.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with the young hopeful about his career, state of the heavyweight division and plans for the future.
SaddoBoxing: Thanks for giving us a moment of your time Travis, I know you're busy getting ready for your upcoming fight in Rochester, New York on February 2. How is training going? Do you feel ready?
Travis Kauffman: "I feel ready. I still have some weight to take off, about 15 pounds or so. I just had my longest layoff, so I put on a little more weight than I wanted to. By fight time, I will be ready".
SB: Since your debut last year, you've kept a busy pace; this will be your eighth fight in just a little over 12 months. Is there any method to your staying so busy or do you just want to make sure that you keep active?
TK: "Well, this has been my longest layoff. I am ready to fight again and I want to fight another seven or eight times in 2007, then hopefully get a shot at the WBU title later this year."
SB: You had a good amateur career that ended with a 52-12 record. During that time, you competed in some big tournaments, gaining a lot of experience in the process. How long were you an amateur?
TK: "About 4-5 years".
SB: I was looking at your record and I noticed in your debut, you weighed 242 lb. Since then, you've come in weighing about 225 lb or so. Do you feel better at the lower weight? In an era of super heavyweights, do you think that may be a little light when the average weight of today's powerhouses is around 250?
TK: "225 is better for me: I'm in better shape. In my last few amateur fights, I was coming in at about 268 lb or so. That was the heaviest I ever weighed. I trained my ass off, dropped the weight and feel better then ever in the ring. I want to stay between 225-235 lb, that is my ideal weight."
SB: You're coming up on only your eighth pro fight, yet you've already sparred with some of the division's best. You helped get Rahman ready for his rematch with Maskaev earlier this year, that says a lot for a young fighter just starting to get his feet wet as a pro. Did you learn anything by sparring Rahman? What did that tell you about yourself, being able to go in and work with a two time world heavyweight champion?
TK: "Since I was an amateur, I've been getting that top notch sparring and I've been in with some big guys. I've sparred with Malik Scott, Hasim Rahman and Maskaev, to name a few. So being in with these type of fighters is nothing new to me."
SB: If by some chance you were offered a shot at one of the current title holders tomorrow and had to choose one, who would it be?
TK: "I wouldn't care, any one of them."
SB: I guess that if you're offered a shot at the title, it doesn't matter who it's against, just as long as it's a shot, right?
SB: But, if you had to pick one of the four and the decision was all yours, who would you pick?
TK: "I don't really know. Maybe Oleg? Most likely, it would be Valuev if the choice was mine. He is tall and slow. Most guys are intimidated by him and his size before the fight even starts. I've watched his fights; most guys go about it all wrong, they avoid him. I would use my speed, go after him, get off then move out of the way. Not just stand and try to box with him, hoping to land a big shot. I would turn it into more of a street fight, something he's not used to. He's not that good."
SB: Your father is a well respected trainer in this sport and right now, he currently trains you. Over the past few years, we've had some of the sport's top fighters being trained by their fathers. Mayweather, Trinidad, Judah, Mosley....etc. One way or another, it has caused some type of problem. Do you feel that even with your father's experience working with other fighters, that it could be a problem in the future? Or will it benefit you?
TK: "Well, me and my dad are always bumping heads. We are just too much alike not to have that happen now and then. We've talked about bringing someone else in from the outside, maybe put a different perspective on things. No matter what, I would want my father involved. He's been there with me from the start, he knows my strengths and my weakness, what to say, what not to say during the fight. So, no matter what, I want him involved in my career."
SB: It sounds like smart thinking to me. Travis, I want to wish you luck in Rochester on February 2nd. More importantly, on behalf of SaddoBoxing and myself, I want to thank you for your time.
TK: "No problem. Thank you."