Kauffman has been beset by injuries recently, but is hoping he can stay healthy, and get a breakthrough shot, to show the world, and himself, that he is top grade stuff.
He believes he is the best American heavyweight out there, and thinks he was getting close to the point where he was going to prove that...but then Travis Kauffman hurt his hand, and needed surgery to heal the break. So his progress was stalled, and that was frustrating. Add to that the stress that comes with being in a sport where only about 1% of the participants make enough to give themself a nest egg to fall back on if they get hurt and can't fight for a spell, and you get a better sense of how hard it is to get ahead in this unforgiving sport.
Off since last August, Kauffman gets back in the ring on Aug. 11 in Temple, PA, against 19-22-3 Arizonan Charles Davis.
The 26 year-old hitter from Reading, PA, who holds a 22-1 mark, with 17 KOs, told TSS he had hand woes since he was an amateur. Now a pro for six years, he was pumped to show the world that his lone loss, to Tony Grano back in 2009, was an aberration. He set his sights on marquee name Seth Mitchell, flavor of the month for awhile now. "Team Mitchell offered me a fight about two months before I had my surgery, I accepted $20,000 less than anyone else," Kauffman told me, "and then three days later his people called to say they didn't want to fight me. Then the day I had my hand surgery they called to fight me but I had to turn it down due to the surgery." (Some specifics on the hand injury: "They had to take out some arthritis, take out some loose bone fragments, shave down a calcium deposit (bone spur) and fuse my bones together because my joint was badly damaged. The first surgery was October 7th which was unsuccessful, then the second was January 26.")
Kauffman told me he thinks Mitchell (age 30; lives in Maryland; 25-0-1 with 19 KOs), the former footballer at Michigan State, was lucky to have tapped Chazz Witherspoon instead of him in April.
"Chazz had him out on his feet and Chazz is no puncher," Kauffman said. "If Chazz would have been a good finisher and didn't blow his load he would have been done it. I think Seth is very strong and straight forward, he works hard but he's a football player, not a boxer. He is willing to die on a field, not in a ring and I believe that's what seperates him from a real fighter."
Kauffman doesn't think all that much of the Golden Boy prospect, sounds like. "He fights like he is getting ready to tackle someone," he said. "Can he punch? Absolutely, but you can't hit what you can't see and I'll box circles around him and KO him within four rounds. Like I said he is a football player, I wish him the best in his career but he's no top boxer. He got as far as he did because of Al Haymon. Name one football player who became a great boxer. Don't worry, I'll wait for your answer," he says, with a chuckle.
A broken foot postponed Kauffman's comeback, so it has been awhile since he gloved up. An August 2011 TKO1 win over Sean Williams means he's been off for a year now. He admits being on the shelf can be mentally draining. "Sometimes it's very frustrating and depressing because for I have a family to feed, I have a fiancee and five kids and boxing is what paid the bills.I've tried not to let it get to me because I know God has a plan for me."
No, Kauffman is not at the top of a short list if you are polling pundits to determine who they think the best US heavy is; but as it should be, he believes he is. "I do believe I am the best American heavyweight. Yes, I do believe I'm the best American heavyweight fighter; if I don't believe in myself who else will?"
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?