Moments after Peter Manfredo Jr. sat down for Tuesday's press conference at Twin River Casino, a waitress brought him a dinner roll with several packs of butter, a ticking time bomb for a fighter trying to keep his weight on point several days before a weigh-in.
"You must've had this sent to me, Rich!" joked Manfredo as he waved in the direction of his opponent, Rich Gingras, sitting at the opposite end of the table.
Manfredo, Gingras, and former four-time world champion Jaime Clampitt -- all of whom now either live or train in Rhode Island -- gathered Tuesday for the final leg of their press tour as they wrap up training camp in preparation for "Pride & Power" on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, the finale of this year's Twin River Fight Series presented by Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports.
Manfredo, dubbed "The Pride Of Providence," will face the hard-hitting Gingras (13-3-1, 8 KOs) in in the 10-round super middleweight main event while Clampitt (21-5-1, 7 KOs) will return to the ring for the first time in more than three years in her farewell fight against Brooklyn's Dominga Olivo (8-8-1).
"I actually went and bought two VIP tickets myself," CES president Jimmy Burchfield said. "That's how bad I want to see this fight!"
Intra-state rivalries tend to bring out the worst in the fighters involved, but the only shots fired Tuesday were good-natured jabs between Manfredo and Gingras, who share a mutual respect for one another despite the fact they're preparing for what could be the most difficult test of their respect careers Friday night.
"I remember watching Peter when he was on The Contender long before I even fought my first fight," Gingras said. "He's someone we all grew up idolizing."
"You're making me feel old!" quipped Manfredo.
"All kidding aside, it's just an honor to be a part of this event. I know Rich is a tough kid who trains hard and he's going to be ready to fight. That's why I didn't hesitate to take this fight. I've known [Gingras' trainer] Orlondo [Valles] for a long time, too, and [trainer] Jose [Santos]. They do a great job. It's going to be a great fight. The fans are in for a real treat."
Former four-time world champion Jaime Clampitt will return Friday for the first time in three years when she faces Brooklyn's Dominga Olivo on the undercard of the Manfredo-Gingras showdown at Twin River Casino.
Manfredo actually decided to retire following his win over Walter Wright in March, but is back for one more fight in honor of his close friend and former Rhode Island boxing icon Gary Balletto, who is paralyzed from the waist down following an accident at his home in July.
Clampitt also called it quits three years ago after her final fight against Holly Holm ended in bizarre fashion with Clampitt writhing in pain due to a neck injury suffered when both fighters got tangled up and fell awkwardly to the canvas. Now a mother of two, Clampitt admits it's been difficult to walk away from the sport she grew up with since she was a teenager living in Canada.
"I had about 30 people fly out to New Mexico to watch me that night and to have it end like that was horrible," Clampitt said of her loss to Holm in 2010. "I was devastated.
"You never truly quit boxing. It's always a part of your life. I just couldn't let my career end that way."
Select tickets are available at $61.00 and $101.00 and can be purchased by calling 401-724-2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or at Players Club at Twin River. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
"Pride & Power" also features a special six-round heavyweight attraction with "The Armenian Assassin" Arthur Saribekian (23-4-1, 18 KOs) returning to the ring for the first time in more than a decade to face Hyannis, Mass., product Jesse Barboza (6-1-1, 4 KOs).
Also on the undercard, Cranston, R.I., welterweight Nick DeLomba (2-0) will put his undefeated record on the line against Carlos Hernandez (3-2-1, 2 KOs) of Bridgeport, Conn., in a six-round bout and Providence middleweight KJ Harrison-Lombardi (2-0-1) will return to Twin River in a four-round bout against Mike Rodriguez of Springfield, Mass., who will be making his professional debut. Harrison-Lombardi and Rodriguez faced one another in the amateurs with Rodriguez winning a close decision. Providence light middleweight Publio Pena (1-0, 1 KO) will face Antonio Marrero (0-1) of Hartford, Conn., in a four-round bout. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV