33-year-old Travis Kauffman of Reading, Pennsylvania says his out of the blue big fight opportunity against Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz is the chance he has been waiting for for months. Now that he has this opportunity, Kauffman says he will win the fight everyone thinks he will lose. The two will fight on the under-card of the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight in Los Angeles on December 1.
Here the man known as “My Time” speaks exclusively with Boxing News:
Q: The fight with Luis Ortiz is official? How did the fight come about?
Travis Kauffman: “Yes, the fight is a done deal, unless Ortiz decides to fight someone else instead. Of course I hope this is not what happens. Ortiz is definitely the most avoided heavyweight out there today, no doubt. But this is where I come in. I’m not afraid of anyone! These other fighters, these heavyweights, they are afraid to take chances and fight Ortiz. But me, I’m so very confident I can and will beat him. Otherwise I would not have taken the fight. I’m not going to give away my game plan on how I will fight the fight, but as far as how it came – I’m a single father of three, I don’t work a day job and boxing has been my only source of income. So I prayed and prayed for something big and then I got a call for this fight. If a big fight opportunity such as this one had not come, I really don’t know what I would have done.”
Q: How good is Ortiz and what does he do that impresses you?
T.K: “Impressed? Well, I was impressed at how he stuck to his game plan with [Deontay] Wilder until he got clocked, but he is skilled yes, very, very skilled. But to me, you’ve got to question [him]. He is very talented and very technical but to me he does pretty much the same thing in each and every fight. And because of [the failed drug tests] you’ve got to question his wins. But today, the problem is, nobody does question anything, because everyone praises a cheater these days”
Q: Having been waiting for a big fight as you say, you have boxed just three times since your no-contest with Chris Arreola in 2015 (originally a very debatable majority decision win for Arreola, later changed to a no-contest because of Arreola’s positive test for marijuana). Have you been in the gym?
T.K: “My last fight was June 10 (of this year – a 10-round majority decision win over Scott Alexander) and I looked like s*** but I got the win. I have been frustrated so badly with things and took a break from the gym, but then I got the call about a month ago after praying to God, asking him on what path should I take, and this fight came through. And as soon as I heard the possibility of it being Ortiz I started training immediately.”
Q: What are you thinking a win over Ortiz would lead to for you, a world title shot?
T.K: “I’m not worried about a world title shot right now, my only focus is Luis Ortiz – nothing less and nothing more. If I don’t beat Ortiz I won’t be able to fight any champions, so of course my focus is Ortiz. But as to who is the best right now at heavyweight, I don’t like to think any heavyweight is better than me; whether they are or they aren’t. I just don’t think that way. Never have. That said, if I could choose, I’d say [Anthony] Joshua is the guy I’d like to fight, he is the cash-cow of the whole division, and I’ve got my three boys to feed. ”
Q: How do you see the main event going on December 1, between Wilder and Tyson Fury?
T.K: “I think it’s going to be a helluva fight and I’m a huge fan of Fury’s character, even if not so much his skills. The thing about Deontay is, he has the type of power to make you forget your name! If Fury can stay on the outside and avoid Wilder’s big right hand, he has the ability to beat him. That said, I’m going with Wilder. I’m picking Wilder by KO in the fifth or the sixth-round”.
Q: What do you say to those people who have Ortiz as a big favourite to beat you, that you have next to no chance?
T.K: “I say this: opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one and they stink. But it doesn’t bother me when I hear people say Ortiz will beat me, they are supposed to say that.”