Peter Manfredo Jr. will find out he shouldn't rumble with Rangers.
The Rangers are Crosby-Ironton High School graduates Tony "the Bullet" Bonsante and Scott "the Fighting Frenchman" LeDoux, who will be in Bonsante's corner in Providence, R.I., Friday for Bonsante's bout against Manfredo for the North American Boxing Organization junior middleweight title.
The 12-round bout will be televised on ESPN2 and is tentatively scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
Manfredo, a highly regarded 23-year-old, is 20-0 with 10 knockouts. Bonsante is 25-3-3 with 14 knockouts. Bonsante hasn't fought since September when he scored a unanimous decision over Reggie Strickland.
The 33-year-old Bonsante is shedding 14 pounds from the super middleweight class (168) when he stopped Tony Ayala Jr. in April of 2003. Bonsante said he hasn't weighed 154 since graduating from C-I in 1989.
"We're hoping he's counting on us being too far gone and out of shape," the former Central Lakes College quarterback said. "I'm probably in better shape than I was for Ayala."
Bonsante said Manfredo has an impressive record but hasn't fought many quality opponents. He said video of Manfredo reveals he is a sound boxer.
"They're pretty high on the kid," Bonsante said. "He's got the belt. I've got to go to his backyard and take it from him, which is what I'm going to do. It's going to be tough to get a decision so I have to beat him soundly or knock him out.
"It's a big fight for me. I'm going in as the underdog but I like that. All the pressure's on him."
LeDoux has been Bonsante's trainer for about three months. He took over when Bonsante and former trainer Bill Kaehn parted amicably.
"It's not that Bill did anything wrong or was a bad trainer," Bonsante said. "I just wasn't getting fights, and at 33 I've got to do something. So I contacted Scott and asked if he would consider training me, and he said you have to deal with Bill Kaehn first. I want everyone to know this was your idea."
Bonsante said LeDoux has the knowledge and contacts in the boxing world that could help him climb the ladder.
"He trains me different but it's working," Bonsante said. "The changes he's made are for the better. I'm fighting from angles, have more feints. I make you think I'm going to hit you when I'm not, come after you when I'm not supposed to. He's done a world of good for me."
LeDoux, 55, has known Bonsante and his family for years. He said the exciting part about training Bonsante has been his willingness to listen and learn.
"He's got an opportunity to fight for the title," LeDoux said. "If Tony wins the fight he will move into the top 10 in the world."
LeDoux, who fought George Foreman, Ken Norton and Larry Holmes during his heavyweight career, has sparred with Bonsante, whose punching power has increased.
"When we started out Tony couldn't break an egg, now my ribs are bruised up, now I'm wearing a chest protector," LeDoux said. "We went to Milwaukee and Tony went 12 rounds with three different sparring partners. They were supposed to try and knock him out and couldn't.
"Tony's done an incredible amount of road work, more road work than he's done in the past. His gas tank is plenty full now."
Bonsante is dedicating the fight to Tom Herron, his coach when Bonsante fought in the Brainerd Golden Gloves program. Bonsante won four Upper Midwest titles under the tutelage of Herron, who died in December of 2003.
"Tom taught me a lot about boxing and how to be a decent person," Bonsante said. "I respect the man more than anybody. This fight is for him and his family. They've been through a lot. Tom was there for me. When I get in the ninth, tenth, 11th and 12th rounds I think of Tom in my corner, with his arms crossed, a finger on his temple, telling me to be smart."
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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