GL: How is everything going in preparation for your March 17 bout with Amir Mansour? What can we expect to see from you on fight night? Everything has been great, I've been training for about ten weeks and I'm taking this fight very seriously because I know Amir Mansour is not walk in the park. Fans can expect a fight, I can box, I can fight, I can dance, expect to see a lot of different things from me, but I'm expecting a knockout.
GL: You got screwed out of a deserved win against Chris Arreola in your last big fight, do you expect to put on another performance like that in this marquee fight?
Travis Kauffman: "I've moved on from that Chris Arreola fight, but I plan to be better than that. I went back and I watched that Chris Arreola fight like 15 times and every f**king time I watch the fight I score it 8 rounds to 4, and then I just give him a round to make it 7-5. Judges see what they see and I've moved past it. I'll be better than I was for that fight though and the reason I'm saying that is because I didn't do any strength or conditioning work for that fight. All I did was box and I was only in that camp for six weeks. This has been a very long camp, I missed Christmas, I missed New Year's, I missed my eight year old sons birthday and I've been really dedicating myself to March 17th because I understand the magnitude of this fight. I know the doors that would open up after this fight."
GL: I think Mansour and Arreola are similar in many ways, are you approaching this fight with a similar game plan?
TK: "I think that Chris Arreola can box better than Mansour. Arreola, a lot of people don't understand, he's got better boxing skills. I sparred over 200 rounds with him before I fought him so I knew what to expect from Arreola. I've sparred Mansour also, but not as much, I've probably sparred him like 18 rounds, 6 rounds each time and it's a little different. He's a come forward type of fighter, but he's a southpaw. I can fight southpaws though, I have a huge amateur pedigree which will help me in this fight."
GL: You said you plan to get him out of there with Mansour the blueprint seems to be get him to the late rounds where he runs out of gas.
TK: "Well I'm not going to go out there looking for a home-run because I'll swing and miss every time. I want to set it up, so if it happens in the first round it happens in the first round, if it happens in the twelfth round it happens in the twelfth round. One thing we know about Amir Mansour is that he fights one way and that's throwing bombs and he's a come forward type of fighter. He tries to box, but he can't box, he's not a boxer at all. I will be prepared to wear him down and take him to the deep waters to see if he can swim."
GL: What would a victory over Mansour mean to you? What are you hoping it leads to?
TK: "There's two belts on the line for this fight and that's the USNBC and the USBA, those will put me in a very good position with the WBC and IBF. Two or three years ago I was rated fourth in the WBA and I just never got my opportunity, this will be a blessing to be back in the top ten in the world. I've been doing this for a long time man, I've been a professional athlete for 11 eleven years and you've known me since I was an amateur, so this has been a long road and a long journey and I know after I beat Mansour I want to fight for a belt. Whichever belt it is doesn't matter to me, I'll fight any of the champions but I want my shot. It could be Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, I'm not one dimensional like most heavyweights are, I can do a little bit of everything in the ring."
GL: Who do you like in that Joshua-Klitschko fight?
TK: "I'm picking Joshua just because of his youth. I don't know, I see it as a boring fight though."
GL: Compared to the last ten years the heavyweight division is on an upswing, what are your thoughts on its current state?
TK: "It's so much better than it used to be. This is the right time to be in the heavyweight division and I know my opportunity is coming. Five years ago it was so boring because the Klitschko's were dominating the division. When he made the fight with Tyson Fury I knew what was going to happen. Even though Fury doesn't have the best chin, Klitschko was so used to being the bigger man, he didn't know what it was like to be the little guy. I picked Fury to win that fight, it's very exciting now. I don't think there's the best skill we've seen in the division but there's definitely a lot of excitement with guys like Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua holding championships, but the division is open and it's more exciting than it's been in the last ten years just like you said.
GL: Why did a rematch with Tony Grano never materialize?
TK: "Ask Tony Grano that question. After I lost that fight I begged for that fight. I was offering my purse to him and we couldn't make it happen. After that fight, I spent years wanting to fight him, but once I knew that this man wasn't going to give me my rematch, and I don't blame him, to me it was f**k this, I can't live and wait for somebody to give me something that's not happening, so I had to get on with my career. I'm a single father with three boys, if I sat and worried about Tony Grano I wouldn't be in this position today. I don't know if he's even fighting anymore, I'm sure he's retired by now but at least he was able to get himself some good fights before he did. Congrats to him for making a couple of dollars after beating me."
GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?
TK: "I always want to thank Boxingtalk you guys have been giving me interviews since before I turned pro, so I'm happy to be back on. I want the fans to tune in on March 17, it's going to be a great fight. You're going to see a better Travis Kauffman than you did when I fought Chris Arreola, that's the truth."