The Devil Knocked Him Out
and Angel Opened His Eyes
Angel Manfredy says, "El Diablo is dead". Find out
why in this copy, said to be of an exclusive 1999 HBO video interview with the top
lightweight contender at the Coachella Valley Boxing Club in Indio, California. Angel
Manfredy did not have a terribly distinguished amateur career. But as a pro, the 25-year-old,
135 lb., native of Gary, Indiana has taken on some of the biggest names in the junior
lightweight and lightweight divisions — including wins against Calvin Grove, Jorge Paez,
Arturo Gatti and Ivan Robinson and brave stands against Floyd Mayweather and Stevie Johnson
in title shot losses.
But Manfredy's most important victory has not been
over any opponent in the ring, or for any world title. His biggest win was against himself,
his "El Diablo" alter ego, a battle with Satan for his very soul.
"My life as 'El Diablo' is over, it's part of my
past life," Manfredy said. "My last fight against Stevie Johnson was the breaking point. I
beat myself in that fight. I was living wrong. Half the time I was church going and dedicated
to boxing, the other time I was out there being a devil.
"I first accepted God in my life before the Gatti
fight. After I won the fight, success hit me and with it the women, the drugs, the clothes,
the partying, the high life. I couldn't handle it. In my bout before Gatti, Johnson beat El
Diablo, who is now dead."
Months after the Johnson loss and after weeks of
manic depression, it was almost Manfredy who died in his 11th automobile crash. Manfredy says
he contemplated suicide around the time of the Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad
"I was either going to kill myself or I was going
to give my life to Christ," he said. "There was no more in-between."
Manfredy chose life over El Diablo (Satan) and has
burned the old red rubber devil mask he used in his ring 'walk ins'. He says he's stronger
now without the dual lifestyle or confusion of the alter ego and plans a busy year 2000.
"Fighters have only had a taste of Angel Manfredy up to this point, now they're in for the
full course in 2000." In every match, you will see Angel point skyward and give credit and
thanks to Jesus. After the Sept. 2001 razor-thin win over Bernard Hopkins, viewers clearly
heard Manfredy exclaim into the camera, "Jesus changed my life and He can change yours,
too!!" After a previous televised fight in Jan. 1998, I heard him say, "To all those who
placed their bets against me...God bless you!"
check out the Highest
(posted 12 Oct. 2001)