No Hollywood ending for The Contender star as referee stops fight

Updated: April 7, 2007, 10:15 PM ET
Associated Press

CARDIFF, Wales -- Peter Manfredo had just one question for reporters after his third-round TKO allowed Joe Calzaghe to retain his WBO super middleweight title on Saturday.

"Do you think it was stopped prematurely?"

The Rhode Islander, who came to prominence on the boxing reality TV show "The Contender," was dejected after his bid for Calzaghe's title was halted 30 seconds into the third round.

"Of course it was," he answered his own question. "Did you see my legs buckle? The referee didn't even say: 'Throw some punches or I'm going to stop it.' There were no warnings, just a 10-second barrage by him, if that. I was starting to duck and move out of the way and come back to hook, but ..."

Manfredo's voice trailed off in disappointment, but that soon turned into anger.

"I'm a fighter. I'm a gladiator. I want to get killed to get out of that ring," he said. "He had no right to stop the fight. I wasn't hurt. I'm still in shock. I can't believe he stopped it that quick.

Calzaghe, who was sitting near Manfredo at the post-fight news conference, interjected.

"He was slightly hurt. Those body shots stunned you a little bit," Calzaghe laughed.

But Manfredo -- known as the "Pride of Providence" -- was in no mood to concede anything after dropping to 26-4.

"You caught me with a body shot, you didn't hit me to the head. I wasn't hurt at all," he said. "Did I wobble? I wobble more when I dance."

Calzaghe paid tribute to "The Contender" runner-up's bravery and said referee Terry O'Connor's decision that earned him a 32nd knockout came surprisingly early.

"I'm not the referee, basically I just do my job," he said. "It could have been slightly premature. I'm not the referee, I'm just in there throwing punches. It's not my call.

"Peter wants to go down fighting. I sympathize with him, he's trained hard for this fight. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for him to come over to Wales. He's a true fighter."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index