Travis Kauffman was 10 years old when his father, Marshall, opened KING’s (Kids In Need of Guidance) Boxing Gym in Reading, Pennsylvania. Five years after that, Marshall Kauffman brought one of his amateur charges, Kermit Cintron, to the pro ranks. Another five years later and Cintron was at Caesars Palace taking on Antonio Margarito for a 147-pound championship.
Marshall Kauffman also got Hasim Rahman ready to fight Wladimir Klitschko for a heavyweight championship in 2008—although Rahman jumped from Kauffman to Buddy McGirt a night before the fight, which, needless to say, ended in a loss. Point being, Kauffman had plenty of experience with top talents when it came time to train his son.
For the first 20-some-odd fights of Travis Kauffman’s professional career, his father was right there with him. Then, in 2013, amid the elder Kauffman’s growing promotional business, father and son decided to part ways. Well, maybe that wasn’t the only reason.
“It was something we talked about since the amateurs,” Travis Kauffman said. “I don't know if you ever watched 24/7 with Floyd Mayweather and his father. Me and my dad, we’ve been in arguments like that and it's not good because my dad is my best friend and I love him. I don't ever want to get in those situations again.
“Being a father myself, I know how hard it is because you still want what's best for your kids and you still want to kind of control them. My dad doesn't sometimes realize I'm a 30-year-old man with kids of my own. He still tries to control my every move. Sometimes you've got to let your son become a man and let him be a man himself.”
The two of them got together and agreed that the move would be to go with Philadelphia-based trainer Naazim Richardson, who has worked with Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley and Steve Cunningham, among others.
Richardson came on board for Kauffman’s first-round stoppage of Richard Carmack in August, so clearly something clicked immediately. The elder Kauffman is still in the picture helping out, but Richardson runs the show as the younger Kauffman gets ready to take on Chris Arreola on Saturday (NBC, 5:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT).
Aside from adding a little bit of head movement, Richardson hasn’t really altered Kauffman’s arsenal all that much. If anything, he’s taught the 30-year-old heavyweight to think a little more selectively about which punches he chooses and when to throw them.
“A lot of times with coaches’ sons, we have so many different weapons we don't know which weapon to use,” Kauffman said. "We have an AK-47, we have a little .22, we have a sniper rifle, we have a shotgun. Naazim is teaching me what gun to use and at what time to use it. My father gave me all those guns to use. Naazim is just showing me how to use them and when to use them at the right time.”
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