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 fight.
"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!"