CRAFTON, Pa. – Former International Boxing Federation lightweight champ Paul Spadafora has been charged with assault after authorities say he put a woman in a semi-headlock at a Pittsburgh-area bar, drank some of her beer and then threw her to the ground when she went outside to call police.
Spadafora, who was raised in the Pittsburgh suburb of McKees Rocks, calls himself "The Pittsburgh Kid." He won the vacant IBF belt in August 1999, and suffered his only professional loss just two and a half years ago after struggling to mount a comeback since serving time in jail.
Witnesses told police that Spadafora, 40, appeared to be intoxicated when he arrived at the Redstone Tavern in Crafton on Wednesday.
Shortly before 4 p.m., he started baiting other patrons, including the woman, challenging them to box before grabbing her in a semi-headlock while he drank from her beer, police said. When she went outside to call 911, Spadafora followed and threw her to the ground, leaving before police arrived, Chief Mark Sumpter said.
Spadafora did not respond to a request for comment sent through his website. Online court records don't list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
He will be mailed a summons to appear May 19 for a preliminary hearing on charges of simple assault and harassment.
Spadafora was paroled in April 2006 after 13 months' incarceration for shooting his ex-girlfriend in October 2003, and his attempts to resurrect his career have been interrupted by brushes with the law.
He violated his parole when he was arrested in May 2007 after the ex-girlfriend obtained a protection-from-abuse order, in which she claims he pulled her hair and choked her.
The former champ was 40-0-1 when he went to jail and has won 9 of 10 fights since parole, most coming after he moved to Erie to train and stay away from the Pittsburgh area where he's been arrested several times, including twice for drunken driving in 2011. He pleaded guilty to both.
Spadafora has split his last two fights, defeating Hector Velazquez at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh on July 11, 2014 and suffering his only professional loss on Nov. 30, 2013, to Johan Perez at Mountaineer Racetrack and Resort in West Virginia.