Live Underdog Shows Bite - Boxing
By David Douse (March 10, 2008)  
Newly crowned world lightweight champion Nate Campbell lived up to his pre-fight promise to take the fight to right up to Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz and proved to all that he was well worthy of his opportunity by jumping on his much younger and highly talented opponent from the get go. The Galaxxy Warrior came out firing from the first bell, taking the first round on my scorecard, and fighting with an intensity which I had certainly expected from Diaz but not from a cagey veteran who might well have been expected to fight a far more conservatively in order to save himself for the later rounds.

Not to be outdone, Diaz immediately fought back, admirably showcasing his own relentless crisp punching style, and it soon became apparent that the fans were to be treated to an all action, non-stop toe to toe thriller. With the quality of the contest not in doubt the only question then was "how long can this last?" The back and forth exchanges were unrelenting, with the Baby Bull perhaps marginally ahead by the end of the fifth. Along the way, I had begun to feel that the weight and volume of Diaz's punches might just be starting to tell on the older man, but just as I was beginning to feel that Campbell might be starting to fade the pivotal moment of the fight came in the sixth round when Diaz suffered a nasty cut on the left eyelid.

Referee Jesús Salcedo (not the most competent, I have to say) stepped in and at first appeared to be warning Campbell to be more careful with his head but then, to my surprise, now seeing the amount of blood coming from Diaz's injured eye, appeared to make the decision to upgrade the warning and instructed the judges to deduct Campbell one point. Television replays of the incident clearly showed that Diaz had not in fact been head-butted but had suffered the cut from a legitimately thrown left-hand and that the decision to penalise Campbell was quite wrong.

Diaz clearly appeared to feel that he had been unfairly disadvantaged, believing the cut to be a consequence of a head-butt and Campbell clearly appeared to feel exactly the same thing because of the one-point deduction. From here on the momentum of the fight swung steadily in Campbell's favour and he appeared to be galvanised into even greater effort, no doubt feeling that he could not afford to waste a moments effort or miss a single opportunity to land scoring blows. On the other hand it seemed to me that Diaz, for all his courage and willingness, seemed subtly to lose impetus from this point on because of his inability to put his consciousness of his injury to the back of his mind.

Ultimately, it was the two distinctly different responses to the same perception of disadvantage were what finally dictated the outcome of this fight, with the older more seasoned campaigner finding himself able to be spurred on by his problem whereas the previously unbeaten Diaz, never really having had to face adversity before, simply found himself unable to make the necessary psychological adjustment to his wound, thus letting his early rounds dominance slip away. The Galaxxy Warrior, previously unsuccessful in his attempts to capture a belt, dug ever deeper within himself as a real champion does, and finally finished up the fight sweeping all the rounds on my card from seven through twelve. Proof indeed that a live underdog can indeed still have plenty of bite.

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