Who is Nate Campbell?
By Ralph Rimpell, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 6, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
On September 16, 1981 “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns were involved in a mega unification fight for welterweight supremacy. In the middle rounds of the fight Hearns scored beautifully with his jab and seemed to confuse Leonard and built a comfortable lead on the judge’s scorecards. Angelo Dundee, Leonard’s trainer, sensing his fighter was losing exclaimed at the end of the 12th round: “you’re blowin it son, you’re blowin it”. Leonard, inspired by Dundee, went out and put a barrage of punches together knocking Hearns through the ring ropes where he would need the referee’s assistance to get untangled from the ring ropes. Leonard would go on to win in spectacular fashion by TKO in the 14th round. After the fight, Leonard was diagnosed with a detached retina. Leonard admitted that he had tunnel vision in one of his eyes. Leonard fought one of the best fighters in history with one healthy eye and did not complain during the fight to his cornermen that he could not see. He later admitted if Hearns had thrown hook punches, he would have never seen them coming. Recently, on June 13, 2009 in New York, WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto faced former IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey. In the third round, Cotto sustained a cut above his left eye from an accidental head butt. The blood flowed into Cotto’s eye as if it were water from a faucet. Not only did Cotto have to defend himself against the tough and hard hitting Clottey, but he was constantly wiping blood from his eye with his glove. To his credit he fought until the end of the bout and was awarded a split decision victory. There are countless other examples of fighters who were hurt during a fight whether it be vision or otherwise and fought on to victory. Who is Nate “The Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell 33-5-1 (25)?

Nate Campbell fought his first professional fight at the age of 28, which is considered very late. To those following his professional career, he amassed a record of 23-0 before facing former Olympic and former world Champion Joel Casamayor. He lost what many in attendance for the fight believed was a controversial decision. After a failed attempt at a world title against Robbie Peden, it appeared Campbell would be nothing more than a “gatekeeper” or “trialhorse” in whichever division he campaigned and never realize his potential of at least becoming a world champion. He began to prove his critics wrong when he was brought in as an opponent for Almazbek Raiymkulov aka Kid Diamond. The only way to describe how Campbell defeated this fighter is to simply say he: beat him up, opened cuts on his face, and stopped him by TKO. He later lost a split decision victory to Isaac Hlatshwayo in a title eliminator fight. This writer scored the fight for Campbell by a very small margin. He eventually earned a fight against then undisputed lightweight champion, Juan Diaz. The fight was, in this writer’s opinion, a replay of the Diamond fight. In spit of all of Campbell’s critics, promotional problems, family problems, etc. he accomplished what many thought he would not. That is to become world champion. His first defense was to be against former champion Juan Guzman. Guzman failed to make weight and decided not to fight. In Campbell’s second attempt to defend his title, he failed to make weight prior to his fight against the durable Ali Funeka. He was stripped of the title. He still fought giving his opponent an opportunity to fight for his former title. He won a tough majority decision against Funeka. Claming that his body could no longer make the 135lbs weight limit, he chooses to now campaign in the 140lb division. What happened on August 1, 2009 between him and WBO junior welterweight champ Timothy Bradley?

After announcing he would now fight at the 140lb limit, Campbell wasted no time challenging the best in that division, Timothy Bradley. This was a fight boxing fans and writers looked forward to. It was going to be experience versus youth and speed. A likely candidate for fight of the year! No such luck. As the fight began Campbell constantly complained of Bradley head butting him. Much to his dismay, the referee did very little except for warn Bradley to “watch your head”. Those who see how Bradley fights know he leans forward with his head. It does not appear that he does that on purpose, but that’s the way he fights. Campbell put more effort into complaining to the referee than fighting his opponent, Bradley. In the third round Campbell sustained a cut, from a head butt, above his left eye. Then in what shocked the viewing public at home watching on cable TV and those in attendance, Campbell asked his corner that the fight be stopped because he could not see. This writer believes even John David Jackson, Campbell’s trainer and close friend, who is partly responsible for helping him achieve his goals, was shocked as well. Then he said he was seeing “spots.” The fight was ruled a TKO victory for Bradley. Even the TV analysts believe the fight should have been ruled a no contest. Campbell protested even more than he did during the fight when he was being head butted. His Promoter, Don King, stated he would file an appeal. Regarding a possible rematch, Gary Shaw, Bradley’s Promoter, said they would agree to a rematch for more money because Bradley is the champion. Don King and Campbell were able to successfully argue to the California Sate Athletic Commission (CSAC) why the results of the fight should be changed from a TKO victory for Bradley to a no contest. Prior to the change of the fight result, Campbell issued a statement regarding his vision. According to fightnews.com here are some excerpts of what Campbell said regarding his eye injury:
“There is no permanent damage to my retina”, ‘was treated for what they called a vitreous hemorrhage behind my left eye’, “The ophthalmologist that treated me at the hospital advised me that the impairment to the vision in my left eye should clear up completely within a few days to a week at most”. This writer is not a fighter, but can Campbell really call himself a “Galaxy Warrior”? What’s that? Can he really call himself a “warrior”? What happens next time if he rematches with Bradley or fights another top fighter and he sustains an injury during the bout. Is he going to quit again? This writer says to Campbell: Listen sweetie if you’re so concerned about your health, please stop boxing. Go back to your factory job in Florida. You can take a “sick day” and go home if you get hurt between 9am-5pm. Your employer also has “Workman’s Compensation” if you need to take time off from the job while you recuperate. But when it comes to boxing, you’re paid the equivalent of what you would make in 10 years in one night because the networks realized you are an elite fighter. Consider it a reward for your past accomplishments/hazardous pay. What does Campbell have to do in order to regain the respect he lost from the Bradley fight?

After the CSAC ruling, it was reported that Campbell is considering other fights such as with newly crowned WBC champ, Devon Alexander. Bradley has stated that a rematch ‘would be easy money’ and called Campbell old. Those who saw the fight observed Bradley effectively using his speed against Campbell and scoring well, while Campbell was doing his best to close the gap (catch up to Bradley). Maybe Campbell would have. This writer thinks so. Campbell was behind on all three scorecards after the third round. Campbell must rematch with Bradley and fight the fight of his life in spite of any adversities that may arise in a possible second fight. Believe it or not, this writer picked Campbell to win in the first fight by split decision. He can still do it and overcome the odds much like he did to become world champion. He has to channel all the energy he used to complain to the referee during the fight, post fight interview, and at the CSAC meeting to train and defeat Bradley should they meet again. If he comes back with some excuse that the two fighters cannot agree on money, site where the fight will be held, or whatever, it is this writer’s opinion that on August 1, 2009, Nate Campbell really didn’t want to fight.

Contact Ralph Rimpell: RLuvsboxing@aol.com


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