Nate Campbell: From the Clown to the Crowned
By Luke Dodemaide (February 22, 2005) 
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli, DHB
Okay, so we got an underachieving, underrated, maturing speedy slickster who gets his chance at revenge with the ultimate prize on the line… déjà vu anyone? No this ain’t a rerun of a Zab Judah versus Cory Spinks II preview, this time it’s Jacksonville’s finest, Nate ‘The Galaxy Warrior’ Campbell planning to land some thunder down under and avenge his loss to Brisbane born Robbie ‘Bomber’ Peden.

2003 was supposed to be the year of the Galaxy Warrior. He saw 2002 out with a 23-0 record and had a early January date with one of the best in the business, Cuban southpaw Joel Casamayor.

Nate Campbell went in an underdog, but also with a very quietly confident camp and many writers, including myself, tipping Nate to announce himself as a world class act and genuine world championship material. Unfortunately for Campbell he went home that night with the first loss on his record, but after such a closely fought fight he went out with his head held high and it appeared Campbell’s journey to glory was not thrown too far off its track.

But after a lacklustre draw with Edelmiro Martinez he saw his stocks slightly slip, but watched them again level with a decision win over 130 pound gatekeeper Daniel Attah, knocking him down three times. Nate Campbell then scheduled a meeting with Aussie Robbie ‘Bomber’ Peden with an IBF world title shot up for grabs.

After a bumpy 2003 finally Nate Campbell was going down the right path and after four and a half rounds he had Peden in big trouble and a world title shot firmly in his grasp… but then it happened. Instead of going in for the kill, he decided to play with his prey, he dropped his hands, poked out his chin and challenged Robbie Peden to show him how big his bombs really were and via a big left hook Campbell was left dazed, hurt and humiliated as he said ‘hello’ to the canvas and ‘goodbye’ to the IBF #1 ranking and the world title shot it brought with it.

For eleven months Nate Campbell hasn’t been known as the world championship holder he dreams of being, nor the legitimate 130 pound threat he’d like to be thought as, rather as the man who while clowning around became the laughing stock of the boxing world.

They say Nate Campbell has matured as a person since a loss, but a year of frustration, humiliation and presumably bitterness usually does that to a man.
Some of those emotions were vented out when he fought a rematch with Martinez, blowing him out in four rounds and knocking him down three times.

But tonight (Australian time) is really judgement day for the 32-year-old as he gets the world championship shot he’s craved for his whole life plus the added bonus of a chance to avenge that degrading defeat against Robbie Peden.

Campbell has his opportunity to laugh last tonight in front of Peden’s hometown crowd at Vodafone Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

Ever since I first saw Campbell on Fox Sports four years ago against Victorio Abadia I thought Campbell’s fate would lead him to world championship glory, and after a much bumpier ride than many experts forecasted, that ‘fate’ may be less than twenty-four hours away. They say life, and even more so I think boxing, is all about taking chances, and Campbell isn’t going to want to be remembered as the fighter who blew his.

Just like Zab Judah did earlier this month, Campbell can snatch the world championship in his rival’s backyard and bury the scepticism and criticism that comes with an underachieving career. However, he’s going to have to work for it. Peden may be coming off a win over Campbell, but he has no reason to be cocky about it and under train. The 31-year-old Australian knows how talented Campbell can be and says he’s in better shape than the first fight and is going to close the show more convincingly this time around.

Nate Campbell isn’t going to goof around this time. Boxing is a business and as a self proclaimed ‘matured’ man he says he’s going to treat it that way.

So tonight can Campbell come from boxing’s clown to be world championship crowned? The Galaxy Warrior has travelled a long way from Jacksonville, Florida and I got a feeling he’s going to be returning with an IBF belt around his waist… and maybe a slight smirk on his face.
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