Sharkie’s Machine: “Nate Campbell Upsets Juan Diaz”
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., Exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (March 11, 2008) Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli  
Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (33-1, 17 KO’s) has managed to keep his WBA Lightweight Title for over three years now. He was one of the youngest guys to win a major title in a long time, compliments of careful management. After he beat the fading former WBO titlist Acelino Freitas back in 2007, he appeared to be growing into his position of champion. He left little doubt that he was the real deal after his TKO 10 victory over former IBF titlist Julio Diaz, who had been calling him names and taunting him to fight for a couple of years. At 24 years of age, Juan Diaz came into the ring at Plaza de Toros in Cancun Mexico
with an undefeated record and three major titles.

Nate “Galaxy Warrior” Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KO’s) had his chance at a major title back in 2003, when he faced Joel Casamayor, who beat him by Unanimous Decision. He kept plugging away and in 2004 and 2005 he lost to Robbie Peden, once by TKO and once by Split Decision. In 2005, he lost to Francisco Lorenzo by Split Decision and in 2006, he lost to Isaac Hlatswayo, also by Split Decision. At 36 years old and having lost to a few guys we hardly remember, Diaz camp must have thought Nate would be a good name to add to Diaz’ resume.

The Fight

Round One
After they touched gloves, Campbell looked to say to Diaz, “Be ready for me.” Campbell did a lot of damage on the inside, landing several right hands to the body of Diaz. Campbell showed solid defense too, blocking much of Diaz’ punches. Campbell fought Diaz on Diaz’ terms, in close and proved the more effective at the inside game as he focused on the body but also threw uppercuts and hooks that often landed. Diaz left eye was cut by a right cross and blood
started to drip from the cut midway into the round. Diaz did some decent work and landed some shots but nothing flush. Everything Campbell threw was combinations up and down, straight rights, body shots, hooks, uppercuts and crosses. Campbell’s were the cleaner punches and he did the most damage. 10-9 Campbell..

Round Two
Lot of back and forth action as they mix it up in the center of the ring at close range. Diaz was strong and sturdy. Diaz strategy was one dimensional; get in close and shoeshine punches to the body and head. He landed a few decent shots. Campbell traded with him and always landed the cleaner punches. This fight was a brawl and Campbell fought Diaz kind of fight and was getting the better work in. 10-9 Campbell.

Round Three
They both did more boxing to start the third, exchanging jabs and combos from a wider distance. Little by little, Diaz was getting in closer and let the leather fly. Campbell did well to block and land his own shots in return. Lots of action as they mix it up at center ring. Diaz left eye started to swell. 10-9 Campbell.

Round Four
Diaz went after the body but was mostly finding Nate’s elbows instead. Diaz landed a few good shots to the head and got Campbell against the ropes and did some effective work. Campbell landed a left hook and jabbed accurately. Diaz went all out with little regard for the return fire. He out-hustled Campbell to a degree and deserved to win the round. 10-9 Diaz.

In the corner, Ronnie Shields told Diaz to relax and keep working to tire Campbell out.

Round Five
Diaz aggressively punches to the body but Campbell countered with shots to the head, usually left hooks and right crosses. Diaz landed a clean jab that pushed Campbell back. Diaz had a better round in the fifth and pressured Campbell with more effectiveness as he pressed him into the ropes and scored well right before the bell. 10-9 Diaz.

Round Six
They box and brawl. The pace slowed some. Campbell landed a many punches in every exchange. Campbell’s shots came from all over the place, hooks, upper cuts, crosses, you name it. Diaz taking a lot of shots. Campbell landed a right uppercut into the eye. Diaz held and turned his head in an awkward way. The ref warned Campbell about a head butt. A second later, Diaz’ eye started bleeding and the ref changed the call to a point deduction from Campbell. A fishy call, but no surprise. The ref was generous to Diaz, who went to his corner and his cut man cleaned up the cut. A corner man tending a cut during a time out is not allowable from what I know. But the ref let it happen and that was that. It clearly wasn’t intentional if it was a butt and Campbell hadn’t been warned prior to the deduction. Diaz was milking the ref for another butt call as he went back to work; head first, into Campbell’s chest, same as the whole fight. The way Diaz leans his head in makes butts inevitable. I thought Nate did the better work and inflicted the most damage with punches. No way did Diaz win the round. Due to the deduction I scored it, 9-9 Even.

The replay showed the cut to be caused by a clean left uppercut to the area. The call was a bad one.

Round Seven
Diaz pressed Campbell, who in turn lands the cleaner punches on the inside. Diaz took to holding as Campbell’s body work was starting to pay dividends. Diaz did a lot of holding but the ref said nothing about it. Campbell was busier and more effective. 10-9 Campbell.

In the corner, Diaz had two cuts over the left eye. The one inside the lid looked to require about six stitches. Between the blood bothering his vision and the swelling closing the eye, Diaz needed to do something dramatic and soon.

Round Eight
Campbell continues to fight Diaz’ fight and win the inside battles with cleaner punches that were taking a toll on Diaz, who fought on courageously. Diaz landed a few good shots upstairs. Campbell returns fire. Campbell landed a few uppercuts to the head in close. Diaz held, his eye swelling shut. 10-9 Campbell.

Campbell’s corner praised his work and urged him to keep at it. Diaz corner worked on the cut and gave instructions to keep shooting the uppercut.

Round Nine
Campbell comes on strong, landing combinations in close. Diaz taking a lot of shots. Campbell focused on the left side of Diaz, where is vision had to be compromised. Campbell throws lots of uppercuts and hooks to the body. Diaz work rate slowed by fatigue and pain but he fought on the best he could. He made no adjustments to his game plan though. Campbell simply punched more and landed more and definitely had the better defense. 10-9 Campbell.

Round Ten
Diaz eye was swollen to a slit of vision. Campbell stayed with what was working and continued to punch often and land often. Diaz did a lot of clinching and less punching. Campbell backed Diaz into the ropes and punished him with shots all over. Diaz head always coming into dangerous territory. Campbell totally in control and says something to Diaz as the bell rang. 10-9 Campbell.

Diaz eye was just about closed shut in the corner. Blood seeping out of the gash on his eye lid. Campbell tells his trainer, “You’re the best fking trainer in all boxing!”

Round Eleven
Diaz was slow to get out of his corner. Campbell waits. Diaz came in, guard up, Campbell went to work. The ref breaks a clinch initiated by Diaz and says something to Campbell. More of the same as Diaz continued to hold and the ref continued to say things to Campbell. Campbell had to be annoyed by the ref and continued to punch and score. He landed a series of hooks and overhand rights. Diaz is a tough customer but he was getting the worst of it.
10-9 Campbell.

Campbell’s corner told him not to do anything stupid. Be smart. Don’t get careless.

Round Twelve
Campbell again out scored Diaz, who was punching then holding. Diaz lack of power was evident as even the shots he landed were having no effect. Diaz shoe-shined and Campbell shoe-shined right over his shoe-shine and scored the better shots. Campbell digs punches into the body and uppercuts upstairs during clinches. Diaz was a bloody mess and ineffective. At the bell, both fighters were lifted up but it was clear who won this one. 10-9 Campbell.

Juan Diaz deserves a lot of credit for showing a lot of heart but he never made any adjustments to deal with the mimicking style of Nate Campbell.

The Official Scores were 114-113 for Diaz and 116-111 and 115-112 for Campbell. Campbell won by Split Decision. I thought Diaz only won two rounds.

* *

With this victory, Campbell now has three of the four major titles in his possession. The only one he’s missing is the WBC Lightweight title, which ridiculously, is a title shared by two different fighters in Joel Casamayor (35-3-1, 21 KO’s) and David Diaz (33-1-1, 17 KO’s). Casamayor beat Campbell back in 2003. David Diaz and Joel Casamayor should be mandated to fight each other but they’re not, so the titles are watered down even further with this WBC chicanery.

For now, Nate Campbell is the man to beat at 135 pounds. It took a long hard struggle to get there but The Galaxy Warrior has finally arrived. He put on a tremendous performance that made Diaz look like he was hit by a bus by the time it was over.

To his credit, Diaz gave all he had, and though his eye was bleeding and his body had to be in pain from all those hard body shots compliments of Campbell, he never stopped trying to win. He showed tremendous heart. He’s still very young and this loss should be the best lesson he ever learned in boxing. It will make him a better fighter if he works to correct his deficiencies. He needs to develop a plan B for tough fights, like having an outside game to compliment his inside game and certainly try to improve his defensive skills. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Diaz make his comeback soon enough.

Congrats to Nate Campbell! He proved that being undefeated is over rated. He fought an inspiring fight and deserves to celebrate big time. I look forward to seeing him get a chance to take on either David Diaz or Joel Casamayor in the quest to capture all the belts and be the ONLY Champion at Lightweight.

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