My First Fight with Joel Casamayor
By Nate Campbell (as told to Chris Robinson) (October 23, 2005)
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Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli
Following his recent destruction of Almazbek ‘Doctor Evil’ Raiymkulov, Nate ‘The Galaxxy Warrior’ Campbell has breathed new life to his career. With the win Campbell has shown that his skills, heart, and power are still intact and his move up to the Lightweight division appears to be a fresh start all over again for him.

With the win Campbell has made it known that he is now desiring a re-match with Joel ‘El Cepillo’ Casamayor. The two men fought a back and forth battle in January of 2003 on HBO, with Casamayor coming out on top. Nate swears he was jobbed that night and wishes nothing more than to extract sweet revenge on the slick Cuban southpaw. With talks of a rematch swirling, I saw it fitting to take a look back with Nate on his first fight with Casamayor, through his eyes. Here’s how the ‘Galaxxy Warrior’ remembers it best…

"I always knew I could beat Joel Casamayor from the moment I first saw him fight. Don’t get me wrong, Joel is a good fighter but he can’t handle a good, fundamental boxer. Casamayor is the type of fighter who needs you to lead to be successful. He feeds off fighters who come to him. If he can counterpunch you he will beat you but I knew I would never let that happen if I were to fight him.

On the night of Christmas Eve 2002, as I was getting off of a plane in Nashville, Tennessee, I got a call from Main Events’ matchmaker Carl Moretti. He asked me if I was interested in fighting Joel Casamayor. I jumped at the chance to fight Joel and after a few days of sorting out some money issues, I was in camp on January 1st. When the contracts were signed I felt like I was on top of the world.

The fight was to take place on January 25th in Temecula, California, at the Pechanga Entertainment Center underneath the first meeting between Vernon Forrest and Ricardo Mayorga. At the time my trainer was Buddy McGirt and I trained for the fight at Buddy’s gym in Vero Beach, Florida. In that camp I sparred with Ricky Quiles and Sharmba Mitchell and we went to war. The camp was only three weeks long but they helped me get in tremendous shape. If I had been able to train another week I would have been even sharper and would have probably stopped Casamayor.

I do remember that Casamayor and his people seemed to take me lightly. Before the fight Casamayor was asking people ‘How does this kid think he can possibly beat me?’ and I was thinking to myself ‘How could I think anything else?’. The night of the fight I felt good and I was ready. I knew it was my time to perform.

The fight started and I felt that I won the early rounds. I seemed to be landing my right hand at will on him. I noticed that Casamayor wasn’t nearly as fast or as quick as he was made out to be. My jab was getting to him and I was boxing when I chose to and fighting when I had to. He was also fighting dirty in spots, but I have to respect that because as a fighter you have to do what you can to get the win. The crowd at the Pechanga was great. After some rounds went by they started cheering for me and turned over to my side.

When it was all said and done I believed that I had beaten him. I took the first four rounds and came on strong late in the fight. The rounds he won he didn’t win outright and when the decision was announced I knew I was jobbed. There wasn’t anything that I could do about it, it’s just the way the game works. After the fight I felt like Antonio Tarver after his first fight against Roy Jones. I knew I had what it took to beat Casamayor.

Right now I feel that it is a fight we must both have in order to get some closure before our careers are over. I just want to get the win more than anything else because I know that winning would make a lot of other things happen for my career. I respect Joel Casamayor as a fighter and as a person; I just want to fight him again."

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