Nate Campbell: Louder than a bomb

By Michael Herron


Nate Campbell: Louder than a bomb

Since his defeat over previously undefeated lightweight champion Juan “The Baby Bull” Diaz earlier this year, Nate Campbell, the new IBF, WBA, WBO lightweight champion, has been on a verbal rampage that has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. By utilizing sources mainly found on the internet, Campbell has gotten the word out that he won’t be denied the respect and priority he deserves as a champion. His list of targets range from fighters to promoters, networks and sanctioning bodies, and companies and individuals; with the battle just beginning, is anyone safe from the wrath of Campbell?

In an “Open Letter to Richard Schaefer” CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Campbell reveals the source of his frustration. He responds vehemently to Schaefer’s comment “is Nate Campbell only good at giving interviews, or is he willing to fight somebody the caliber of (Juan Manuel) Marquez?” Campbell writes, “Well, I’ve got a question for you too Richard. Do you actually know how to promote a show, or do you just have to wait every time for HBO to pull out their nipple for you to nurse on? When’s the last time your company actually promoted a fight on its own? Or do you just beg for HBO dates, and site fees, and call yourself a promoter? And don’t try and take credit for Oscar-Floyd, and Floyd-Hatton, and other high dollar shows. You didn’t promote those fights, HBO did.” Campbell’s reaction to being questioned as a fighter is cleverly designed to question Schaefer as a promoter. His comments also brings to light a valid point, is it Golden Boy who is promoting fights or HBO? One thing is for sure, Campbell has not needed 24/7 to broadcast his message to the boxing world.

In a follow-up interview with Greg Leon at Boxingtalk, Campbell further clarifies his stand-off with Schaefer and Golden Boy Promotions, he states "First of all, I was offended that he would say that they came to me and offered me Juan Manuel Marquez. That's not who I asked them for, I asked them for Casamayor, that's my mandatory… Then he goes on to question my manhood and desire to fight the best fighters out there. OK. Who's the best? And when do they want to fight between July and August? When?” Campbell’s demand to face linear lightweight champion Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor in July or August was met with an offer from GBP to fight Juan Manuel Marquez in November. At 36 and nearing the twilight of his career, it is understandable that Campbell would not want to wait till November to fight. Afterall, in who’s best interest is it to fight in November; a hungry Nate Campbell or a well-fed Marquez and Golden Boy?

While Campbell is embroiled in the politics of boxing, the publicity generated has invited fans and media to debate his merit as a fighter. Basically, is his bite as big as his bark? Though his win over Juan Diaz was impressive, does that win alone give him justification to declare himself the baddest man in the lightweight division? In most writers’ opinion, lineal champion Joel Casamayor may still hold that title.

Campbell’s verbal attacks on Casamayor have been just as critical as his opinions of Juan Diaz, Juan Manuel Marquez, Michael Katsidis, and every other notable contender. In reference to Casamayor he states, “He could talk all the big talk he wants…because when he fights me, I'm going to wax that ass. He thinks he talks with a stutter now and his speech is all messed up now, but when I get through with him, I'm just going to pray he has some solid life insurance because I'm going to beat him to death." Now you can say this is just “boxingtalk” and pre-fight hype, but Casamayor certainly deserves a bit more respect than that. Perhaps Campbell has forgotten that not only does Casamayor hold a win over him, but he has also been in the ring with some of the best lightweights in the world, the late great Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, and Acelino Freitas. In addition, Casamayor has been where Campbell finds himself now, on the outside looking in; misunderstood, avoided, disrespected, and waiting in the shadows.

To a large extent, Campbell’s disrespect toward Casamayor is questionable because a match-up featuring the two would be a fight between two champions that came up the hard way, not media darlings who have had their career paths paved in gold. Though it is apparent they don’t like each other, a bit of mutual respect towards each others struggles is in order. Otherwise, it would be with irony that Campbell, who has only recently become “Public Enemy #1”, has chosen to mock a fighter who for years has been “Enemy of the State.” One thing is certain however, boxing fans want to see this fight!

So as Campbell’s tirades continue, the question of his bite being as big as his bark will still be left for his promoters, sanctioning bodies, and networks to decide. Though he is fighting the good fight and demanding righteousness within the industry, he may yet have to bite the bullet, compromise his feelings, and do what it takes to make fights happen. In retrospect, Campbell is not the first fighter to take on the powers that be, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Jr., Winky Wright, and even his rival Casamayor have all defied the odds and attempted to blaze their way through the politics of the sport. The good news, however, is that according to Golden Boy Promotions, they are going to “clean up boxing.” I’m sure that undoubtedly makes Nate Campbell very happy, full of delight, and smitten with irrepressible laughter. . .


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