Interview with Nate “The Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell - Ready for Return, Signs with Golden Boy By Ken Hissner (Dec 31, 2009) DoghouseBoxing
Nate “The Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell is the former IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight champion who never started boxing until he was 25. In the amateurs he had 36 fights. At 27 he decided to pass up the Olympic trials and turn professional. He recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions.
Campbell reeled off 9 straight knockouts including over two unbeaten fighters in Sergio Olivas, 7-0, and Ivan Dawson, 5-0-1. The streak was stopped by Angel Rios, 8-1, over 6 rounds with Campbell winning a hard fought decision. By August of 2001 in his 14th fight he stopped Panama’s Victorio Abadia who was on a 7 fight win streak. In his 17th fight he stopped James Baker, 11-1-3, who quit after 8 rounds.
Two fights later Campbell won the NABA super featherweight title stopping Alric Johnson, 20-11. Two fights after that he stopped Carlos Navarro 23-2-1, in June of 2002. He would add the NABF title to his NABA title stopping Daniel Alicea, 27-4-2, in Las Vegas. He ended 2002 scoring another knockout increasing his unbeaten streak to 23-0, with 21 by knockout. This earned him a fight with the former WBA super featherweight champion Joel Casamayor, 28-1, in January of 2003. This was a fierce battle with Casamayor cut in the 9th and his left eye closing badly. The fight went down to the wire with Campbell losing his first fight. There was mixed opinions about who the winner was.
Instead of Campbell’s people getting him something easy he was put right back in with Edelmiro “The Tiger” Martinez, 20-2. This would be the first of two matches when the result ended in a draw. Next up would be an IBF super featherweight eliminator for the #2 spot. Campbell put Daniel Attah, 21-2-1, down 3 times, winning a lopsided decision over 12 rounds.
Next would be tough Australian Robbie Peden, 22-2, in an IBF super featherweight title eliminator. Campbell was having his way for 4 rounds frustrating Peden when, as he started bringing his hands up from his sides, Peden landed a left hook dropping Campbell. He beat the count but the referee waved it off. Campbell asked for a rematch, but he first had to give Martinez his rematch.
The rematch Campbell had with Martinez was very lopsided despite losing a point in the 2nd round for a low blow. Martinez was down 3 times in the 2nd round. In the 4th round Martinez was deducted a point for low blows and when he did it again he was disqualified. The rematch with Peden was set, but Campbell would have to go to Australia to get it in February of 2005.
Campbell could not seem to get the better of Peden in the rematch. He was behind on all scorecards having lost a point for a low blow in the 7th round. Peden was known as a rough fighter using his head and elbows but never got a warning. In the 8th with Campbell covering up the referee stopped the fight at the 2:53 mark giving Peden the vacant IBF super featherweight title.
Campbell would move up in weight just several months later scoring a knockout before being upset by Francisco Lorenzo, 21-3, of the Dominican Republic by split decision in June of 2005. Knowing that most people had him as an underdog he looked forward to fighting former champion Julio Diaz. Instead, he beat late sub and previously unbeaten Almazbek “Kid Diamond” Raiymkulov, 20-1-1, stopping him in the 10th and final round. He was back.
Campbell opened up 2006 stopping puncher Francisco Olvera, 15-2, in 6 rounds in Atlantic City. Next up would be future IBF welterweight champion Isaac Hlatshwayo, 23-0, for the IBO International title. In a hard fought fight Campbell would lose another split decision.
It would be 6 months before Campbell would fight again. He traveled to Chicago where there is a big Polish fan base and fight Poland’s Matt Zegan, 37-1, in an IBF title eliminator. He would easily defeat the Pole and be put in another eliminator against Ricky Quiles, 39-7-3, which wasn’t so easy being good friends. What was he to do to get a title bout? To keep busy in 2007 he stopped Wilson Alcorro, 25-7-3, in 6 rounds. Campbell would only have 2 fights that year.
In March of 2008 Campbell finally got his break. He had to sign with Don King, Diaz’s promoter to get the fight with Juan Diaz, 33-0, who held the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. Campbell rose to the occasion in defeating Diaz by split decision in Cancun, Mexico to capture the 3 titles. Things would not be rosy with no fights the rest of the year for Campbell. He vacated the WBA title in January of 2009 due to sanctioning fees and proposed mandatory defenses.
In February things got worse when he didn’t make weight in fighting Ali Funeka, 30-1-2, in Sunrise, Florida. With Campbell coming in 2 ½ pounds over the lightweight limit he managed to win a majority 12 round decision, but his titles were gone. If Funeka had won the fight the titles would have been his.
Moving up in weight Campbell challenged WBO light welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, 24-0, on August 1st of 2009. In the 3rd round Bradley came in with his head against the left eye of Campbell knocking him back. Campbell put his glove to his head motioning to the referee he had been head butted when Bradley landed a couple of blows. With the blood gushing out and a bad gash through the eye brow the fight was stopped and awarded to Bradley. The referee admitted it was an unintentional head butt, but said it wasn’t until the several blows that landed after that the cut opened up. Sound ridiculous? Someone thought so because the decision was changed to a NC by CSAS on August 24th. Bradley would go onto defend his title over Lamont Peterson in December while Campbell awaits his deserved rematch. I was able to ask Campbell some question pertaining to his late start career and what the “Galaxxy Warriors” future plans were.
KH: You scored 18 knockouts in your first 20 fights before facing Carlos Navarro, 23-1-1. Would you say that was your first test up until then?
NC: No, Angel Rios was my toughest fight before that winning by a point or two.
KH: In 2003 you faced your toughest test in former WBA super featherweight champion, the Cuban, Joel Casamayor. Was it a rough fight, especially losing for the first time?
NC: I thought I won the fight. I couldn’t get a rematch. The loss was hard mentally to accept.
KH: You go right back in with a tough fighter after your first loss in Edelmiro Martinez and fight to a draw in Atlantic City. What was different the second time around when you won by disqualification?
NC: I still wasn’t focused in that first fight. They should have stopped the second fight in the 2nd round when I scored 3 knockdowns. For some reason I was deducted a point in the 2nd round. The referee finally disqualified him in the 4th.
KH: After you defeated Daniel Attah in an elimination match you were stopped by the tough Australian Robbie Peden. You seemed to handle him easily but got careless. What happened?
NC: I had my hands down and I got what I deserved.
KH: You defeat Martinez in the rematch and travel to Australia to meet Peden again. Why Australia and what happened in losing to Peden again?
NC: I had no choice but to go to Australia if I wanted a rematch. I hurt him and a knockdown was called a slip. He used his head and elbows to the point my face looked like I was beat with a brick. My corner, John David Jackson and William Gonzalez, wanted to stop it earlier. I got hit low and grabbed my cup yelling to the referee as he stepped in and stopped it.
KH: You lose to Francisco Lorenzo but come back and beat unbeaten “Kid Diamond”. What was the difference in your mind set for these two fights?
NC: Since I was still rated at 130 and I thought I could make 132 for Lorenzo and get another title fight. I was down to 133, de-hydrated and felt like I had the flu. I refurnished my body and ballooned to 147 a week later. Several days later without doing anything my weight dropped to 140. I had to make 132 for that fight and my body was in shock making me lethargic. Kid Diamond came in as a late sub for Julio Diaz and had drawn with Casamayor in his previous fight. I was more ready for this fight at 135.
KH: You lose by split decision to Isaac Hlatshwayo who would go on to win and lose the IBF welterweight title. How tough of an opponent was he?
NC: He looked as big as a welterweight in the ring. I didn’t think it was the same fighter I saw at the weigh-in the day before, but I still thought I won that fight.
KH: You win a couple of IBF eliminator matches over Poland’s Matt Zegan and Ricky Quiles before stopping Alcorro. You then make one of your best showings in defeating Juan Diaz for his 3 lightweight titles. What were your feelings after all this time finally becoming the champion?
NC: First, the Quiles fight was one of my toughest especially since we were good friends. Diaz did not want to fight me. I had to sign with Don King in order to get the fight.
KH: After winning the title in March of 2008 you don’t fight the rest of the year what happened?
NC: The signing with King is what happened. No one would fight me because they had other promoters and they didn’t want to deal with King.
KH: Not fighting for almost a year you fail to make weight but still defeat Ali Funeka. Do you feel you have finally found the weight best for you at light welterweight?
NC: He was one of the hardest punchers I ever fought. After getting hit in the 1st round I went back to my corner, took out my mouthpiece and said “this mother@#cker can punch”! When I beat Funeka they said he was nothing. When he fought Guzman and got robbed they called him King Kong!
KH: You take on WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and in a clash of heads you are cut and cannot go on. The decision at the time was in favor of Bradley though the replay showed it was an accidental head butt not ruled that way by the referee. How did you get the decision changed to a no contest?
NC: The head butt felt like my eye was pushed back in my head. I couldn’t see out of my eye. The referee never even admitted he made a mistake at the hearing. Reviewing the tapes it was obvious it was caused by a head butt and changed to a no contest.
KH: What is the current status of your career with Bradley recently making a title defense?
NC: Slim to none that Bradley will ever fight me again. Bradley never said anything negative until I left the ring. Then he bad mouthed me being too old.
KH: Are you still signed with King?
NC: No. Last week I signed with Golden Boy. I want to fight the best out there. I want a money fight.
KH: What is your mind set now for the future?
NC: I’ve got the best trainer in the world in John David Jackson who gets little credit. (Jackson is the former WBO #154 and WBA #160 champion.) We train at the Contenders in Ft. Lauderdale. A month before the fight I go to the Fight Factory in Tampa. Then to camp in Key West. I think I deserve a big fight. I’m willing to fight anyone at 140.
At 140 there is Bradley (WBO), Amir Khan (WBA), Juan Urango (IBF) and Devon Alexander (WBC) are the champions. Of course Manny Pacquiao is the biggest money fight. Even Ricky Hatton is talking of fighting again and can draw a money fight. Campbell will be the “underdog” no matter who he fights but he’s also one person you don’t want to underestimate!