Franchise Thoughts: Irony Abounds as Nate Campbell Loses Belts on the Scale

Nate Campbell had some harsh words for Joan Guzman after their scheduled fight last September fell apart because Guzman failed to make weight. Among other things, Campbell pointed out how unprofessional it was for a boxer to know what is expected of him and then fail to do it.

I thought Campbell was in the right to call out Guzman at the time, and you could hardly blame the guy for being a little bitter. The missed paycheck couldn't have come at a worse time for him personally, and he filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter.

Campbell may have surrendered the moral high ground Friday, though, as he failed to make weight for his lightweight title defense against Ali Funeka. After first tipping the scales three pounds over the 135-pound limit, he tried again two hours later and had dropped only half a pound.

Unlike the Guzman fight, this one is still going forward. But it won't be a championship bout, and the Galaxxy Warrior won't even be able to call himself a champion now that the IBF and WBO have all stripped him of his titles. You have to wonder if the fight will even anchor HBO's tripleheader at this point.

It's hard to think of a boxer who's experienced a wilder range of highs and lows over the past 12 months than Campbell. He became the lightweight champion last March by earning a thrilling 12-round decision over Juan Diaz and got married later in the year. Those events were contrasted by the Guzman debacle, the bankruptcy, and now this.

Campbell has looked like his own worst enemy before, like during his 2004 loss to Robbie Peden when he was famously knocked out while showboating. He's made all the requisite comments about lessons learned in the years since then, which makes it all the more puzzling that he'd end up in a position like this just as his career finally seemed to have taken off.

Despite his missteps, Campbell has always been someone who was easy to get behind. He's been a straight shooter in interviews while coming across as a well-grounded regular guy. He's fought in a crowd-pleasing style and carried himself as someone with a strong work ethic and a real love for the game.

Those positives are now in real danger of being washed away. By failing to make weight, Campbell has not only endangered his prospects of big fights over the next year or two - no small deal since he turns 37 in a few weeks - but also made himself look unreliable and hypocritical after the way he dressed down Guzman. And to me, that's worse.

The book hasn't been closed yet on Campbell's career, but this latest turn of events sure has made it take on a gloomier tone as the pages wind down. By the looks of things, he's going to need to look in the mirror and decide for himself how badly he wants it to have a happy ending.

1 comment:

uatu said...

I think Nate Campbell will get a decent fight following this one win or lose. Either way, he has a big enough name now that he will get at least one more against a decent name. How big the name is depends on how he looks.