Name: Naseem Hamed
Birthplace: Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Hometown: Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Height: 5′ 4½″ / 164cm
Reach: 64″ / 163cm
Boxing Record: click
A Brief History of Prince Naseem Hamed
Quoted from Naz-World
On the 12th February 1974 something happened that would eventually change boxing history forever, a young boy was born, that young boy was called Naseem Salom Ali Hamed, or as he is now more widely known Naz or Prince Naseem Hamed. Naz started to learn how to box when he was only 7 years old, after his dad Sal sent him to Brendan Ingle's gym to help him to look after himself because he was such a small child.
In 1992 Naz had his first professional fight on the 14th April 1992 when he fought Ricky Beard and duly won in the second round which was soon to become a favourite round for Naz to destroy his opponents. Not just defeating his opponents physically was enough for Naz and he wore them down mentally as well with his constant talking and dancing away from punches during the rounds. Rounds began to pass where his opponents would barely hit him and would lose concentration for a few seconds, which was enough for Naz to unload a big punch, sending them to the canvas. Naz then had 10 more fights after his first professional bout before he came up with his first real challenge, on the 11th May 1994 he came up against Vincenzo Belcastro whom he challenged to become European Bantamweight Champion. Naz, of course won this even though it was one of his longest fights with victory being a unanimous points win (120-107 , 120-109 , 119-110) in Naz's home town of Sheffield. Naz defended his newly found crown on the 17th August 1994 against Antonio Picardi in which Naz had his opponent on the floor twice before he finally stayed there in the second round. Just under two months later on 12th October 1994 Naz fought Freddy Cruz for the vacant WBC International Super Bantamweight Championship title. Cruz had never been stopped in any of his previous 56 fights and in the run up to the fight made the mistake of calling the Prince a boy. The ref stopped the fight in the 6th round and the Prince was a winner once more. For his last fight of 1994 Naz fought Laureano Ramirez. Naz predicted that he would win the fight in the 3rd round and could have easily won at anytime but left it till the 3rd round before he sent his man to the canvas.
For his first fight of 1995 Naz fought Armando Castro in Glasgow. Naz dropped Castro to the canvas in the 4th round and celebrated with a somersault thinking he had won but Castro managed to get up and decided he wanted more punishment, the ref seemed to agree with him but not for long as he was to stop the fight later on in the 4th round. Next on the hit list was Sergio Liendo on the 4th March who Naz managed to finish in the 2nd round, after the referee let a fight which should have been stopped moments earlier go on with Liendo taking extra, possibly damaging hits which were un-necessary. The next hopeful was Enrique Angeles who Naz fought on the 6th May but unfortunately for him he only lasted 2 rounds before finding himself lying on the canvas another victim of the Princes punch. On the 1st July Naz took on Juan Polo-Perez who was another to make the same mistake Freddy Cruz made in calling Naz a boy. Perez like Cruz found himself floored in the 2nd round, when else! You don't insult the Prince and get away with it! For his next and probably most challenging fight up until this time Naz moved up to featherweight and 'somehow' became the No.1 contender for the WBO Featherweight Championship even though he had never fought in this weight! He fought the Welshman Steve Robinson on the 30th September in Cardiff in front of a partisan crowd of 16,000 screaming Welsh, waiting for their man Robinson to end the undefeated run of the Prince. Robinson was floored first in the 5th round before being sent to the canvas again in the 8th when the referee stopped the fight. The Prince had become King.
Naz's first fight of 1996 was on the 16th March against Said Lawal, not that it could really be called a fight as Naz's entrance to the ring actually lasted longed than the 35 seconds which it took Naz to stop Lawal. Three punches were thrown in the fight, unsurprisingly all by Naz. Luckily Pay-per-View boxing was not the in thing at this time! Next up on the 8th June came Daniel Alicea which put two young fighters, Alicea (23) and Naz (22), who were both unbeaten up against each other. In round one Hamed was on the floor and whether or not this was due to being off balance or because of a punch was irrelevant as in the 2nd round the fight was over when Naz sent Alicea to the canvas twice, the second time for the count. On the 31st August Naz fought Manuel Medina in one of his less than spectacular fights which he fought even though he was not 100%, he had been suffering with a chest infection and won when the fight was stopped in the 11th round. For his last fight of 1996 Naz fought Remigio Molina on the 9th November, Molina was unbeaten in 27 fights but only lasted till the 2nd round when the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.
His first fight of 1997 on the 8th February saw him fight for the IBF Featherweight Championship against 48 fight veteran, of which 44 were wins(25 ko's), Tom 'Boom Boom' Johnson. This was Johnson's 12th defence of his title and unfortunately for him was to be his last as he was battered like hell in the 7th round before finally the ref stopped the fight towards the end of the 8th. The next fight for Naz came on the 3rd May when he fought Billy Hardy in Manchester. Hardy had said that Naz 'Might enter the ring on a chariot, but he would leave on a stretcher', Hardy was stopped after 93 seconds and would have been better off just lying on the floor as soon as the bell went for the start of the first round, well it would have been less painfull for him. On the 19th July Naz faced Juan Cabrera in London which was broadcast to the USA by the ABC Network, unfortunately the fight was a short one again with the ref stopping it in the 2nd round so the Americans didn't see too much of the great Naseem. Next up came another previously unstopped opponent in the form of Jose Badillo, but then he hadn't fought Naz before so he was bound to be unstopped. Badillo lasted until the 7th round when after a barrage of punches the ref finally stopped the fight. Finally on 19th December Naz crossed the Atlantic to feature in his first fight in front of the American Public and pitted against the American Kevin Kelley at New York's famous Madison Square Garden. Naz was knocked down in the 1st round and touched down with his gloves a few more times before he eventually got himself going and back into the fight. He floored Kelley in the 2nd and then had him down twice in the 4th round, the second time he didn't get up.
Naz first fight of 1998 was on the 18th April in Manchester against Wilfredo Vazquez who was the holder of the WBA title but gave this up so he could fight Naz, another more likely reason was the amount of money he could get in a fight against Naz! The referee stopped the fight after Vazquez was knocked down in the 3rd round and then twice in the 7th. For his next fight Naz again ventured once more across the Atlantic to the USA where he fought Wayne McCullough on the 31st October. Another successfull defence of his title when Naz won a unanimous points decision over Wayne McCullough after the fight went the distance which for a Naz fight is an unusual event. The fight was scored (116 - 112) ,(117 - 111) and (118 - 110). For his first fight of 1999 Naz will be fighting on the 10th April 1999 against Paul Ingle of Scarborough. Naz once again proved he is the best Pound for Pound featherweight in the division with a 11th round win over Paul Ingle. Ingle was down 3 times in a close fought contest and a short left to the head in the 11th laid him on the canvas unable to get to his feet before the count. Naz was down once in the fight after a wild swing at Ingle missed. This brought a cheer from the Ingle fans who thought that he had been knocked down by Ingle but Naz flicked himself back up on to his feet and got down to business. This was Naz' first fight under his new Trainer Oscar Suarez and he also had Emanuel Steward of the famous KronkGym in his corner as an advisor. Indeed it was Steward who in the 11th round told him Naz to use his left more which he did straight away to to finish Ingle!
Naz fought once more in 1999 against WBC Champion Cesar Soto from Mexico a respected fighter who many though would give Naz his toughest fight to date. The fight was to take place in the US on the 22nd October. The fight turned out to be the complete opposite of the good fight which had been promised in the weeks of advertising running up to the fight. The fight was probably the worst which Naz has had, though the blame cannot fully be with him as Soto came to fight dirty and did throughout the whole of the fight. Naz started the fight looking lively wearing his new black shorts with leopardskin trim. Once the fight reached the 3rd round it looked like it was going to be a long fight. Both boxers were warned for hitting on break. Naz was deducted a point in the 4th for a reason which was unclear and again in the 6th Naz lost another point when he wrestled Soto to the canvas. By the 8th round Soto was deducted a point after having nearly a dozen warnings from the ref for various wrong doings. Naz winks to his corner during the 9th round as he begins to pick off Soto more easily and blood starts to flow from Soto's battered nose. Coming to his corner at the end of the round Naz tells them that he believes that he broke Soto's nose in the last round.
Naz was warned by the referee again in the 10th and now has a bit of damage under his right eye. In round 12 Naz lets fly with a lovely left which was taking Soto down but Soto grabs hold of Naz and pulls him down as well. Soto has fought a poor fight so far, he started well but has been absolutely rubbish since the 3rd round. Soto's fight plan must have been to just grab and wrestle and he has helped spoil what should have been a really good fight. The fight goes to the scorecards and Naz is a clear winner even though he was deducted 2 points and he can add the WBC belt to his collection. Naz receives lots of criticism after the Soto fight and to add to this is stripped of his newly won WBC belt when he refuses to give up the WBO belt.
It is announced that Naz will fight again on the 11th March 2000 and that he will take on Junior Jones who, some say is on the way down but has a record which proves that he has the skill and ability to put on a good fight even though he has struggled to win his last 2 fights.
The fight with Junior Jones was called off when Jones decided that he was worth more than the money he was being offered to fight Naz. Several possibilitys for new opponents have been named including Paul Ingle, Steve Robinson and Vuyani Bungu and the favourite being Steve Robinson because he is the WBO number 1 ranked contender. The oponent for the next fight is named as Vuyani Bungu who has 'never' been knocked out in his career and has only lost 2 fights, both on points. The press and boxing's commentators and journalists seem to prefer the new choice of opponent with some actually tipping Bungu to cause an upset and beat Naz. Many believe that even though Bungu has not fought for 13 months his high workrate and style will cause Naz a lot of problems and that Bungu will wear Naz down.
The 11th of March arrives and in front of a packed crowd Bungu makes his way to the ring following a strange shouting 'witchdoctor' who is warning off evil spirits and whatever else he was supposed to be achieving.
Bungu arrives at the ring and moves to his corner and stares into the crowd and along with one of his entourage spots a person from NazWorld in the crowd about 8 rows back holding up a t-shirt with the NazWorld website address on it as well as the phrase Bung-Who! Naz is announced and he makes one of his most fantastic, and supposedly last, entertaining entrances sweeping in on a flying carpet high above the crowd to the music of Puff Daddy who leads him to the ring when his carpet lands. Once again the NazWorld/Bung-Who! t-shirt appears and this time it's on Sky Box Office as the cameras flick to it seconds before Naz flips over the rope and into the ring. After all the particulars are done the fight begins. From the off Naz looks more focused than he has been for his last few fights as he moves purposefully around the ring working shots to the head and body of Bungu. Naz is caught by a shot from Bungu but hardly seems to notice as he gives Bungu a decent shot in return which seems to make Bungu's knees wobble. Round 2 begins and Naz keeps to the style from round 1 unleashing more shots to the body than he has done in his last few fights. Naz once again wins this round and looks in blistering form as he avoids the usual showboating and demonstrates why he is the greatest featherweight.
In the 3rd round Naz begins to pick the pace up more and has Bungu in trouble but seems to hold back not wanting to finish the job yet as it seems he could have done since round 2. Bungu looks bewildered as he returns to his corner and the busy, frustrating style has not had any effect on Naz and he has lost all 3 rounds so far and is not even in the fight yet. Round 4 begins very much as round 3 ended with Naz again on top and half way into the round it's all over as Naz fakes one way, jabs Bungu to the head and then blasts a straight left through Bungus open guard and hits him on the chin. Bungu crashes to the canvas any his glazed eyes roll in his head as he trys to focus and see where he is and he rises just after the count of 10 but is obviously in no shape to continue as he stumbles about the ring and into the arms of the referee who leads him back to his corner.
End of Quote
Following the Bungu fight Hamed finally offered to fight long time WBO number one challenger, Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez turned down the fight saying that he wanted more money. Hamed finally fought Augie Sanchez. Sanchez was a very hard puncher and a skilled amateur who once beat Floyd Mayweather. They engaged in a war in which both fighters were stunned. Naz finally won by devastating KO in the fourth round which left Sanchez in a stretcher.
After this fight Hamed relinquished his WBO title. Some people say it was because Istvan Kovacs was the WBO number one contender and Hamed didn't want to face a technical boxer who would give him problems. Hamed got rid of his title and opted to fight Marco Antonio Barrera. At the time, Barrera was coming off a stunning fight with Erik Morales that was considered to be the fight of the year. Hamed offered to fight Barrera, saying that he felt MAB was the true winner of the fight, and most of the boxing media agreed. Hamed vs. Barrera was set for April 7th, 2001 at the MGM Grand Hotel. This was Hamed's first fight in Las Vegas. Prior to the fight, he trained very little, according to his trainer, Emanuel Steward, and according to a BBC documentary regarding the fight. Steward claims Hamed would constantly be watching MAB's KO loss to Junior Jones instead of watching his more recent fights where Barrera had looked good.
Barrera defeated Naseem when the two finally met. Barrera suprised most by using his boxing skills rather then by brawling and counterpunching. Following this fight Hamed had one more fight against Manuel Calvo for the IBO title. Hamed won the fight but didn't come close to scoring a knockout. This led people to believe that Hamed was over the hill. Perhaps Hamed himself agreed; following this fight he has seemingly retired from the sport. He is said to be in the real estate development business and enjoying retirement.
Hamed will always be remembered for attracting new fans to the sport and for bringing more attention and money to the lower weight divisions.
Fighting Weight: 122 - 126lbs
Normal Weight: 128 - 132lbs
Chest - 36"
Reach - 63"
Waist - 29"
Thigh - 29"
Fist - 10"
| WBO Featherweight Champion
1995 Sep 30 – 2000 Sep 30
| IBF Featherweight Champion
1997 Feb 8 – 1997 Jul
| WBC Featherweight Champion
1999 Oct 22 – 2000
Guty Espadas Jr.