Nate Campbell breaks the Baby Bull

nate campbellBy Phil Santos –, photo by David Martin Warr - DKP: In a fight that was supposed to build to a championship showdown between Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell played the spoiler. Diaz has been the definition of relentless, breaking his opponents down to the point of submission. He has been dubbed unofficially as the best Lightweight in the world despite the fact that Joel Casamayor holds the coveted Ring Magazine Championship Title.

Nate Campbell has been here before, losing an IBO title fight to Isaac Hlatswayo and dropping a decision to current Lightweight boss Joel Casamayor. It was this fight that would determine whether Campbell could establish himself as more than just a viable contender and prove to be cut from championship cloth.

For Juan Diaz this would be the third top rated fighter that he hoped to vanquish in his last three fights.. The “Baby Bull” had Stopped Acelino Freitas and Julio Diaz in consecutive impressive showings. In the process he garnered the WBO and IBF Lightweight titles to add to his WBA crown making him the most decorated fighter in the division.

As soon as the bell sounded Diaz and Campbell were all over each other. Campbell was looking to establish himself in the early going as someone who would not have his will broken. Campbell’s aggressiveness paid dividends early on and earned him the 1st and 4th rounds on my scorecard.

Juan Diaz pressed in rounds 2 and 3 doing enough good work to outscore Campbell but was not his normal smothering, “make em quit”, Baby Bull. Campbell although giving up some rounds initially was earning Diaz’s respect and breaking down the current champion.

Diaz stepped up his attack firing off a two handed assault and outworking, however slightly, the veteran challenger. Campbell hung in with the younger Diaz while attempting to match him punch for punch. Diaz took the 5th round as well as the 6th with effective aggression and solid work on the inside. In the 6th round of a very close fight a potentially huge call was made as referee Jesús Salcedo deducted a point from Nate Campbell for a head butt that caused a cut over the left eye of Juan Diaz. Upon further review it became apparent that the cut that was opened by a punch and definitively did not warrant a point deduction.

It was at this point that the complexion of the fight and the face of Juan Diaz greatly changed. Nate Campbell raised his game and backed up Juan Diaz, a fighter who is known for wearing out and walking down opponents. Campbell landed the harder more effective shots and carried all of the final five rounds.

As the cut above the left eye of Diaz worsened Campbell only seemed to gain momentum. With every passing round it was becoming evident who would be leaving the ring with the title of world champion. Diaz never relented but couldn’t find an answer for the savvy Nate Campbell. Campbell easily cruised through the second half of the fight and beat down the younger and heavily favored Diaz to establish himself as the premier Lightweight in the world.

My card read 115-112 in favor of Nate Campbell. The judges scored the fight 114-113 for Juan Diaz and 116-111 and 115-112 for Nate Campbell. Juan Diaz loses his first fight dropping to 33-1 (17). Nate Campbell improves to 32-5-1 (25) and now holds the IBF, WBA and WBO Lightweight titles and has to be considered the best fighter at 135.

Article posted on 09.03.2008

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