Boxing

Naseem Hamed Coming Back To Boxing As A Manager, To “Put The Sparkle Back In A Dying Sport”

By James Slater: There is no doubt, former featherweight ruler Naseem Hamed lit up the sport of boxing in a major way back in the 1990s. And, whether you loved him or loathed him, it has to be admitted by all that “The Prince” delivered when it came to providing excitement.

Hamed, who ballooned in weight since retiring in 2002, has been pretty much out of the limelight ever since his last fight (a dreary points win over Manuel Calvo) , but he is now about to come back to the sport he still loves - as a manager, maybe even a promoter.

Hamed gave a recent interview with BBC Sport, and the 36-year-old said he will begin working with Commonwealth Games light-heavyweight gold medallist Callum Johnson of Scotland.

“Naz” says he is coming back - as a manager first and then “maybe as a promoter” - because boxing has died over recent years.

“I don’t see any characters out there,” Hamed said. “Callum Johnson is another reason why I’m coming back to boxing. He’s a great talent and I’m looking forward to seeing what the input and the experience I have will do for him.”

But just why does Hamed feel boxing is “dying?”

“I don’t see any drama in the game anymore. There was just a buzz around each city I fought in when I fought - I gave a great show with a great knockout. Right now, there’s not much happening at all. We’ve just seen one of the so-called best and biggest British heavyweight clashes, and it was one of the biggest disappointments. It’s just sad to see. Boxing is an amazing game, I love it, and I miss it - but I believe boxing missed me. Now we’re back!”

Hamed said he believes Johnson will be a world champion “within three years“, and that he expects to see ten straight wins as the prospect, who will make his pro debut in December, advances - with all ten coming by KO!

It remains to be seen if Hamed, as a manger, can indeed bring some extra sparkle to boxing. Will the former champ be able to handle the huge amount of work involved with managing fighters? One thing is definite though: Hamed’s presence at ringside will cause intrigue and excitement. Still hugely popular in the U.K, Hamed may even prove to be more of an attraction than the fighters he manages!

And even if you don’t agree with Hamed when he says boxing is dying (I don’t), he is right when he calls the recent Haye-Harrison clash “the biggest ever letdown.”

Article posted on 19.11.2010



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