Prince Naseem Hamed The Champion of Champions in the Feather wei
When boxing fans talk about Naseem Hamed these days they will mostly say he was an overrated cocky fighter who fought nobodies his entire career before stepping up and being easily defeated by the great Marco Antonio Barrera but was his career spent fighting nobodies or is the Prince being treated badly by anti British fans of the sport we love?
As of 2010 the Prince is still not in the HOF which is a travesty so I would have to assume that the British Featherweight who ruled at 126lbs and made millions in a division that had never seen that amount of money before is being forgotten because sadly he has a Sheffield accent.
Now onto his overrated resume which is filled with nobodies.
On September 30 1995 21 year old Naseem Hamed became WBO FW Champion of the world when he went into Welshman Steve Robinsons backyard(Cardiff) and easily won every round before stopping him in the eighth.
Robinson held the WBO title for two and a half years and made Seven defences of that title including wins over former WBC FW Champion Paul Hodkinson & three weight World Champion Duke McKenzie before he met Naz.This was a very good win for young Naz.
After a couple of soft defences Naz then defended his title against Manuel Medina,yeah the guy who was a five time FW World Champion.
Biased haters will tell you that the 25 year old Medina was past his best when he fought Naz but will fail to tell you that Medina would go on to win a version of the FW title another three times after Naseem Hamed beat him up and made the ringside doctor stop the fight.
After destroying the over matched Molina in 2 rds Hamed then started 97 with a unification fight with American Tom Boom Boom Johnson,a year in which Hamed would have five title fights and win all five by KO.
Johnson was the IBF FW Champion who had made 11 title defences and hadnt tasted defeat for over five years when he met Hamed in February of 97.Like most fighters who fought prime Naz he was knocked out in eight and Hamed was now a unified IBF/WBO FW Champion.
After knocking out former three time world title challenger Billy Hardy in the first rd and making a couple of easy defences Naz then made his way across the pond to fight Kevin Kelley in his backyard at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Kelley the Flushing Flash was 47-1 when he fought Naz and was the former WBC FW Champion who had reigned for two years whos sole defeat was almost three years before the Hamed fight.
In a FOTY candidate both fighters where dropped before Naz finally knocked out Kelly in the 4th round to take his record to 29-0 with an amazing 27 of those wins coming by KO.
Next was Wilfredo Vazquez a former three weight World Champion and the current WBA FW Champion who was stripped of his title because the WBA did not want their title to be unified with the WBO thus denying Hamed the chance to hold all four FW titles.
Vazquez had made nine defences of his WBA 122lb title and four defences of his WBA FW title when Naz knocked him out in seven rounds in April 1998.
After winning an easy decision over iron chinned Wayne McCullough and then knocking out Paul Ingle in 11 rds(Ingle would go on to get wins over Manuel Medina & Junior Jones)Hamed then unified his WBO title yet again when he fought WBC FW Champion Cesar Soto in Detroit at the end of 99.
Soto knocked out Jose Luis Castillo in two rds and had just won the WBC five months before when he was easily outpointed against Hamed with his record now standing at 33-0.
Next came Vuyani Bungu the former IBF 122lb Champion who had made 11 defences of that title and was unbeaten in 19 fights when he stepped into the ring with Hamed.
Hamed knocked him out in four and then defends against Augie Sanchez the man who beat Floyd Mayweather Jr in the Amateur ranks and hadnt lost in 10 fights when he stepped into the ring with Hamed in August 2000,sadly for him he would leave the ring on a stretcher as Naz knocks him out in four.
Naseem Hamed made 15 defences of his WBO FW title and unified it with the WBC & IBF and also destroyed the WBA Champion but because of politics he wasnt able to hold every title in the division.
Ring Magazine Featherweight ratings of Hameds opponents when he faced them:
Steve Robinson #3
Manuel Medina #3
Tom Johnson #1
Kevin Kelley #5
Wilfredo Vazquez #4
Cesar Soto #5
Vuyani Bungu #4
World Title fights record : 16-0 with 14 KOs