In an ideal world, Casamayor fights the 'Galaxxy Warrior' next
In the past week, both Joel Casamayor and Nate Campbell proved their worth against younger, more aggressive fighters. Now all that's left to prove is their worth against each other.
Updated: March 24, 2008, 1:00 PM ETBy Eric Raskin | ESPN.com
Tom Hogan/Golden Boy PromotionsOne perfectly timed left hook can right things in boxing, as Casamayor proved in a come-from-behind win against Katsidis.Money is the ultimate matchmaker in boxing. Just ask Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya, who generated 150 million reasons last May to give sports fans a rematch that boxing fans aren't particularly interested in. Joel Casamayor and Nate Campbell are not Mayweather and De La Hoya. There will never be a "Casamayor-Campbell 24/7." There will never be a reason for Liev Schreiber to utter either of their names. Financial considerations will never force Casamayor and Campbell to agree to a rematch to their Jan. 25, 2003 battle that ended in a close, debatable decision win for Casamayor. And, as we're so often reminded, the name of the game is "prize fighting" -- money being the prize, the motivation for stepping into the ring and accepting the risks that come with getting punched in the head for a living.
But money isn't the only prize worth fighting for. Most boxers will tell you that earning universal recognition as the king of their weight class can help get them out of bed in the morning. And that's the prize that would be at stake in Casamayor-Campbell II. There aren't millions of dollars to throw at these guys, and if you don't know why, just ask your neighbor, the general sports fan whose life at this moment revolves around his NCAA office pool, whether he's ever heard of either of them. But Casamayor holds The Ring lightweight championship and the lineal title indicative of who's the man that beat the man, and Campbell, despite recognition in many quarters as the best fighter at 135 pounds right now, hungers for what Casamayor has. "If he didn't have that title, I wouldn't be interested in fighting him," Campbell told ESPN.com on Saturday night, shortly after Casamayor's riveting 10th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Michael Katsidis to retain his championship. "But he has the lineal title and I want to be the lineal champion."
AP Photo/Eduardo VerdugoDespite punching his way past Juan Diaz, Nate Campbell may still find himself on the outside looking in at a shot at Joel Casamayor's lineal title.
If he didn't have that title, I wouldn't be interested in fighting him. But he has the lineal title and I want to be the lineal champion.
-- Nate Campbell, on why he wants to fights Joel Casamayor
Admittedly, it became extremely uncomfortable to call Casamayor champ when he retained his title against Santa Cruz on a split decision at Madison Square Garden. It was a fight that couldn't have been scored worse had the new governor of New York been handed a pencil. Fortunately, Casamayor's win on Saturday night over Katsidis made his position considerably less uncomfortable. The champ scored a pair of first-round knockdowns, only to watch the relentless Australian warrior battle back, knock him through the ropes in the sixth round and hurt Casamayor as badly as anyone ever has. Casamayor persevered, however, and caught the challenger with a spectacular left hand just seconds into Round 10 that swung the pendulum for the final time and set up the dramatic stoppage.
Tom Hogan/Golden Boy PromotionsCasamayor, left, couldn't have imagined Katsidis would come roaring back from a pair of knockdowns in Round 1.
I beat Nate Campbell with three weeks of training [five years ago]. I want [Manny] Pacquiao, I want [Marco Antonio] Barrera. I want the big money fight.
-- Joel Casamayor, on why he has no interest in fighting Nate Campbell again
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