- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Nate Campbell failed to make weight Friday for his lightweight title defense against Ali Funeka and lost his belts at the scale.
The fight will still go on Saturday night (HBO, 10 ET/PT) at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., but only IBF mandatory challenger Funeka can claim the now-vacant IBF and WBO titles.
Campbell originally weighed 138 pounds, 3 over the 135-pound division limit. With two hours to drop the excess weight, Campbell could only take off a half pound, officially weighing in at 137½ pounds.
"Physically and mentally, I am OK, but I don't like what happened," Campbell told ESPN.com. "I did everything I could to make my weight. I feel like it's unprofessional but I can't do it. I'm 36 now and I couldn't do it. I thought I would take those last couple of pounds off easy."
Campbell, who said he spent much of the past two days in a sauna trying to shed weight, said he will move up to the 140-pound junior welterweight division after Saturday's fight.
"I'll move up, but first I have this fight," Campbell said. "I still can't let Funeka win. He got to feel my misery."
Said Terry Trekas, Campbell's adviser and close friend, "Nate is disappointed because he feels helpless. He had a great camp, did everything he usually does but his body didn't respond the way it normally does. His body just shut down. We knew we'd have to go to 140 eventually, but just not yet."
In September, Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs) was supposed to make his first defense against Joan Guzman, but Guzman failed to make weight and the fight was called off. Campbell had been willing to face Guzman over the weight, but Guzman declined.
"I'm still willing to fight, though, that's the difference," said Campbell, who won the belts 11 months ago with an upset decision against Juan Diaz. "I wasn't mad that [Guzman] didn't make weight. I was mad that he wouldn't fight. I'm glad that Funeka is still willing to fight."
When the fight with Guzman was canceled, Campbell lost his $300,000 purse because there was no fight. He was forced to declare bankruptcy a few weeks later.
With Funeka (30-1-2, 25 KOs) agreeing to go through with the bout, Campbell will still make his $240,000 purse. Often, in these cases, the opposing fighter negotiates to receive a portion of the other purse for his trouble. However, Funeka and co-promoter Cedric Kushner did not demand any money from Campbell's purse.
"They wanted to go through with the fight and I appreciate Cedric and Funeka not trying to rake Nate over the coals," Trekas said. "We all feel terrible about what happened. I can't say enough positive about Cedric and Funeka for keeping the fight together. Funeka could have not fought and faced somebody else for the vacant title, somebody who would not be nearly as tough as Nate."
Dan Rafael is a senior boxing writer for ESPN.com.