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article imageOp-Ed: Boxing the Ghost of Prince Naseem Hamed

By William Charles Baker     Nov 16, 2010 in Sports
The now-retired British boxer held Bantamweight and Featherweight championships. Like Manny Pacquiao, Hamed is a southpaw with lighting speed and punching power.
Somewhere there is a boxing ring and two warriors are preparing to do battle with each other. Corner men will coax and reach into their bag of experience to cajole and give strategy and instruction as to what to do to win. Sometimes they will be right and probably just as often they may be wrong boxing is such a sport reliant on talent and heart that it is hard to predict. Heart will win many times but heart often leads to a disastrous end when the heart is bigger than the talent. Only a few times in a lifetime do we see fighters that are so gifted that they seem to have been born to fight. The ghost of one who fits that description still wanders the arenas and stadiums and memories of those that love the fight game.
When they gave him the title Prince it was only one peg lower than it should have been in the chain of command, King would have been better. Flamboyant and capable of self promotion and a great boxer, fighter and knock out artist that was nowhere near his prime when he walked away from the game. Coming into the ring on flying carpets and wearing outlandish outfits with the dance moves and somersault into the ring there was nobody better than Prince Naseem Hamed at hype and delivering on his antics. Maybe he was despised for his boasting but it would be hard to discount his talent.
The question has been why he retired one fight after his first and only defeat in a fight determined by decision. There was no devastating knockout or sense that he was seriously outclassed. Speculation about his lack of training and preparation or sense of loss of enthusiasm for the game remains despite his opportunity to quantify his reasons. So we must morn him as we would the greats who were unable to fight anymore. Joe Louis who fought too many years beyond his greatness and you cried to see him continue. Muhammad Ali who weathered the political storms and fought until his body proved less invincible than his mind. They at least gave us a chance to live through our lives with them and be a part of the drama that made our days more bearable. There was never anything I can remember more important that a championship fight in the world of sports.
There are no ghosts to tantalize us with what might have been. They gave all there was to give and we can look to the records and our memories for the rest. The boxing world still has its showmen and big fights and promotions. The coveted pound for pound crown sits on the head of two champions in Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who must fight it out in the ring to determine who is real and who the pretender is. When that happens it will be perhaps the biggest event ever staged in boxing. There will be a ghost there however that should he have stayed in the game might have been able to beat either one of them. He was that great.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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