Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Topic Of The Week: Nate Campbell at 140

With his lightweight belts gone, and no real incentive left to keep draining his body down to 135, Nate Campbell has decided to move up to the junior welterweight division. Naturally, that begs the question of how he will do against the top fighters at 140, such as Manny Pacquaio, Ricky Hatton, Timothy Bradley, etc.

Here's what The Boxing Bulletin writers have to say on Nate's 140 pound prospects...

(Potential future Campbell opponents, Kendall Holt & Ricardo Torres - pictured right © Ray Kasprowicz)

Nate Campbell has a sturdy chin and is very good defensively, so I believe he can do well at 140. Off the bat, I'd make him a favorite over most of the top 10, particularly Ricardo Torres, Kendall Holt, Junior Witter, Paulie Malignaggi, and Andriy Kotelnik (who impressed me against Maidana, but still leaves his body too open).

One opponent that I don't think bodes well for him is Juan Urango. It may be a natural fight to make since both men come out of Florida, but if I was Nate's matchmaker, I wouldn't make that his introduction into the division. The way to beat Urango is to take advantage of his heavy feet, and Campbell doesn't fight well backing up. In a war inside the trenches, I feel that Juan would be too strong and too difficult to hurt for Campbell to beat decisively. If there was a man Nate should "duck", at least initially, it would be Juan. The risk/reward doesn't add up.

I consider bouts against Ricky Hatton and Timothy Bradley 50/50. I would especially want to see him against Bradley, and I think that's an easy fight to make. If somehow his name got dropped into the Pacquaio sweepstakes, I would solidly favor Manny to win a decision, but not before getting roughed up.

Regardless, time is not on his side. He can make his mark at 140, but he needs to dive in right away. I'll be watching with interest. - Michael Nelson

Nate's a tough old pro. And even though age looks like it might be creeping up on him he won't be an easy out for anyone. Ricky Hatton is far from invincible. A Pacquiao fight is highly unlikely, so it's not worth discussing. Timothy Bradley looks solid, but he's still green and doesn't appear to have overwhelming talent. There's a few other notables at 140, but Nate is right in the mix even if I don't see him dominating due to age and having moved up two weight classes. - John Vaci

Nate's fighting attitude, chin and power will keep him in any fight, but at his age, I'm not sure he should be fighting too many contenders or title holders, in order to make the big score. There simply isn't time. Really, he just has to hope that either Pacquiao or Hatton gives him a call when they finish their business. His chances at snagging the winner or loser of that one may be better than anyone else at 140 because of the wins he has on HBO.

As far as how he matches up with the other players in the division, I think he makes interesting fights with nearly all of them. A shootout with Ricardo Torres jumps out at me, in particular, but I'd watch him scrap it out with anyone in the top 10. Realistically, Campbell has about a year to make something big happen for himself. He's going to need a little luck. -Lee Payton

Nate is a good fighter, sound defense, excellent body puncher and I don't think carrying the weight will be a problem. He is also inconsistent and I would worry about him looking for bigger purses than will be available. It really comes down to activity and matchmaking.

I don't see more than two years left for him, if that. He would have an excellent chance against Judah, Malignaggi, Holt and Torres. I see trouble for him against Bradley, Hatton, Pacquiao and Ortiz. If he goes through another long layoff my guess is it's a wrap. If they can't get a big fight, he needs to just remain active on ESPN & Versus and avoid ring rust.

He didn't look good to me against Funeka, but ring rust and a less than stellar camp gets him another shot before I would point to declining skills. One thing is for sure, the time is not for talking, action and activity is the only way.

My educated guess is Nate will come in focused and get a big win if matched properly. But the success will be short lived and he will squander his standing as quickly as he achieves it. - Mark Lyons

Due to Nate's physical style, I'd be much more confident in his chances at 140, if he was a little younger. Plus, I think he'll be a little undersized against the elite of the division, nearly all of whom are natural junior welters.

Of the current Ring Top 10, I think Hatton, Bradley and Urango would beat him. Urango's not on the same level talent wise, but as mentioned already, that's just not a good style match-up.

Against the rest of the top 10, I think Nate would win more than he'd lose. I'd love to see him against any of Kotelnik, Torres, Ngoudjo or Maidana. I think all of those match-ups would be terrific fights. - Andrew Fruman