Hamed in 1997
|Height||5 ft 4 1⁄2 in (164 cm)|
|Reach||64 in (163 cm)|
|Born|| (1974-02-12) 12 February 1974
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
|Wins by KO||31|
Naseem Hamed (Arabic: نسيم حميد; born 12 February 1974), commonly known as "Prince" Naseem or "Naz", is an English former professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2002. He held multiple world championships at featherweight, including the WBO title from 1995 to 2000; the IBF title in 1997; and the WBC title from 1999 to 2000. He also reigned as lineal champion from 1998 to 2001; IBO champion from 2002 to 2003; and held the European bantamweight title from 1994 to 1995. Hamed is ranked as the best British featherweight boxer of all time by BoxRec. In 2015, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The Ring magazine ranked Hamed as the 11th greatest British boxer of all-time,[when?] as well as 46th greatest puncher of all time.[when?]
Hamed was known for his unconventional boxing antics and spectacular ring entrances which included entering the ring on a flying carpet, a lift, and a palanquin, as well as re-enacting the video of Michael Jackson's Thriller, and wearing a Halloween mask. He was also known for his front somersault over the top rope into the ring, his highly athletic and hard-hitting southpaw boxing style, and formidable one-punch knockout power; having finished his career with a knockout-to-win ratio of 84%.
In 2016, ESPN ranked Hamed at number 22 on its list of the top 25 fighters, pound for pound, of the last 25 years. Journalist Daniel Fletcher, in a 10-year anniversary commemoration of the end of Hamed's career, referred to him as "the most talented fighter to ever live", one of history's premiere featherweights and British boxers, and that while his career ended prematurely at the age of 28, he still managed to dominate his weight class for six years and boast some formidable achievements.
Hamed started boxing professionally at flyweight in 1992. He soon began rising through the ranks as he knocked out a series of opponents in the opening rounds. Age 20 he won the European bantamweight title, comprehensively beating the beleaguered Vincenzo Belcastro over twelve rounds. After one defence he won the WBC International super bantamweight title in 1994, overwhelming Freddy Cruz in Sheffield, whom he severely punished and stopped in six rounds. Hamed's popularity grew, his unorthodox style winning a large fan base and his boxing antics generating a large group of detractors. After signing for Frank Warren, Hamed, employing more spectacular entrances, knocked out better opposition in Enrique Angeles and Juan Polo Pérez, both within two rounds.
World featherweight champion
Later in 1995, after controversially being named the WBO #1 featherweight contender (despite never having boxed at that weight), Hamed moved up to face Wales' defending WBO champion Steve Robinson. After dominating the bout and scoring a knockdown in round 5, Hamed won the title when the referee stopped the fight in round 8 after Robinson was caught with a left hook that dropped him spectacularly. The fight was held in front of Robinson's home crowd at the rugby ground, Cardiff Arms Park, with rain pouring down on the fighters and the ring. This was also the first bout where Hamed badly injured his hand, a problem that would continue for the rest of his career.
Hamed's next defence was in Dublin against former two-time world featherweight title holder Manuel Medina. After knocking Medina down heavily in round 2, Hamed struggled to finish the fight until finally knocking Medina down twice in the 10th round. Finally, at the end of round 11, Medina's corner withdrew him from the fight on the advice of the ringside doctor. Hamed revealed in his post-fight interview that he had fought with a heavy cold. Medina would go on to have many more tough title fights, remarkably winning versions of the featherweight world title another three times. Hamed's next opponent was the 27–0 Remigio Molina of Argentina, who was stopped in two rounds.
In February 1997, Hamed defeated long-time IBF champion Tom "Boom Boom" Johnson in eight rounds in a unification bout at the London Arena. After being constantly stunned and staggered from round 3 onwards, Johnson was finally dropped by a huge uppercut, then saved from further punishment by the referee. Hamed's first defence of both the WBO & IBF titles was a first-round KO of veteran British boxer and European champion Billy Hardy. Before the bout Hamed had correctly predicted he would win in round 1. The next defence was an easy two-round win against a hugely outclassed Juan Gerardo Carbrera. Due to boxing politics involving the IBF's mandatory challenger, Hamed was soon forced to relinquish the IBF title.
In Hamed's hometown of Sheffield in October 1997, he produced one of the best performances of his career in defending his WBO title against Jose Badillo, whose corner entered the ring to stop the fight during round 7.
In late 1997 Hamed made his heavily hyped U.S. debut. His ceremonious arrival on the British Airways Concorde was covered by multiple media outlets. There, he and former WBC title holder Kevin Kelley fought in a highly entertaining bout. This fight marks something of a watershed in Hamed's career, as he was forced, for the first time, to abandon his hands-down style of fighting throughout the entire course of the bout, given the calibre of Kelley. Nonetheless, despite suffering three knockdowns himself, Hamed put Kelley down for a third and final time to win by a fourth-round knockout. This was his first of many fights on HBO.
In 1998, Hamed enjoyed victories over former three-time WBA title holder and then-lineal champion Wilfredo Vazquez (TKO 7), former WBC bantamweight title holder Wayne McCullough (W 12), and future IBF title holder Paul Ingle (TKO 11; no relation to Hamed's then-former trainer Brendan Ingle).
In October 1999 at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, United States, Hamed defeated WBC featherweight champion Cesar Soto of Mexico over 12 rounds, adding the WBC title to his collection and unified the WBC & WBO titles. Hamed soon chose to relinquish his WBC title due to his commitment to being WBO champion.
Had Vazquez not been stripped by the WBA of his belt (the WBA did not want their featherweight title unified with the WBO), Hamed would have had the distinction of winning all four world titles in a division, something only Riddick Bowe had achieved by that point, at heavyweight.
In March 2000 at Olympia, Kensington, London, Hamed knocked out former undefeated long-reigning IBF super bantamweight title holder, Vuyani Bungu of South Africa. The fight was ended with a single straight left hand, in one of Hamed's most impressive performances and biggest victories.
Hamed fought in August 2000 against Augie Sanchez at Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States. Sanchez is known for being the last American to defeat Floyd Mayweather as an amateur boxer.
Hamed successfully retained his WBO title for the fifteenth and final time against Sanchez via a devastating fourth-round knockout. Hamed broke his hand badly in the bout, and following surgery he spent half a year out of the gym, gaining 35 pounds in weight. Rather than face the unknown EBU Champion & WBO mandatory challenger István Kovács, Hamed relinquished his WBO title to pave the way for a Superfight with Marco Antonio Barrera.
Hamed vs. Barrera
Eight weeks prior to the fight, which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on 7 April 2001, Marco Antonio Barrera prepared to fight. Barrera had moved up a weight division. At the end of training camp he was in the best shape of his life. According to Sky Sports, Barrera had "trained like a monk" in Big Bear, California, while Hamed trained in Bing Crosby's old house. Emanuel Steward had arrived to oversee the last two weeks of Hamed's training, including sparring, and was worried immediately. He had seen Barrera look razor sharp only a few months before in a stoppage win in Las Vegas, and watched Hamed not take his sparring with young Mexicans seriously. The fight was also for the International Boxing Organization World featherweight title.
Barrera handed Naseem Hamed his first and only loss for the lineal featherweight championship by a twelve-round decision. Before the fight, Hamed was a 3 to 1 betting favorite in Las Vegas. Hamed could not hit Barrera with his trademark lefts as Barrera circled to his left and worked both head and body. Barrera was not a fan of Hamed's antics and responded to Hamed's punches during clinches. On one occasion early in the fight, Hamed grabbed Barrera and they both fell to the ground where Barrera threw a right jab, leading to a warning from referee Joe Cortez. In the 12th and final round Barrera trapped Hamed in a full nelson and forced his head into the turnbuckle, resulting in a point deducted by referee Joe Cortez. Ultimately, Barrera threw more, harder punches and more impressive combinations than Hamed throughout the course of the fight. Barrera was awarded the victory via a unanimous decision, with the scorecards reading 115–112, 115–112, 116–111 and won the lineal and IBO featherweight titles.
Final fight vs. Calvo
On 18 May 2002 at London Arena, Docklands, London, Hamed returned to the ring for what turned out to be his final boxing match, against the European champion Manuel Calvo (33 wins, 4 losses, 1 draw) for the International Boxing Organization World featherweight title. Hamed was booed by the 10,000 fans as he won unconvincingly on points after 12 rounds looking sluggish and uninterested. The judges scored the fight 120-110 and 119-109 (twice). In a post-fight interview with Ian Darke, Hamed assured a quick return to the ring, which ultimately never happened. For years, Hamed did not confirm whether he had retired or not; there were talks of several fights in the UK and in the US, included Hamed's brother and manager, Riath, speaking to HBO about a potential fight with Michael Brodie.
Legacy and impact
Hamed's boxing career was seen by many experts in the sport as one of massive potential. Frank Warren, the boxing promoter, once said of Hamed: "I think at one stage he was the most exciting fighter that I'd ever been involved with. At one stage, in the early part of his career, he could have gone on to become one of the great fighters. But that disappeared when he didn't fight as regularly as he should have done, when he was cutting corners on his training. It just didn't work out for him from that point on."
Moreover, commentators have pointed out that Hamed's ability should have propelled him to achievements that would have given him legendary status, but that his noted dislike of the long hard training camps and long periods away from his family hindered this.
As popular lower weight fighters like Oscar De La Hoya and Kostya Tszyu moved into the mid-weight classes and the Mexican champion Julio César Chávez declined, Hamed and Arturo Gatti filled the void. Hamed's boxing antics made him the new poster-boy for lighter-weight boxers and his charisma attracted a large number of fans. In 2002 the UK public voted Hamed's victory over Kevin Kelley on the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.
British boxing pundit Steve Bunce stated on 15 March 2008 edition of BBC panel show Fighting Talk that Hamed was the greatest British boxer of all time. World Boxing, a sister publication of the more famous
Naseem Hamed was an early inspiration for several future world champions from Britain and Ireland, including British boxers Amir Khan, James DeGale and Kell Brook, and Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor; Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez, who worked with McGregor in training sessions, compared McGregor's boxing style to Hamed, stating he "had that little awkward style and he'll hit you with a punch from a different angle that you didn't see it coming from."
Hamed was referenced by hip-hop artist Nas in the song "You Won't See Me Tonight", with the lyrics "I can't forget how I met you, you thought I was a boxer/ Prince Naseem, but I'm a mobster, Nas from Queens". Hamed himself recorded a song with hip hop group Kaliphz called "Walk Like a Champion", which reached number 23 in the UK Singles Chart in 1996.
Hamed had a licensed sports fighting game, Prince Naseem Boxing, published by Codemasters for the PlayStation console in 2000. A portable version of the game was also released for the Game Boy Color, developed by Virtucraft, which later in 2002 developed a Mike Tyson based follow-up, Mike Tyson Boxing, for the Game Boy Advance.
Hamed also inspired a character called Prince Naseem in the fighting game Ehrgeiz, released in 1998. While called "Prince Naseem" in the original Japanese version, the character's name was changed to "Prince Doza" in the Western versions, much like how Balrog's name was "Mike Bison" (based on Mike Tyson) in the original Japanese version of Street Fighter II.
By 1997, Hamed had an annual income of $14 million (£8,548,914) from fight purses and endorsements, ranking at number-22 on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes for 1997. By March 1999, his net worth was an estimated £38 million. By January 2001, Hamed had reportedly amassed a fortune of £50 million ($75,746,700). He earned over $48.5 million from fight purses, including $8.5 million from his fight against Barrera. Hamed was the second richest British boxer, after heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
Controversy outside the ring
On 2 May 2005 Hamed was involved in a 90-mph three-car collision at Ringinglow Road, Sheffield, while driving his £300,000 silver McLaren-Mercedes SLR. He was arrested on 3 May, released on bail and later charged at Sheffield Magistrates Court on 3 December.
On 31 March 2006 Hamed entered a plea of guilty and was warned he could face jail by a judge at Sheffield Crown Court. The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Alan Goldsack, adjourned the case until 12 May to allow pre-sentence reports to be prepared. The court heard how the man in the car Hamed hit, later revealed as 38-year-old Anthony Burgin, who had attended a number of previous hearings, was unable to come to court because he was in hospital for further treatment. His wife Clare was also injured.
On 12 May the court heard in a sentencing hearing how Hamed had been anxious to impress businessman Asif Goro, who was a passenger in the McLaren-Mercedes at the time of the crash. Hamed was showing what his car could do when he crossed a solid white line at a speed of at least 90 mph and crashed head-on into a Volkswagen Golf that emerged from a dip in the road. Hamed's car then hit a second vehicle, the Ford Mondeo he had been trying to overtake. Mr. Burgin, the driver of the Volkswagen Golf, was very seriously injured, breaking every major bone in his body and suffering bruising to the brain. Hamed escaped unhurt.
Hamed was sentenced for 15 months after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing. He was also given a four-year driving ban. Judge Alan Goldsack told Hamed: "I find it astonishing that the DVLA has not been prepared to cooperate with the prosecution to give them details of your earlier offences – apparently on human rights grounds." The DVLA's decision led to Hamed being sentenced without the judge being told he had previously been banned for a year for driving a Porsche at 110 mph on the M1 in Derbyshire. It was also revealed that Hamed had three other previous convictions for speeding offences, details of which the prosecution had to find from court records.
Hamed was granted an early release and left prison on 4 September 2006 after serving 16 weeks of the 15-month sentence. Hamed was placed under Home Detention Curfew for the remainder of his sentence, and monitored by an electronic tag.
Anthony Burgin, the driver with whom Hamed collided, said: "I am shocked that after such a serious accident Mr Hamed has been released after less than four months." After a recommendation from the Honours Forfeiture Committee, Hamed was later stripped of his MBE, annulled as a consequence of the conviction.
There was also a civil court case rumoured to cost Hamed up to £1 million plus legal costs, as Burgin was deemed unable ever to work again.
Burgin was later arrested and charged with dangerous driving for an incident alleged to have involved Eleasha Hamed (the wife of Naseem) on 19 April 2007. Burgin pleaded not guilty, and appeared in court on 17 March 2008, following which he was cleared of charges.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|37 fights||36 wins||1 loss|
|37||Win||36–1||Manuel Calvo||UD||12||18 May 2002||London Arena, London, England||Won vacant IBO featherweight title|
|36||Loss||35–1||Marco Antonio Barrera||UD||12||7 Apr 2001||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US||Lost lineal featherweight title;
For vacant IBO featherweight title
|35||Win||35–0||Augie Sanchez||TKO||4 (12), 2:34||19 Aug 2000||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, US||Retained WBO and lineal featherweight titles|
|34||Win||34–0||Vuyani Bungu||TKO||4 (12), 1:38||11 Mar 2000||London Olympia, London, England||Retained WBO and lineal featherweight titles|
|33||Win||33–0||César Soto||UD||12||22 Oct 1999||Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, US||Retained WBO and lineal featherweight titles;
Won WBC featherweight title
|32||Win||32–0||Paul Ingle||TKO||11 (12), 0:45||10 Apr 1999||MEN Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBO and lineal featherweight titles|
|31||Win||31–0||Wayne McCullough||UD||12||31 Oct 1998||Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US||Retained WBO and lineal featherweight titles|
|30||Win||30–0||Wilfredo Vázquez||TKO||7 (12), 2:29||18 Apr 1998||NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBO featherweight title;
Won lineal featherweight title
|29||Win||29–0||Kevin Kelley||KO||4 (12), 2:27||19 Dec 1997||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US||Retained WBO featherweight title|
|28||Win||28–0||Jose Badillo||TKO||7 (12), 1:37||11 Oct 1997||Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, England||Retained WBO featherweight title|
|27||Win||27–0||Juan Gerardo Cabrera||TKO||2 (12), 2:17||19 Jul 1997||Wembley Arena, London, England||Retained WBO and IBF featherweight titles|
|26||Win||26–0||Billy Hardy||TKO||1 (12), 1:33||3 May 1997||NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBO and IBF featherweight titles|
|25||Win||25–0||Tom Johnson||TKO||8 (12), 2:27||8 Feb 1997||London Arena, London, England||Retained WBO featherweight title;
Won IBF featherweight title
|24||Win||24–0||Remigio Molina||TKO||2 (12)||9 Nov 1996||NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBO featherweight title|
|23||Win||23–0||Manuel Medina||RTD||11 (12), 3:00||31 Aug 1996||Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland||Retained WBO featherweight title|
|22||Win||22–0||Daniel Alicea||TKO||2 (12), 2:46||8 Jun 1996||Telewest Arena, Newcastle, England||Retained WBO featherweight title|
|21||Win||21–0||Said Lawal||KO||1 (12), 0:35||16 Mar 1996||Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow, Scotland||Retained WBO featherweight title|
|20||Win||20–0||Steve Robinson||TKO||8 (12), 1:40||30 Sep 1995||Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales||Won WBO featherweight title|
|19||Win||19–0||Juan Polo Perez||KO||2 (12), 2:00||1 Jul 1995||Royal Albert Hall, London, England||Retained WBC International super-bantamweight title|
|18||Win||18–0||Enrique Angeles||KO||2 (12)||6 May 1995||Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, England||Retained WBC International super-bantamweight title|
|17||Win||17–0||Sergio Rafael Liendo||KO||2 (12), 1:06||4 Mar 1995||Forum, Livingston, Scotland||Retained WBC International super-bantamweight title|
|16||Win||16–0||Armando Castro||KO||4 (12), 2:11||21 Jan 1995||Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow, Scotland||Retained WBC International super-bantamweight title|
|15||Win||15–0||Laureano Ramírez||TKO||3 (12), 2:40||19 Nov 1994||National Ice Rink, Cardiff, Wales||Retained WBC International super-bantamweight title|
|14||Win||14–0||Freddy Cruz||TKO||6 (12), 2:03||12 Oct 1994||Ponds Forge, Sheffield, England||Won vacant WBC International super-bantamweight title|
|13||Win||13–0||Antonio Picardi||TKO||3 (12), 1:26||17 Aug 1994||Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Sheffield, England||Retained European bantamweight title|
|12||Win||12–0||Vincenzo Belcastro||UD||12||11 May 1994||Ponds Forge, Sheffield, England||Won European bantamweight title|
|11||Win||11–0||John Miceli||KO||1 (10), 2:50||9 Apr 1994||Leisure Centre, Mansfield, England|
|10||Win||10–0||Peter Buckley||TKO||4 (8), 1:47||29 Jan 1994||National Ice Rink, Cardiff, Wales|
|9||Win||9–0||Chris Clarkson||KO||2 (8), 1:50||24 Sep 1993||National Basketball Arena, Dublin, Ireland|
|8||Win||8–0||Kevin Jenkins||TKO||3 (6), 1:58||26 May 1993||Leisure Centre, Mansfield, England, England|
|7||Win||7–0||Alan Ley||KO||2 (6)||24 Feb 1993||Wembley Conference Centre, London, England|
|6||Win||6–0||Peter Buckley||PTS||6||12 Nov 1992||Everton Park Sports Centre, Liverpool, England|
|5||Win||5–0||Des Gargano||KO||4 (6)||7 Oct 1992||Crowtree Leisure Centre, Sunderland, England|
|4||Win||4–0||Miguel Matthews||TKO||3 (6), 1:05||14 Jul 1992||Grosvenor House Hotel, London, England|
|3||Win||3–0||Andrew Bloomer||TKO||2 (6), 0:46||23 May 1992||National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England|
|2||Win||2–0||Shaun Norman||KO||2 (6), 0:55||25 Apr 1992||G-Mex Centre, Manchester, England|
|1||Win||1–0||Ricky Beard||KO||2 (6), 2:36||14 Feb 1992||Leisure Centre, Mansfield, England|
|21 January 1995||Naseem Hamed vs. Armando Castro||ITV||United Kingdom||6,400,000|||
|4 March 1995||Naseem Hamed vs. Sergio Rafael Liendo||ITV||United Kingdom||13,000,000|||
|19 July 1997||Naseem Hamed vs. Juan Gerardo Cabrera||Sky Sports||United Kingdom||831,000|||
|19 December 1997||Naseem Hamed vs. Kevin Kelley||HBO||United States||2,525,000|||
|2 May 1998||Naseem Hamed vs. Wilfredo Vázquez||HBO||United States||2,550,000|||
|31 October 1998||Naseem Hamed vs. Wayne McCullough||HBO||United States||3,200,000|||
|Total known viewership||Anglosphere||30,604,000|
|Date||Fight||Billing||Network||Country||Buys||Revenue (est.)||Revenue (inflation) (est.)|
|9 November 1996||Naseem Hamed vs. Remigio Molina||Judgement Night||Sky Box Office||United Kingdom||420,000||£25,000,000 ($40,940,875)||£46,000,000 ($65,000,000)|
|8 February 1997||Naseem Hamed vs. Tom Johnson||Night of Champions||Sky Box Office||United Kingdom||720,000||£10,764,000 ($17,627,503)||£19,000,000 ($28,000,000)|
|3 May 1997||Naseem Hamed vs. Billy Hardy||Brit Pack||Sky Box Office||United Kingdom||348,000||£5,202,600 ($8,519,960)||£9,000,000 ($13,000,000)|
|19 August 2000||Naseem Hamed vs. Augie Sanchez||Hamed vs. Sanchez||Sky Box Office||United Kingdom||300,000||£4,485,000 ($6,795,455)||£7,000,000 ($10,000,000)|
|7 April 2001||Naseem Hamed vs. Marco Antonio Barrera||Playing With Fire||HBO||United States||310,000||$12,090,000 (£8,395,314)||$17,000,000 (£14,000,000)|
|Total known sales||2,098,000||£57,541,600 ($82,279,107)||£94,000,000 ($127,000,000)|