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Naseem Hamed

We would like to thank Simon Harrison the editor of for sharing his interview with Naseem Hamed with our readers at Boxing Wise.
By Simon Harrison 

WBO featherweight Champion Naseem Hamed is currently training in Tenerife for his 
March 11th bout in London with Vuyani Bungu. caught up with him 
by phone on Friday. 

SH: This is Simon Harrison, Editor at and I'm here with the WBO 
    featherweight champion of the world, Prince Naseem Hamed. Hey Naz, how you 

Naz: I'm great. I'm wicked how are you?

SH: I'm doing great thanks. Listen, your in preparation for your fight March 11th
    with Vuyani Bungu, you've set up camp in Tenerife at altitude, your running 
    up a volcanic moutain every day at 12,000 feet, how's, the preparation going  
    for you right now?

Naz: The training's going absolutely perfect at the moment. The weathers great, 
     training really hard. I'm running every morning for over an hour, you know, 
     and I'm running at 12,000 feet and it's great.

SH: Ok, how are you feeling mentally for this bout, and how are the hands feeling, 
    are the hands ok ?

Naz: Yeah, everything is just perfect, the hands are fine and mentally I'm just 
     so focussed, mentally so strong and physically in great shape already but 
     I'll be in more unbelievable shape come March 11th against Bungu.

SH: Ok, Were all looking forward to a good performance against Bungu. The guy, on 
    paper, he really is a credible opponent, he's not been beaten in 8 yrs, never 
    stopped, never even been put down, his last loss was to Norwood in 92 on points. 
    He defended the title 14 times, then moved down in 98 to bantamweight and beat 
    Danny Romero. Bungu seems to be a quick handed, well conditioned guy, what do 
    you see as your strengths in this fight, how do you see it panning out?

Naz: Well, I see this fight going in a great way, I don't see it being a very easy 
     fight because once a guy had moulded himself having victories for 8 years and 
     not being beat, it's bound to be a hard fight on paper, but I believe my 
     ability, my style, my speed and my youth will get me through the fight in the 
     best of ways and I just feel that I'm a far better fighter than him, although 
     I have the utmost respect for Bungu, all the credit in the world, like you 
     said he's not been beat in 8 yrs, he's not been put down, he's not been stopped, 
     but for me having victory after victory , winning the world title and defending 
     it 14 times, it's unbelievably good in boxing, but I give him all the credit 
     in the world but I have the style and the ability to beat him and I will do.

SH: You have defended the title 14 times now but the last few performances, it
    would be fair to say, haven't been impressive, they've not been great and
    certainly not prime Naz performances. Do you think when you step in on March
    11th in England, do you think you'll be more comfortable, do you think we will
    see a prime Naz again ?

Naz: Definitely, I think you'll see a Naz that basically is so confident. I believe 
     you'll see a performance back from like 94, 95, whatever. I'm in great shape 
     and I'm so focussed, I just feel right now, I do want to perform and I do 
     want to shine, you know, I realise myself, you know, that the last few fights 
     have been disappointing, but especially fighting in London and boxing in the 
     capital, I'm looking forward to giving the English crowd a great fight.

SH: Do you think it's important to fight in London right now?

Naz: Definitely I think it's exactly what I need right now in my career.
SH: This is your last option on the current HBO contract to fight in the UK,is
    that correct?
Naz: Yeah.
SH: So your taking this opportunity now to really put on a good show for the
Naz: That's right.

SH: Much of the boxing fraternity were very interested at the interview you did
    with Skysports a couple of days ago. There seems to have been a change in
    attitude that you personally have towards your career. From what you've said 
    it seems that you've realised what a lot of pundits having been saying for two
    years or more now, that this is your time. These years don't come again, this 
    is when you, as a fighter, if you want to be remembered as one of the great
    featherweights really have to step up to the plate and take on the likes of
    Morales, Barrera, and the Mayweathers of the world, because really, you know, 
    fairly or not, you don't get that much respect for beating the guys you have. 
    It would be sad, all that dedication, 20 years ,you'd only really have dollars 
    to show for it and that seems sad to me. Would that be a fair comment right now?

Naz: Most definitely, Yes, that is right. Things have changed for me, the one thing 
     I wanted to get across in that interview was that I feel I am the best, and 
     that I'm fighting the best. It's going to be Morales next, I'm looking at 
     beating him, and this year.

SH: So are you saying that as far as your concerned personally, and Prince 
    Promotions are concerned there are NO problems with this fight, no political 
    or financial issues, nothing. No excuses, this fight will happen then, Morales 
    will be next after Bungu.

Naz: Definitely, I wouldn't say so now otherwise. I can't wait for that fight, I've 
     got all the respect in the world for Morales, he's a great fighter, he's a 
     Mexican at that, he's undefeated, for me he's a greatfighter that they've 
     built him up so great, he's like the equivalent to my Hagler or Hearns or 

SH: Yes, I was going to say, he's going to be the Frazier to your Ali really Naz
    isn't he. It's a fight that nobody will be able to say, hey this guy was to 
    old, to young, to little experience, there really is no facet of the Morales 
    game that you could receive any fair critiscm over.

Naz: Definitely, not at all. I'm looking forward to that fight, It's going to be a 
     great fight, I'm looking to take him out then after that I should be rated 
     No.1 P4P fighter in the world.

SH: Amazing clash between Marco Antonio Barrera and Eric Morales coming up in a 
    couple of days. An all Mexican 122lb face off. Who do you see coming through 
    this fight? You've already mentioned Morales, but is that your prediction?

Naz: Yeah, Morales will come through, Morales has never seen defeat, Barrera has,
     I just think Morales is a more stronger fighter and a more solid fighter, 
     Barrera's being knocked out before, so he's shown he has weaknesses. But 
     you know, it's going to be a great fight.

SH: I think it's going to be a great fight too, I really think based on the mental
    state of these two it could actually be a classic, a historical bout almost.
    They both have a great come to fight style, both of their defences is somewhat 
    leaky, and basically they have all the heart in the world, so in theory they 
    will just stand in front of each other and trade for 12 rounds or as long as 
    it goes. It really is a made for television fight. Morales though as we know 
    is now very tight at 122, do you see any issue with the body punching 
    capabilities of Barrera against a guy that is as tight and as tall.

Naz: If anything I do see that, but anything else between them , I give all the
     advantages to Morales, but that's a valid point actually, yeah, that's a 
     really good point actually.

SH: Well have done an indepth analysis, we have a guy on board the team called Charles Muniz who I know you know and have worked 
    with in the past. Charles and I talked for hours about this fight and he has 
    done a full analysis that took days and eventually we had to come up with a 
    late round stoppage for Barrera believe it or not.

Naz: So do you and Charles think that he'll win?

SH: Yes, both Charles and myself are right against the grain here and looking at the 
    record of Morales, you know, as you say he has a lot of respect in the US but 
    when you really analyse the record of opponents that he's faced, the calibre 
    of the opponents has never been that great.He's had very tough fights with the 
    likes of Ramirez, a 10 rounder with a light punching and very faded 40 year 
    old Daniel Zaragossa, and a life and death with Wayne. I personally feel Erik 
    is a little overrated due to a KO of Jones and that Barrera is underrated due
    to a KO from Jones. There are a lot of plusses about Erik Morales, he has
    great combination work, bags of heart, he's very tenacious and we all know he
    can bang with that overhand right, but personally for me Barrera has really
    mixed in much better company, and pretty much everything he does, he does
    better than Erik. I tend to look at the fighter's actions rather than how he
    performs against other guys, styles make fights you know.

Naz: Yeah but you have to realise Barrera got knocked out by Junior Jones twice 
     and Morales knocked Junior Jones out.

SH: He only knocked him out once actually, but, agreed and that is true, that's 
    true Naz, but it's not always a good indicator, especially when you consider
    Jones had a lot of personal problems at the time and he really has to chop off 
    a leg to make 122, he's been fighting at 130 right now. How do you see Charles 
    Muniz analysis?

Naz: I know he's very good, he's very good at analysing fights, he's been doing 
     it for so long, and got so many right that you wouldn't think would happen,
     he's done it so many times in the past.

SH: Yeah, he's a bit of an old pro is Charles, as I say we are well against the
    grain with this prediction, but we will see if we come through this time. I 
    feel confident, I 've just watched so much of Erik and Marco, like 20 hours
    worth in the last five days and I keep seeing the same things, time and time 
    again, a lot is about Marco ,if he doesn't pressurise Erik and keep his hand 
    up all the time he's out of there.

SH: Talking about fighters having been up against the same opponents, you and Erik 
    (Morales) have shared opponents, in 95 you both fought Enrique Angeles, you
    knocked him out in 2 rounds and Erik had to go the distance, you then fought 
    Remegio Molina you knocked him out in two rounds, Erik had to go for 6 rounds, 
    do any of those fights tell you that your be able to a better job against Erik 

Naz: Nah, not really, that don't mean nothing to me.

SH: Because they're so long ago?

Naz: The fact of the matter is that, you know, it's about styles makes fights, his 
     style compared to theirs is so different. I'm not just looking forward to the 
     fight because I've knocked two guys out earlier than him. Basically that means 
     nothing, styles make fights and just because somebody knocks somebody out 
     earlier, it doesn't mean their better than them. even though I feel, and I 
     know I am going to win that fight against Erik Morales. I just want to 
     emphasise the point that them knockouts mean nothing.

SH: Do you think your fighting enough nowadays? When you look back over the last 
    25 months or so you 've only had four fights which really isn't enough, when 
    you consider you're a P4P fighter, the featherweight champion of the world and 
    your in your prime, it's not a lot of fights. Do you think you'll have faced 
    Morales or Barrera and Mayweather by the beginning of 2001? 

Naz: Simon, I just can't look that far forward, I'm not really looking at that 
     right now, but I am hoping definitely that I will be fighting three times a 
     year from now on.

SH: Sometimes, you seem to have to face some double standards in your fights, you 
    couldn't put McCullough away and were heavily critiqued but when Erik Morales 
    who's actually risen above you in some P4P lists threw the kitchen sink at him 
    and couldn't do it either nobody criticised or made an issue of it, in fact 
    Erik was showered with praise. To be honest with you I felt the Morales fight 
    was more exciting to watch but the reality and the cold hard facts show you 
    actually performed better. You outlanded Wayne 2 to 1, and that's hard to do 
    with Wayne, and you got hit far less. Do you ever feel, hell, I 've had enough 
    of this, this is a little unfair, what do I have to do to get it right?

Naz: Nah, I could never say I do think like that, at the end of the days this is 
     my livelihood, you know it's my work, it's my job, its what I do. I  and he 
     didn't really come out with flying colours, but I beat Wayne by a big margin 
     and made him look ordinary, never got hurt, but to be honest I have never 
     really let things like that get to me, it's not who I am, but It doesn't 
     surprise me what anybody has to say about my style, about the way I fight 
     or my performances. It doesn't really matter,it goes in one ear and out the 

SH: Ok, depending on what happens on Saturday, there will be either Morales or 
    Barerra there for you, but in truth what is their really left at 126 left for 
    Naseem Hamed to do? Isn't it time you got into the really tough fights at
    130 with Mayweather, Corrales, Freitas, etc. ?

Naz: Well, there's still people out there at my own division that I would like to 
     beat, like Freddy Norwood, and after Morales there's still guys like Junior 
     Jones who's shouting out that he can beat me, and even Kennedy McKinney and 
     all those guys, to me they are still names and I just want to beat every 
     named fighter in this division.

SH: Yeah true they are names Naz but what will you prove here? They aren't a great 
    fight for you, your talking earlier about stamping your place in history as
    one of the greatest featherweights and you probably have the package to allow
    you to do that but taking on the likes of Junior Jones, surely that's a 
    terrible move, he was knocked out by Morales and then came over to England 
    and was really battered around by Richard Evatt in April, and.......

Naz: Yeah, but he won that fight, he knocked Evatt out.

SH: Yeah, he still has the power, even now, if Jones catches you flush he can
    be dangerous, but....

Naz: Yeah, and his power doesn't go.

SH: Yes I know he can still be dangerous, I'm not disagreeing with you there but
    that's not really my point Naz. He just doesn't have that rep any more, if you
    knock him our in a round people will say he's chinny and shot, and if you go
    more than 4 rounds, everyone would say, "Hey Morales did it in less". You have 
    to agree some of those fights are really a no win situation, they won't really 
    help your cause at all.

Naz: Maybe, but I still think he's a big name, I still have respect for Jones and 
     he's come off a few good wins to, I mean you gotta realise he beat Tracy 
     Harris Patterson, I mean I haven't got a clue why he took that fight, he must 
     have thought he could win and he did win that fight, and Patterson is a 
     pretty good fighter. It's not just that fight that I am looking forward to,
     there are other fights out there, I mean that's why I picked Bungu, because 
     he's a very, very credible fighter and he's a harder option than Junior Jones.

SH:- In regards your training, we know your taking sports supplements now, you 
     take these products from a respected company in the UK called Maximuscle, 
     have they helped your endurance? You know, in the Soto fight, it was very 
     ugly, and neither of you looked good but you seemed incredibly fit, your 
     conditioning seemed great. 

Naz: Yeah, but I think that's got to do with me training, more than the supplements.

SH: So, it is a factor in the conditioning program. 

Naz: Yeah, I mean, I made sure I was fit for that fight, it was great training,
     I was training with Lennox Lewis in Pennsylvania, and it was a great period, 
     I felt in the 12th round that I could have gone on for as long as I wanted.

SH: Yeah, It did seem that way, you didn't show any signs of wear like in the 
    Ingle fight, you really seemed to tire in that fight and.....
Naz: Yeah, I know, but Maximuscle have come under a lot of critiscm lately and I 
     feel it's been well out of order.

SH: Yeah it has, their stuff is top quality but we won't go into that right now,
    it's a bit off topic, but for sure we all know, you've taken their supplements 
    for ages without any problems, and there was this issue with poor Jon Thaxton,
    testing positive for a drug but the Maximuscle stuff had nothing to do with 

SH: Moving on to Norwood, he's forever calling you out, why haven't you faced him 
    yet? Is that a fight that would be after Morales? Bungu , Morales, Norwood
    that would really restore a lot of credibility for you. We know he has the 
    WBA title but in my opinion he doesn't have a very pleasant style to watch, 
    you know, how do you think your styles would mesh?

Naz: Well, I don't think he boxes to the best of his ability against a southpaw, 
     he is a southpaw, but I think it would be a great and interesting fight 
     between me and him but I think I have enough movement, I mean, too much 
     movement and speed again, but he's a good fighter, he's strong, he's kept 
     winning through the past you have to give him credit for that. He's always
     does the job and a lot of people thought he was gonna get beat against Juan 
     Marquez but he did the business, so you know I have to give the guy credit
     and respect.

SH: Yeah, it was a slightly dubious decision but there wasn't really much in it,
    certainly not a robbery. Certainly not as controversial as people would like 
    to make out. As you say he did the job, he came through he did the job, he's
    a winner. 

Naz:- Basically I'm set now though. I think the biggest name out there is who we 
      have already mentioned, the guy I want is the guy we have already talked 
      about, he's undefeated, a Mexican, and he's got all the credibility in boxing 
      and in America and basically that is who I need to provide myself against,
      and that's what I want next.

SH: So basically Morales, that will be the next fight after Bungu.

Naz: Definitely.

SH:- Lighter stuff now Naz, the fans wrote in and asked us to ask, you've got your 
     own web site at, and it's now up to-date with interviews 
     and so forth, do you ever get time to get online Naz?

Naz: (Laughs) Yeah now and again but not to much, sometimes.

SH: Do you ever look at your own guestbook and some of these fan sites that have 
    been set-up about you?

Naz: Yeah, very occasionally, I see a lot of controversial stuff there and you 
     know, like a lot of support as well.

SH: O.K Naz, I think that's about time, about it, thanks for taking time out from

Naz: Listen no problem, it's been great to speak to you.

SH: Ok, can I just say if you want to get tickets for the Naz fight you can get
    them online at or you can ring them on 0870 903 9033.

Naz:- (interrupts) I'd like to get some tickets to that fight I think he's a great 

SH:- Umm, I see, you think he's pretty good then huh, I understand he can whack 
      a bit.

Naz: Yeah, I think he's gonna look great and definitely put on a real good show 
     for his fans.

SH: I'll tell you what , do some more interviews with us and I'll see what I can
    do, I Know a few people I can pull a few strings, there's a chance I could get
    you some tickets.

Naz: O.K ,wicked. 

SH: Thanks now Naz.

Editors Note: After the interview Naz was quite happy to talk on regardless. There 
              was no "time up" rubbish or prima-dona attitude. Naseem was genuinely 
              extremely pleasant to talk with .He said he would be happy to do 
              another interview with us, gave us a contact number and promised
              in no uncertain terms not to disappoint his fans on March 11th.

Associated links with this article
                  Prince Naseem Hamed Official site

For exclusive coverage of the British boxing scene and MUCH more check out