Naseem Hamed: A Prince in Distress

John Louie RamosSenior Writer IMarch 9, 2009

Styles make fights—if that is true, then Naseem Hamed could easily end up as one of the best fighters of all time.

The stylish Hamed is well remembered because of his extravagant entourage and his flashy, arrogant persona. His entertaining ring entrances included walking to the ring in a fashion catwalk style, being suspended in an elevator, extravagant fireworks and lighting, and dance numbers, to name a few.

Wearing his trademark leopard-skin shorts and a distinctive somersault entrance into the ring, he knocked out every opponent that came his way—well, not all. He graced the boxing ring with his clown-like attitude, showboating techniques, and his tremendous punching power.

His notable wins came from great fighters such as Cesar Soto, Kevin Kelley, and Augie Sanchez.

He won the Featherweight championship at the young age of 21 and made a series of defenses.

Notable of which is his one-punch knockout against Said Lawal, which lasted just 35 seconds.

In 1997, he debuted on American soil against former world champion Kelley. The fight was highly considered as the "Fight of the Year." Hamed got knocked down three times but never lost composure, as he caught Kelley with a vicious left that finally sealed the deal in the fourth round.

He almost unified all four major belts, but the politics in boxing proved to be one big hurdle.

Hamed throughout his entire 10-year career compiled a brilliant record of 36 wins, 31 coming by way of knockouts, with a single loss coming from the hands of Marco Antonio Barrera, and successfully defending his title for 16 times before the fight with Barrera.

He was considered by respected boxing pundit Steve Bunce as the greatest British boxer of all time and named by Ring Magazine, the bible of boxing, as the 46th "Greatest Puncher of All Time" and the 11th "Greatest British Boxer of All Time"

He left his opponents puzzled and confused. He left adoring fans amused and amazed; on the contrary, he left boxing scribes and experts thinking twice of his greatness.

Doubts still remain unclear.

Following his loss to Barrera, Hamed was not the old fighter he used to be. He won his last fight against Manuel Calvo in an underwhelming fashion.

He failed to capitalize on a return clause in the fight contract with Barrera, and he never showed willingness to stage a highly anticipated rematch.

He was jailed in 2007 for dangerous driving that resulted in severe injuries to another driver. Since his release, talks of his return to boxing began to swirl around the boxing world, but no firm plans have been staged.

Hamed's career will always be remembered as, "a career that ends on a sour note after a spectacular opening."

Hence, one question remains: "Is Prince Naseem Hamed Bound for Greatness?"