Paul Nave: Forever Entwined with Greg Haugen
You probably don't recognize the name Paul Nave (17-8-1) unless you followed Greg Haugen's career very closely.
In 1998, Nave (pronounced nahvay) defeated Haugen in a 12 round split decision to claim the WBF welterweight title.
Up to this point, Nave was somewhat non-descript in the boxing world, fighting mostly on his home turf of Marin County California. Though their personalities are as different as night and day, he and Haugen were in a similar situation of desperate straits at the time of their epic battle. They both absolutely had to win this fight.
Haugen was at the bitter end of his career. This was not the same boxer who beat Hector "Macho" Camacho, "Boom Boom" Mancini and Vinny Pazienza.
Haugen made money but found himself broke, addicted to drugs and living with his parents at age 37 by the time this fight with Nave rolled around.
If you know Haugen then you know he fought his way up through the ranks with grit. Before he even turned pro he had tallied over 300 amateur bouts. Haugen came from the mean streets and like many of his ilk, failed to manage his financial affairs as a professional boxer
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Paul Nave was a clean cut looking guy his whole life and came from a well to do background. His punishing style as a boxer enabled him some local recognition and regional belts. Though he didn't make a lot of money as a boxer, he did well in the business world.
Though, Nave fell victim to the allure of money and drugs, ended up doing prison time in San Quentin.
When he got out, no longer would the "Marin County Assassin" be considered a clean cut rich boy. He was now living the life of a destitute boxer who needed to rebuild his life. To his credit, he did just that and got serious about boxing, eventually earning his WBF title match with Haugen in 1998.
Even though the fight was favorable to Nave since it was held in Marin, California, Nave dominated and won on points. In terms of regional awareness, this fight opened up some eyes. There was no doubt Nave deserved to win on points, regardless of where the judges were leaning.
Nave lost to Haugen in a 1999 rematch (also held in Marin) and that bout also marked the very end of Greg Haugen's career as well, losing the belt because of a failed drug test.
We would probably never have heard from Paul Nave again had he not decided to return to the ring at age 48.
Why is he even bothering with a comeback? Well, he's got something left to prove apparently.
Boxing is his passion and old boxers never die, they just get back in the ring until they're brain dead.
Nave doesn't have to fight to make money. He owns a successful bar & grill and has made enough in honest business dealings to buy himself a really nice mansion in one of the richest areas of the U.S. (Marin County, California of course). He also tried to run for Governor of California but lost to Arnold Schwarnzenegger.
Just to give you an idea of what Marin County is like, Nave uses aromatherapy in his training. Hey, don't knock it. It works, boxing or not it's the California way.
To Nave's credit, he looks trim at 152 lbs, still fighting in the welterweight class.
Unfortunately, his first two fights, though easy wins, were clumsy and I dare say, boring affairs.
While I applaud a 48 year old man stepping into the ring and taking on anyone in the pro ranks, I don't see his comeback making much headway. The first guy he beat was some smiling Ukrainian guy with dark socks who looked like he just showed up because he had nothing better to do.
The second opponent, Derrick "The Thumper" Thomas, while more viable an opponent than the smiling Ukranian, was little more than a tomato can at age 37 and holding a 2-6 lifetime record.
For a comeback bid at age 48, Nave has chosen his opponents wisely thus far but it's only going to get tougher. Nave does not look sharp and from my vantage point, there is no way his reflexes will hold up against a fighter with serious skills.
Nave's only serious game is a big punch. That's what the crowds will come to see so I would expect a lot more tomato cans before Nave thinks seriously about a step up in competition.
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