Boxing
 
        === Nate Campbell at 40: "I aim for what I always deserved" ===
 
 By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Boxing Editor
 
 Cape  Coral, FL (Sports  Network) - It's been a tumultuous four years for Nate
 Campbell.
 
 On  Valentine's  Day in  2009, the  popular Floridian headlined  a card in the
 Miami  suburbs and outlasted Ali Funeka by majority decision to keep the lanky
 South  African  from winning  the IBF,  WBA and WBO  shares of the lightweight
 championship.
 
 But  it  was a  bittersweet triumph  at best  for Campbell,  who was forced to
 vacate  the  jewelry after failing to  make the 135-pound limit for what would
 have  been his first defense since defeating previously unbeaten claimant Juan
 Diaz in Cancun, Mexico.
 
 Now  40, he remains on the outside looking in when it comes to titles, after a
 bloody  challenge  of 140-pound kingpin  Timothy Bradley ultimately wound up a
 no-contest  (it was originally ruled a TKO), and follow-ups with future champs
 Victor Ortiz and Danny Garcia ended in 10-round scorecard losses.
 
 Still, Campbell has won three of four since the 2011 match with Garcia -- with
 the  lone  loss coming  to  the  IBO's  current  title-holder at  140  (Khabib
 Allakhverdiev)  -- and  will re-emerge Friday as a late replacement for ESPN's
 Friday Night Fights 12-round main event against unbeaten Canadian welterweight
 Kevin Bizier in Montreal.
 
 Bizier is 19-0 with 13 KOs, but has had just one bout in a four-year career --
 a unanimous decision over Lanardo Tyner in 2011 -- that was scheduled for more
 than   eight  rounds.  His  original  opponent  for  Friday,  Englishman  John
 O'Donnell, withdrew after breaking his left hand in training.
 
 We  caught up  with Campbell to discuss the hurried pre-fight prep for Friday,
 how  he sees himself four years after the title reign and his expectations for
 what remains of his career.
 
 Fitzbitz:  Talk about  the series of events leading to Friday's fight. How did
 it wind up that you became involved? Who called who, and when did you give the
 final "yes"?
 
 Campbell:  I  was contacted by Bizier's  people a while back, but they decided
 against  me.  I figured  it was a  done deal,  so I moved  on. I was training,
 running  my workout class at Headstrong Boxing in the Jacksonville Beach area.
 I  was  talking to  (matchmaker) Zac  Pamillio and he  mentioned this fight in
 passing. I took the fight on Jan. 28.
 
 Fitzbitz:  How  often have you  taken fights on short  notice like this? Is it
 something that happened at any stage of your career?
 
 Campbell:  I have taken many short-notice fights. The Kid Diamond fight (a 10-
 round TKO win in 2005) was a short-notice fight.
 
 Fitzbitz:  What is the  main challenge in taking a fight like this: simply the
 lack  of  a prolonged training camp?  Are there other particular problems that
 are caused?
 
 Campbell:  There  are many  problems that  can arise, but  none that I haven't
 dealt with before. I am ready to go.
 
 Fitzbitz: What are the advantages? Are there any?
 
 Campbell: I am a world-class fighter and now I am in a great place in my life.
 My greatest advantage is my mind and what I know. I am in tremendous condition
 and I have so much to fight for.
 
 Fitzbitz:  Are  you at the  stage of your career  where you're always ready to
 take  a fight? What  are you walking around at, weight-wise? How often are you
 training, and what are you doing to stay in shape?
 
 Campbell:  I love to fight, so I run all the time. I train a boxing class, but
 I also have a gym reputation as the gym rat. I must defend it all the time.
 
 Fitzbitz: Are you still a full-time fighter? I know we've talked over the last
 few  years and you've  seemed ready to retire, then you were looking to travel
 the  world  and now you're  taking ESPN fights on  short notice. What are your
 priorities these days and what are you trying to accomplish?
 
 Campbell:  I  am a full-time fighter,  but that still  leaves a lot of time to
 live. I finished my first book, which will be out in March. The book is titled
 "When  My  Mess Became My  Message." I still  love to travel  and I am a guest
 motivational  speaker  and I am  in school  for my AA  in business and also my
 pharmacy  technician's  certification. Life  doesn't  stop,  but I  am  steady
 moving.
 
 Fitzbitz:  Many  people wrote you off  after the series of fights from Bradley
 through  Estrada.  Since then,  you've won  three of four,  with the only loss
 coming  to a  guy who  now holds  a world  title. What  was happening  in that
 stretch? What's happening now? Have you surprised yourself at all?
 
 Campbell:  People are  fickle, but I have a  faith in God and that has kept me
 faithful  in what he  can do with a wreck of a man like myself. I just believe
 that  God has much  more use for me and boxing is his platform of choice. I am
 here,  and trust  me, you all are  about to see what  a man can do when he has
 faith, talent and determination.
 
 Fitzbitz: Do you like fighting in other guys' hometowns? Does it motivate you?
 
 Campbell:  I love fighting and it makes me no matter where. I have found a new
 motivation and renewed love for the game.
 
 Fitzbitz: Do you view yourself as a large step up in class for Bizier? What do
 you  know about  him? Are you enjoying being the old-school fighter that young
 guys want to measure themselves against?
 
 Campbell:  Yes, I  am a real step  up, basically from the pond into the ocean.
 Bizier  is strong and young, but he is nothing different than anyone else that
 I've  seen.  Again, I  love to  fight and  it is  always an  honor for guys to
 measure themselves against you. That's what we all do or have done.
 
 Fitzbitz:  If you  beat him, what are  you aiming for after that? Do you think
 there's  a chance  you can still get a  big fight with a big name? Do you want
 one?
 
 Campbell:  When  I beat him  I aim  for what I  always deserved, but was never
 afforded:  the biggest fights  that are out there with all the money to match,
 period.
 
 Fitzbitz: If he beats you decisively, what does it mean for you?
 
 Campbell: He won't.
 
 Fitzbitz:  When you look  back at your career, what do you remember most? What
 are  you most  proud of? Is there  anything that you regret? Are you satisfied
 with the run that you've had?
 
 Campbell:  As I look back over my career I am thankful that God has granted me
 so much success. People told me that I couldn't, but I did and I regret that I
 didn't do it sooner. I am thankful that God has kept me safe.
 
 Fitzbitz:  What else  are you doing these  days, outside the ring? And who are
 you working with now, in terms of management and training, etc.?
 
 Campbell:  I am living  life, about to marry my fiance, Rosalyn, and I am in a
 great  place. I  am embracing my ministry  and looking to do more mentoring of
 children.  I  was a  foster child, so  I like  those hard cases.  I am doing a
 morning  prayer  line at 7:30  a.m. (et), Monday-Friday (605-475-4000, sign-in
 code  1040144#). This is what life is, and God knows it is better than God. As
 far  as boxing,  I love  training and  managing, but  commentating is  where I
 really  want to  land. I know the game  and I truly believe I would be a great
 fit anywhere there is a conversation about the sport I love.
 
 This week?s title-fight schedule:
 
 No fights scheduled.
 
 NOTE:  Fights  previewed are  only those involving  a sanctioning body's full-
 fledged  title-holder --  no interim,  diamond,  silver, etc.  Fights for  WBA
 "world  championships" are  only included if no "super champion" exists in the
 weight class.
 
 Last week's picks: 1-0
 2013 picks record: 3-1 (75.0 percent)
 Overall picks record: 465-153 (75.2 percent)
 
 Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally
 since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and
 posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at
 fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter: @fitzbitz.
 
 
 
 
 02/06 10:28:35 ET

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