Boxing


Naseem Hamed Says Bad Hands Forced Him To Retire In 2002

by James Slater - Naseem Hamed, now aged 35 and well into his retirement, says if he hadn't suffered with bad hands back when he was doing his thing he would not have retired when he did in 2002. Hamed, who never actually officially announced he was quitting the ring, has also gone on record as saying how he misses boxing and how he believes boxing misses him.

Speaking yesterday with BBC radio, the fighter formally known as "The Prince" said he wanted to clear things up with regards to why he never fought again after he'd got himself just one win after suffering his sole career defeat against Marco Antonio Barrera.. Hamed said yesterday that no-one knew why his career came to an end, and that it was a case of him - or his hands - being a victim of his own withering punching power.

"I had hand trouble and could not take the power of my punch," Hamed said. "I needed cortisone injections to take away the pain when I fought, then after every fight the gloves would be whipped off and my hands would be as big as balloons. It was getting ridiculous and you can't go on with no ammunition.

"I was one of the hardest punchers ever known, but if the hands are quite brittle and you do damage [to yourself], then it's hard to carry on."

Hamed, who finished with a pro record of 36-1(31) and last fought in May of 2002 when he won a dull and disappointing decision over Spain's Manuel Calvo, said he would have loved to have fought on if not for the hand trouble. Hamed even said he'd come back now if not for his bad hands.

"If the hands were fine, I'd love to come back," he said. "I love boxing, miss boxing and I believe boxing misses me."

Despite this "revelation" about just why he quit fighting at age 28, it's likely many fans will still choose to take the view that it was Mexico's Marco Antonio Barrera (who thumped Hamed in 2001, winning a UD over 12-rounds) who was instrumental in forcing "The Prince" out of the sport. Despite having a rematch clause and a Barrera who made it clear he was willing to travel to the UK for the return, Hamed all but vanished. Bad hands or not (and many fighters, big punchers especially, have been known to suffer from such a problem yet not retire) it was clear the April 2001 loss took something from Hamed.

Looking back, Hamed agrees that he quit the ring too early, but it is too late to turn the clock back now. At age 35, Naz is seemingly happy in retirement. His name still inspires debate amongst fight fans - some claiming he was indeed great, others taking the view that he was overrated. One thing is agreed on though; whether you loved him or loathed him, Hamed brought excitement to boxing.

Article posted on 30.08.2009



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