I had my first look at Prince Naseem Hamed last night on Showtime, and,
even his staunchest supporters must admit that he sent off some very mixed
signals in his US TV debut.
1. The pomp and ceremony of his entrance was a bit silly, if not fatally
so. Part of boxing (although it shouldn't be the greatest part) is
showmanship, and a little piss-take might be a refreshing change for the
game. My quarrel is shouldn't the magnitude of goofing mirror the
fighter's achievements? I could see all the fuss for an Ali, but the
Ric-Flair-meets-Tuthankamen gig was quite overdone for a guy who has only
feasted on mediocre European opposition. Use the dancing girls, but
please earn 'em first, Naz.
2. If boxing were break-dancing, this guy would be a Hall of Famer.
3. I don't think much of his style, with all the mugging, pulling
straight back and twisting and contorting like a piece of overcooked
macaroni. Alicea, who looked like an earnest but limited foe (what? the
WBA overrating a Latin fighter? Nawww!...), was able to penetrate his
defenses and drop the Prince on the seat of his papyrus trunks straight
off. Imagine what a truly relentless, hard-hitting world-class pro would
do? Naz tried to make this into a positive ("I took his best shot...")
but it really made him look foolish.
4. That having been said, either Alicea has a chin that would make Tommy
Hearns' look impregnable, or else Naz, for all his foppery, has some sock.
The first right hook didn't look that imposing, but it froze Alicea like
a statue and put him down with that paralyzed, delayed-action that comes
with truly lethal punching . Once Naz got down to business and decided to
finish Daniel, he put together a great finishing combo! So, the guy
obviously has real skills.
My impression is that the guy is a talent, a prodigy, who is 60% ability,
and 40% flash. That's not good enough to compete at world class level
just yet. He needs some wars against tough, veteran US journeymen to
sharpen himself and to rid him of all those lousy showboating habits.
(Less Naz, more Nads.) If he tried to fight a Nelson or a Johnson or a
Barrera today, he would be exposed as just some kind of***ney Camacho.