A royal if ever there were one, Prince Naseem has lived a life of glory, success and also failure. A career spanning over ten years, Naseem Hamed reigned as a WBO, WBC and IBF Featherweight World Champion, adored by fans throughout the 90’s and early noughties.

Today aged 46, the Sheffield-born former superstar reflects on an incredible past. Whilst no longer backflipping into gyms to the backdrop of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the showman will no doubt continue to reminisce about his brutal south-paw style and the joys of the ring – unconventional antics such as flying carpet’s and Halloween masks usually taking centre stage.

With 31 knockouts to his name (a knockout-to-win ratio of 84%) and having only lost once, it is hard to let a defeat completely overshadow a remarkable boxing record. A protégé of the late Irish boxing trainer Brendan Ingle, it was only after their split that the Prince fell off his thrown.

Used to winning from an early age, the Englishman was European Bantamweight Champion at 20 years old and recognised by promoter Frank Warren as an all-time potential great. Stopping both Enrique Angeles and Juan Polo Perez inside two rounds at the beginning of a fruitful spell as a champion, the pound-for-pound ace tarnished records for fun. Beating WBC Featherweight Champion Kevin Kelley in 1997 at Madison Square Gardens, it was not until 2001 that Hamed finally tasted professional defeat.

Losing to legendary Mexican featherweight Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas, an estimated six-million-dollar pay-out may have softened the blow, but by no means would have made it acceptable (even through what were arguably tinted glasses at the time). Having fought to defend his three world titles a combined 17 times, defeat would have left a sour taste in the mouth.

Victim to a Barrera game plan that resulted in boxing’s Baby-Faced Assassin combatting the Brit’s regular method of fighting style, Hamed, under different ringside guidance, lost by unanimous decision, his titles traveling to South America, the re-match clause never invoked.

Financially thriving and engulfed in stardom, it took a year’s absence from the sport before a final Prince bout took place. Often away from the gym, it was a reasonably half-hearted 12 months of training prior to the former London Arena hosting “the cat with nine lives”.

A comfortable points victory against Spaniard Manuel Calvo concluded the end of a prosperous career for Hamed. However, a lack of training evident as the millionaire failed to knock out his relatively unheard-of opponent, the ten thousand in attendance booed at what they had witnessed.

Waking up in silk pyjamas, one can understand Naz’s decline – the gym becoming more of a distant stranger. Although several feel as though he never lived up to his potential, the once second richest British boxer in history is considered by numerous boxing fans as a legend. His talent ultimately trumping the scandals that he was involved in, Prince Naz now enjoys a life out of the limelight, spent with his wife and family in the Midlands.

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