20 years ago on February 8th 1997 Prince Naseem Hamed vs Tom Johnson took place for the IBF and WBO featherweight titles in London.
And what a performance it was that night for the man they called ‘Naz’.
Hamed, a real love him or hate him type character, was arguably at the peak of his powers in this fight and displayed all the flash and entertainment that only he could do before ending the contest in brutal fashion.
(Prince Naseem Hamed vs Tom Johnson full fight – hat tip and credit: GivenQuality4Life YouTube):
What a dynamite ending and finish the ‘Prince’.
Despite his mixed reception with fans he often received, he always drew the crowds in both at the arena and on TV.
Still to this day, perhaps out of any boxer in recent British boxing memory, he seems to divide fans more so that any other fighter.
He only needs to turn up ringside at a high profile fight somewhere around the world and the old stories and sages of his famed career start like clock work.
In many ways he’s like the British version of a certain Floyd Mayweather, in that regards at least.
Some people liked him, some people didn’t. But he was always interesting. Always entertaining.
And one hell of a fighter.
The ferocious power and unorthodox style he displayed in his prime was something very unique to him, perhaps the likes of which might not be seen again.
Ultimately however, this style came up short against Mexican boxing legend Marco Antonio Barrera in the penultimate fight of Hamed’s career.
A fight that saw him comprehensively outpointed, only to return to the ring for one more fight years later in a relatively low key European title fight (which he won on points).
The old ‘Naz’ was a shell of himself by that point.
Nonetheless, he’s a man who’s boxing legacy will live on forever.