Hall of Fame Spotlight: Prince Naseem Hamed

Prince Naseem Hamed will be inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame this weekend in Canastota, New York.  Looking at the numbers, Naseem selection is a no brainier; a record of 36-1 with 31 Kos and 15 title defenses of the WBO Featherweight Crown. Hamed was also one big fat piece of entertainment inside and outside of the ring.

Hamed’s antics rubbed some people the wrong way. His Avant Garde-like ring introductions were legendary, yet not always appreciated by the boxing die hards.  Hamed was all business in the ring however, he always came to fight and wanted to end all of his opponents before the final bell. With a knockout percentage of 86 percent, Hamed was very successful with his desire for ending fights. So why does Hamed’s induction come with some controversy?

The big problem with the Prince is that he lacks that great opponent, that signature win. Kevin Kelly and Wilfredo Vazquez were solid boxers, but not enough to disprove the critics who feel Hamed’s resume is filled with weak opposition. Add to the fact that Hamed fared poorly against the only sure fire hall of famer on his record, Marco Antonio Barrera, you have a legitimate question mark next to Hamed’s HOF plaque.

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On sure entertainment and numbers the Prince should be in.  Matthew Saad Muhammed and Arturo Gatti are in on entertainment value. But that is where the problem with Hamed lies. Guys like Saad & Gatti have raised the bar so high with the entertainment value criteria, and did it against much better opposition, the Prince seems like the warm up act for a great comedian when you compare him to the other hall of famers of his ilk.

If you want to argue Hamed’s induction based on his title defenses? I guess you can justify it based on his 15 WBO title defenses, but is this not the same WBO that had zero credibility for years, are these not the same belts we all complain about and refuse to recognize in boxing today? Makes it hard for me to take this argument serious.  Hamed also partially unified the Featherweight Title for half a minute, again, we cannot pick and choose when the belts are meaningless

I certainly have issues with Naseem Hamed’s HOF induction. However, the Boxing Hall of Fame should not be taken that serious. I say this because they have to induct a certain number of boxers every year. Someone has to get in, multiple someone’s. Looking at the Prince’s record next to some of these other guys, well he becomes a little bit more attractive.

I have been told Hamed will not be able to attend the HOF weekend because of health issues with his wife. This is a shame because the fans will be cheated out of one of his best attributes, entertaining a crowd.


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