Resting for a few days at the Tampa home of advisor and co-promoter Terry Trekas, former unified lightweight world champion Nate Campbell had the following to say about his performance Saturday night, and what the future at 140 holds for him.
“Wow, what a fight. Ali Funeka has nothing to be ashamed of. The kid fought his ass off. This kid would probably beat most of these other guys at 135, which is exactly the reason, unfortunately for him, his performance pretty much assures that nobody is going to want to fight him. He’s 6 foot 1, tough as a 10 penny nail, and can crack with both hands. I hope the IBF keeps him up at the top in the lightweight rankings so he can fight for that vacant title. He deserves it more than anyone.
“I’ll be honest. I wasnt 100% in there. The excessive strain I put my body through the last 36 hours before the weigh in trying to take off those last few pounds really took away a lot of my stamina. I really felt it in the middle rounds. So I picked my shots in those rounds. Worked the body, and tried to stay out of range of his right hand. As we got into the later rounds, John David Jackson and Jimmy Waldrop let me know I needed to finish strong, and I really had to dig deep to pull it out. This is no knock on Ali Funeka. Even if I was 100% in there, this kid would still have given me some problems. He’s a damn good fighter, and a future lightweight champion. Bank on that.
“As for what’s next, I’m open to anything at 140. Nothing has changed. I’m still the guy who will fight anyone and everyone, no matter what. Maybe one of these 140 guys will look at Saturday’s fight, think I’m shot, and give me a fight. There’s a lot of good fights out there. The Bradley-Holt winner or loser, the Hatton-Pac winner or loser, The Kotelnik guy with the WBA belt, even Zab Judah has been suggested to me by some fans if Zab comes back to 140. That Ortiz kid that everyone is talking about is out there too. I’ll fight anybody. It don’t really matter who.
“I think the only one I wouldn’t fight right now would be Juan Urango, because Randall Bailey is fighting an eliminator to become Urango’s mandatory in the IBF, and Randall is my dude. I would want Randall to get his shot before I even thought about doing anything with Urango. But there’s a lot of fights out there at 140, and I’m sure in the coming weeks we will figure out what’s what.
“Promotionally, I’m a free agent, so that might open up some doors. But then again, Don worked really hard with HBO to make this Funeka fight for me when nobody else would have, in spite of what was going on between us legally, so I’m sure Terry will be talking to Don this week as well as whoever else. I just want to take a week or two off, and then get back to work. There’s a lot of belts at 140 I’d like to get my hands on.”