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Boxing News, May 11, 2007

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An Amazing Journeyman
Campas Makes Another Prospect Work So Hard to Win



Almost 20 years into his career and jnr. middle Yory Boy Campas is still a tough outing for all but a few. Just ask prospect John Duddy, who had to plumb the depths of his soul to earn the nod when they fought at Madison Square Garden last September. Perhaps the Nigerian Eromosele Albert didn’t have to go as deep to get a UD 10 against Campas on Wednesday Night Fights—scores were 99-91 twice and 97-93—but anything less than the torrid pace he set from the opening bell and one sensed the old lion was just one liver shot away from turning the tide.

Albert landed a remarkable 43% of his 1090 punches, and worked the body as faithfully as he did the vet’s scar-tissued face. With the win, he goes to 20-1. Yory Boy dropped to a still amazing 88-10 (72), and he says his official ledger doesn’t include three fights (wins) he had in his native Mexico.

Although the African had a three-inch height advantage on Campas, he didn’t mind giving this up and working in the trenches. Normally this would seem a foolish strategy against a seasoned, short-armed fighter known for his in-fighting. But Albert is no cub. Per ESPN2’s fact-checkershe had a—pause—568 amateur bouts, including two trips to the Olympics! (I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of such a thing? Have you?) And he didn’t turn pro until he was 26. So this isn’t a fighter that needs to find himself. He’s probably as good as he’s going to get.

Through the first five frames these two made perfect foils. The old pro only expended what energy he had to. Every shot was well-placed and thrown with bad intentions. He mainly worked the body, fully expecting to collect the interest on his deposits in the late rounds. Even though he averaged over 80 punches/round, he almost seemed to be holding back compared to Albert. 

The greener pro worked frenetically. It was as if he was performing a drill in which the goal was to punch as many as possible in a given period of time. Most grow tired or only perform a few sets—not Albert. There wasn’t much on his shots but they were getting through and winning him rounds.  

At the end of the fifth Campas got cut over his right eye. But it seemed to have little effect on him as the sixth commenced Commentator Teddy Atlas cracked one of his better lines: “ He has been cut so many times I think he has taught his blood to bleed slowly.”  The cut, while not small, was a non-issue for the rest of the fight.

Yet this was when Albert began to really pull away from Campas. He found that he could split the high guard with uppercuts, and also took advantage of other options available to him by using his range. Long rights did the trick from him in the sixth, seventh and eighth. Not that they still didn’t do their share of work in close.

While Campas was clearly losing this fight, he still impressed. In spite of his losses—which have mainly been at the hands of gilded names like Felix Trinidad, Fernando Vargas, Oscar de la Hoya, Oba Carr and Jose Luis Lopez, and which some fans accuse him of quitting in—I view him as the definition of tested grit. He comes to win and he comes to hurt you. He shrugs off extreme punishment. At the end of a usual night’s work, his paychecks are pitifully small for a boxer who has given so much—now 529 rounds, 59 of them in championship bouts. And yet he keeps on. . .the existential road warrior.

Win or lose, I enjoy watching him ply his trade. At one point in the eighth he pushed Albert’s head down with his own and used the back of his opponent’s neck as a tissue, wiping the blood from his eyes and nose. “This is what experience teaches you,” Atlas said admiringly.

It was a good move indeed, but not so special that it changed the course of the fight. Campas slowed down in the ninth and tenth, while Albert never stopped punching.

Fres Oquendo opened the telecast in a mismatch against a now 9-3 (7) Damian Norris.  I know it was mismatch because “Fast Fres” looked like “Iron Mike.” He knocked Norris down a total of four times, playing the rare role of slugger. The ref stepped in, calling the bout at 1:44 of the sixth (TKO).

Oquendo was coming off a hugely disappointing loss to an ancient Evander Holyfield. Fres is 27-4 (17) and some of those losses were unfair, such as the decision that went to then IBF champ Chris Byrd or his premature TKO 11 to John Ruiz. But I still don’t see anymore big fights or purses in his future. He doesn’t have a crowd-pleasing style and is awkward enough you wouldn’t want to put a young prospect in with him. Like Campas, he’s a reminder of what a tough racket prizefighting is.

Feather Carlos Juan Velasquez, now 2-0 (2), made quick work of Markel Muhammad. The fight was stopped at 2:10 of the second. This 22-year-old is fast, athletic, hard-hitting and has killer instinct. Don’t confuse him with an equally talented feather, Juan Carlos Velasquez. That’s not a misprint; it’s his twin bother, who earlier in the night stopped his opponent in the first.





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