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Sports

Campbell set for new challenge at 140

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Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 04:36 AM
TAMPA -

In the same breath Nate Campbell described Timothy Bradley's youth as a challenge, he also hinted at its detrimental nature.

Tonight, Campbell, 37, will make his debut in the light welterweight division against Bradley, 25, for the young boxer's WBO light welterweight title.

"Youth. He's young," Campbell said moments before his wit began to take over. "I like that. I really like that. I really like that."

Fight fans will see for themselves when the title fight airs live on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.

His giddiness at facing a younger fighter all hinges on his March 2008 domination of then-undefeated champion Juan Diaz. In that 12-round split decision victory, Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs) lifted the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles from Diaz.

Then, Campbell was one day shy of his 36the birthday, while Diaz was 24 and believed to be the boxer with the tools to fend off Campbell. Instead, Campbell never took a step back, beating Diaz to the punch time and time again.

Tonight's conditions are all too familiar as the younger Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) has held two titles and yet to taste defeat.

"Let me tell you something, he'll never learn what I know," said Campbell a Jacksonville native and former longtime Tampa resident.

As for Bradley, he believes - just as Campbell does - youth will play a vital role in the fight, which will be held at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

"I can't dissect him because I have not been in the ring with him," Bradley said. "However, I think that my youth and speed will be huge advantages against him."

In April, Campbell sat ringside inside Montreal's Bell Centre as Bradley defended his WBO and WBC light welterweight titles against Kendall Holt. That night, although Bradley won by decision, Holt dropped Bradley twice.

Don't think Campbell hasn't forgotten that.

"He was exposed in a major way," Campbell said. "I just have to go out and do my thing. He's a nice young man, but he's got to fight.

"I'm going to fight my fight and he has to make his mind up if he's going to fight his fight. The realization is, I'm not going anywhere. He can't hurt me."

This fight in a sense is a miraculous one for Campbell. In February, he failed to make the 135-pound weight limit against Ali Funeka. Although they still fought, Campbell was stripped of his titles at the scale. The fact Campbell is able to fight for yet another title in his first time at 140 is rare.

"I look back at my life and think nobody understands what it's like to capture your dream and live it," he said.

Tonight, he's ready to relive those dreams.




Reporter Eddie Daniels can be reached at (813) 259-7066.

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