Feature | Aug 31 2014

On This Day: Naseem Hamed overcomes adversity to defend his title against relentless veteran Manuel Medina

The story of Naseem Hamed transforming from a boy to a man during his August 31, 1996 showdown with Manuel Medina, writes Andrew Lawrence
0024949  |  Prince Naseem Hamed hits Medina with a right on his way to victory

1. HAMED was at this time the new boxing superstar, in Britain especially. His ring entrances were theatrical performances that ended with his signature front flip into the ring. Even inside the squared circle the performance wasn’t over, with dancing, playground antics and a peculiar taste in outfits. Everything he did was attracting a lot of attention and an endlessly growing fan base. Not that his 22-0 record wasn’t enough.

2. Although Manuel Medina wasn’t considered to be much of a threat to Hamed, as a veteran he had a history of stunting the growth of new prospects. As we recalled in our issue before the fight, Medina was “a world-class performer who, only 11 months ago, claimed his second world title by defeating the promising Alejandro Gonzalez.”

3. Mexican underdog Medina was going into the fight with a reputation as a “powder puff” puncher, who had let the vast majority of his fights go to a decision. Hamed, being a different breed of animal, ended his last 10 fights in short and spectacular fashion and was extremely confident that this bout would end the same. “Prince” Naseem said, “When these two rocket launchers hit him right on the end of his chin, it will be goodnight Vienna. I’m the hardest puncher in the division and when my opponents realise that, they end up dropping.”


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