by Pedro FernandezHAM-HEAD TOPS WEEKEND ACTION
To have more than one autobiography written about you before the age of 25 is unheard of. But the subject is Prince Naseem Hamed, the undefeated WBO featherweight titilist from Great Britain. And Naseem in the UK is akin to being the "Fifth Beatle."
No athlete has been more celebrated than Ham-head. In 29 professional outings, the Prince who wants to be the King of boxing, he has never tasted defeat. But in his last fight he tasted the canvas thrice before halting Kevin Kelley at Madison Square Garden in November.
Ham-head and company have said they have shored up their defense and don't expect their guy to be doing his yo-yo impression again.
Tonight on HBO at 9:30 ET (PT delayed) Hamed will take on a formidable foe in Wilfredo Vasquez, a man who will be engaging in his 22nd title fight. Officially, Vasquez. has not lost since 1990 and his record stands at 50-7-3, 37 KO's. But in last outing in November, the 37 year old was taken to school by relative novice Genaro Rios on the Holyfield-Moorer under card and was fortunate after 12 heats to prevail.
Since then, Wilfredo has ditched his WBA 126 lb. belt in order to meet Ham-head for $500 G's! This is easily the Puerto Rican's biggest payday in an 18 year career. And it will probably be his last!
You see Ham-head is a young stud at 24 who is incredibly powerful. Although his limitations are height, reach, and chin, his will to win and power are why he's 29 and 0. For Vasquez to win the Prince would truly have to be a Toad!
Odds: Hamed 5-1, Vasquez.
Prediction: Israel Contreras chilled Wilfredo in 1990. Ham-head MUCH more of a hitter than Contreras. Ham-head rolls as Wilfredo looks much older than 37 with inside the distance loss.
Former champion Chris Eubank will try to depose WBO cruiserweight guy Carl Thompson. Eubank is a guy who although he became a star in the UK, never fought in the US and had no following outside of Britain.
In the one fight that was for all the marbles at 168 lbs., WBO beltbearer Eubank was given a "gift" draw with then WBC champ Nigel Benn. Eubank looked in good condition in training for Thompson and will undoubtedly be the crowd favorite.
In another WBO scrap, Herbie Hide will make his first defense of the heavyweight diadem against Damon Reed.
This fight card will be on Pay Per View in Britain, and on HBO in the United States. The British Broadcasting Corporation will air the audio live on their web site.
TYSON WANTS TO TRAVEL
Mike Tyson has asked the presiding jurist in his rape trial in Indiana for permission to go to Monaco. The former champ is still on Probation for the conviction, and asking the court's permission is a formality.
Judge Patricia Gifford will undoubtedly allow Tyson to accompany his wife Monica for a five day trip that is said to include an appearance by Tyson at the International Music Awards. This has to be the work of Tyson's new head man Shelly Finkel, who is attempting to recreate Tyson's public persona.
Word has it Mike will not apply for his license in July when he becomes eligible. The former champ will instead begin earnest training with a speculated ring return taking place in November. The plan is for Tyson to fight a hobo, and then a third fight with Evander Holyfield.
TUA IN FRISCO
Once beaten heavyweight banger David Tua takes on .500 fighter Cleveland Woods in tonight's main event at San Francisco's Cow Palace.
Tua, 29-1, 25 KO's, is hoping a large part of San Francisco's Samoan population will turn out and support him on this Phil De Mauro Promotions event. Highlighting the undercard is 8-1, 8 KO's Carlos Madrigal, a 1996 Olympian representing Mexico.
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