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Win for the Prince No Cinch

JD Vena from Ringside
MASHANTUCKET PEQOUT RESERVATION --"When you see Prince Naseem Hamed fight, you see a man get hit. You see a man go down.  You excitement, drama, wicked ring entrance.  You see explosion, a phenomenon and you see a man get knocked out."

    Those were the words from Prince Naseem Hamed following his 15th successful title defense of the featherweight title at a sold-out Foxwoods Casino Resort in Connecticut.  A Hamed fight, particularly last night's, could not be put in better words.  In spectacular fashion, Hamed, 126, destroyed a game but overmatched Augie Sanchez, 126, but the win wasn't as easy as Hamed or anyone else but perhaps Sanchez expected.

    Midway though the second round, Sanchez sent Hamed to the canvas with two quick right hands.  As quickly as the crowd rose to its feet, so too did Hamed.  The Yemenite who packs dynamite changed his fight plan from bouncing to trouncing.  The knockdown which referee, Michael Ortega incorrectly ruled a slip, transformed the Prince from leopard to tiger as he immediately roared back and stunned Sanchez moments later with thunderous punches.

    "When I get knocked down, I get up and smile," said the champion.  "I look over at my opponent and say to myself, 'I'm going to knock you out!'  When you get hit by Prince Naseem, you get whacked."

    And his opponent certainly got whacked.  Though Sanchez, a 22 - year old native of the city of sin (that's Las Vegas, Nevada folks) was able to hit Hamed with many more solid punches, they only seemed to anger Hamed, who walked through Sanchez's blows to land his own.

    "I don't like to get in there and just pity-pat," said Hamed.  "I just want to go out there to fight and knock you out.  That's a sign of a warrior and you can see it in my heart. At 35-0 with 31 knockouts, no matter what happens, I always prevail.  If you put me down, good for you, but better for me.  It's a wake-up call for me which says it's time for you to get knocked out."

    That time came at 2:34 of the 4th round, a moment after Hamed landed two picturesque left-right combinations to the head of Sanchez.  Sanchez collapsed in a heap and Ortega immediately waved the fight over without issuing a mandatory 8-count.  Though Sanchez valiantly managed to his feet, his handlers and ringside officials laid him down to examine his condition.

    "Augie was slurring his words, lethargic and slow to respond to commands," said ringside physician, Michael Schwartz.

    Sanchez was carried out of the ring on the stretcher and taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich, CT for extensive tests.  Fortunately, the reading of the CT scan taken of Sanchez determined that Augie was okay.

    Hopefully, the damage done to Sanchez' career won't be as devastating as his knockout loss which dropped his record to 26-2, with 23 knockouts.

    "My heart goes out to Augie,"; said the Prince.  "He really came to fight.  He had a plan and he fought a great fight.  He seemed to be very strong and he must have trained very hard, but I train and fight harder."

    During the post-fight press conference, Hamed continued to express interest in being matched with, Erik Morales, the WBC Super-Bantamweight champion or Marco Antonio Barrera, Morales' WBO counterpart.

    "I';m still waiting for Barrera and Morales to come out from hiding," said Hamed.  "All you fighters who think you're the best fighter in the world, step up!"

Promoter - Prince Promotions
Network - HBO

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