Curtis Harper's actions in late August has the entire boxing world talking with many, including the man who was working Harper's corner the night he walked out of a fight, believing that he could hurt the sport.
Nate Campbell, a former unified WBA, IBF and WBO world champion at lightweight, was brought in to help Harper for his fight against unbeaten prospect Efe Ajagba on the August 24 PBC card on FS1. Just as the fight between Ajagba and Harper was underway, Harper walked out of the ring and refused to fight his opponent.
In an exclusive interview with Fightful, Campbell said he believes Harper's action could hurt the sport of boxing if left unchecked. That's why Campbell believes Harper should be banned for life, echoing the feelings expressed by Ajagba's trainer Ronnie Shields.
“He should be banned for life! I totally agree with Ronnie Shields. I knew Ronnie Shields for a long time. I agree with him that he should be banned for life. If you’re this cavalier, if this is allowed to stay, this could hurt the sport of boxing. If a man is allowed to do what he did, there’s no place for that,” Campbell said.
Harper said his reasoning for walking out ultimately came down to feeling disrespected, treated unfairly by the people organizing the boxing card and that he felt like his $6,000 purse for fighting on television was too low. Campbell does not believe it to be a valid excuse as he himself has fought for similar amounts of money in big fights during his career.
“Let me tell you something: I fought for the No. 2 spot in the world for $10,000 and spent most of that just to train, just to get to the fight. After winning the No. 2 spot, I got short money to fight for the title. Everybody thinks that they are a million dollar fighter, but they don’t put in the effort. I mean look at him, did he look like he was prepared for a fight, for a million dollar payday? He didn’t look like he deserved the $6,000,” Campbell said.
Now one of the biggest questions of this incident was whether or not Harper planned to do this from the start or was this something done in the heat of the moment. If one were to ask Campbell, he would say that Harper planned this to happen from the beginning, believing he would still get paid regardless.
“I believe this was premeditated. He actually believed that if he were to step into the ring just for one second, he would get paid. He didn’t think he had to make the effort. I’m not angry at him as much as I’m hurt by him doing this,” Campbell said.
Harper was disqualified for his actions and awarded a loss. The Minnesota Office of Combative Sports is currently investigating the matter and is expected to have a verdict this week.