After knocking out Nate “The Galaxy Warrior” Campbell for the second time in two meetings, Robert Lloyd Peden, better known as Robbie “Bomber” Peden, finally claimed a major world title to officially certify himself as “champion.”
The new IBF super featherweight champion was stronger and better than his American counterpart to claim the 130-pound title in front of his home crowd. The 31-year-old from Brisbane, Australia now has a major world title belt around his waist as he claimed the vacant title with the win. He previously held minor (NABF and USBA) versions of either the 126- and 130-pound titles, but the IBF title stamps Peden’s place on the boxing map.
In the first fight between the two men, Campbell was ahead in a very competitive bout when he made the unwise move of dropping his hands and sticking out his unprotected chin to taunt Peden. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Peden smacked the smug right out of Campbell with a delicious shot that left Campbell down and out. The fifth round kayo victory brought a stunning end to what was shaping up to be a competitive, entertaining bout. Campbell was gracious in defeat, accepting all the blame for a foolish move, but vowed to avenge the defeat.
The second time around – in the Land Down Under where Peden was born but had never fought as a professional – Campbell had no legitimate excuses. He simply got beat. Sure, in order to protect the fragile psyche of a fighter, Campbell complained he was facing three foes in challenging Peden, the refereeing of John Wright and the fight locale, which was Peden’s turf. But after being cut over both eyes, bleeding from the nose and unanimously behind on each judge’s scorecard, the 8th round stoppage by Wright seemed appropriate. Peden pounded Campbell for much of the night and Campbell was on the ropes taking a beating when Wright stepped in to halt the fight.
The cuts forced Campbell to fight with more urgency than in the first few rounds, where he worked well behind his jab to set up his offense. After the blood began to flow due to a punch, as ruled by the referee, Campbell sensed an urgency to take out his opponent, a move that played into Peden’s hands. The Bomber began to counter the on-rushing “Galaxy Warrior” and picked him apart until the fateful end as a tiring, bloody Campbell was trapped and under fire.
Robbie Peden finally has a major title and the better paydays that come with defending that title should be easy to find. The 130-pound division is very competitive, with WBC champ Marco Antonio Barrera, the always dangerous Erik Morales, WBO titleholder Mike Anchondo, Jesus Chavez and WBA king Yodsanan Nanthachai rounding out the top of the super feather heap. Consensus featherweight ruler Manny Pacquiao has already made one jump and could easily land in the deep end of the super featherweight pool as he next faces off against Morales. With exciting fights come better paydays, and Peden is now well positioned at the right time with his highly coveted belt.
With a record of 25-2 with 14 knockout victories, Peden was always on the fringe of contention, but had not been able to capitalize. Consecutive victories over a fighter like Campbell, who many believed was destined to be a world champion, put some major credibility on Peden’s resume. While his last defeat by TKO against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2002 (when Peden’s corner threw in the towel) can be excused, erasing the memory of his only other loss, to John Brown, has not been easy. Brown was already deep into the decline his career is still in. He was supposed to be a stepping stone for the undefeated Peden.
With four loses in his past eight fights, the “Eastern Beast” Brown was to be a measuring stick for Peden. Jesus Chavez, Angel Manfredy, Shane Mosley and Diego Corrales took turns battering the former title challenger and Peden was given the chance to do the same. When he failed that test by a unanimous decision, many pundits wrote Peden off as a legitimate threat. Now, three years, five straight wins and four knockouts since coming up short against Marquez, Peden has proved them wrong.
The depth of talent in the super featherweight division makes it one of the most competitive in the sport. Many of the top-ten fighters have the skills to become champion on any given night. For now, Robbie Peden can lay claim to his hard-earned spot among the elite in the 130-pound division.
It’s a precarious seat he occupies, but Peden has earned the right to defend it.