JUST HOW GOOD IS DAT NGUYEN?
HCMC Vietnam Jan 14, 2020
The talk in boxing circles of Dat Nguyen making a comeback continues to gain momentum. The Vietnam born dynamo has not fought since February 2017, where he brutally knocked out unbeaten world title prospect Miguel Flores. But instead of securing a world title shot of his own, Dat Nguyen was dispatched to boxing’s vast wilderness.
The legend surrounding Vietnam’s Dat Nguyen has continued to grow in the time since, and many stories have surfaced that indicate what an incredible athlete this man actually is – so improbable has been his journey!. The following is one of many stories that have forged the mystical aura that surrounds the Vietnam star to this day. You will surely love it!
It is July 2014. The phone hasn’t rung in over a year, and it appears that Dat Nguyen’s career is already over. The facts are that in the previous 5 years, the Vietnam power puncher has managed to contest only two fights. He dreams of returning to the ring, but it seems that nobody is interested to promote a dormant yet dangerous Vietnamese boxer. To stay fit, Dat hits bag, but living in Vero Beach Florida, he is far from the traditional boxing areas, so gets no pad work or sparring. One day he finally gets offered some sparring, but it is 30 miles away. Dat eagerly accepts – any ring action is better than none!. He turns up alone, and when he arrives, he asks “Who am I sparring?”. A man points in the direction of a young Cuban boxer and says, “That guy”
The young Cuban was two time Olympic gold medallist, and at the time, commonly rated as the pound for pound best boxer on the planet - Guillermo Rigondeaux!
Dat Nguyen recalls the occasion. “It was an interesting experience. He was so fast and skilled, it was amazing. But it felt strange too. The first two rounds he gave me a lot of trouble, but by round three, I was starting to understand him and time him. I was actually thinking, wow, if i can train with this guy for a few weeks, and get my fitness and timing right, I don’t think he can hold me off!”
So here is the thing. Just how good is Dat Nguyen? After this spar, where he takes on possibly the world’s best at the height of his powers, Dat is not offered a fight for another two years. Between 2009 and 2016, the freakish Vietnamese talent operates with no promoter or trainer, and hits bag to stay fit. He has only three professional fights in 7 years!
Dat Nguyen is now aged 37, and has not boxed professionally for three years. He still yearns for a world title, and believes he still has what it takes to beat the best out there. Can that be possible? Based on Dat Nguyen’s amazing journey so far, it is very hard not to believe that anything is possible for this Vietnam legend.
*story sourced from Victory 8 Boxing
DAT NGUYEN TALKS BOXING COMEBACK
HCMC Vietnam Dec 27, 2019
The greatest professional boxer that Vietnam has ever produced has rekindled talks of making a comeback to the sport that he departed from almost 3 years ago.
HCMC born Dat Nguyen had charted an unusual path in fight sports and boxing that reached a crescendo in February 2017 when he took on unbeaten Mexican Miguel Flores. In a match that promised a world title opportunity if he was successful, the Viet star was regarded as an unlikely longshot. Despite the fact that few gave Dat Nguyen any chance, he not only won, but destroyed his highly regarded opponent by way of knockout.
But instead of fighting for a world title, this amazing win ended Dat Nguyen's career. He became the bogey man and giant killer that nobody wanted to face!
Nguyen won his first 11 gloved fights between 2004 and 2007, then reeled off six more W’s following a split-decision loss to Gregorio Torres. He said recurring issues with managers and promoters preceded consecutive decision losses to unbeaten foes Luis Del Valle and Jayson Velez in 2011 and 2013, respectively, leading to prolonged bouts of inactivity. Last moment calls from promoters like Top Rank and Golden Boy became the norm, he said, but the phone stopped ringing following the sixth-round stoppage of a then-unbeaten Flores – who’s reportedly lined up to face Leo Santa Cruz for a title belt at 130 pounds the next month.
“Everyone was expecting me to come in to lose the Miguel Flores fight but I had a different mindset,” Nguyen said. “I had a different mindset – ‘I cannot come in to lose. I have to win this fight’ – so I was very focused and I trained very hard and everything changed up. After that fight I just couldn’t get another fight.
Dat became disillusioned with the sport, and decided to open a boxing gym and a restaurant in Miami Florida. He is now 37.
"I have followed what has been happening in Vietnam and it is great to see that they are going crazy for boxing. There was an event in Hanoi this year where 30,000 people turned up to watch and the talent was amazing. I know there are a lot of great fighters there, so it won't be long before the world knows it too. Even though I haven't fought in almost 3 years, I have stayed in shape and I am definitely a smarter fighter than when I was younger. My defence is a lot better than when I first started. I really do believe that given the chance, I can still beat the best in the world. What is happening in boxing in Vietnam right now is so exciting, It's making me have thoughts of a comeback.
Haha - It's crazy, but if I did, I'd love to have my coming out party in HCMC Vietnam!"
In the early stages of round 6 Flores was hurt by an accidental headclash then dropped just moments later. Although Flores got to his feet from the knockdown it was clear that Nguyen could smell blood and immediately went after his foe, forcing the referee to save Flores just over a minute into the round.
For Flores the loss destroys his hopes of getting a world title fight in the near future whilst Nguyen has scored a career defining win and amazingly it was his first stoppage in more than 9 years!
Vietnam's favourite boxing child Dat Nguyen (17-3, 6) is one of our favourite fighters due to his toughness, energy and general warrior mentality. Even in bouts he's supposed to lose Dat puts it on the line and goes hell for leather in an attempt to score the victory.
In recent fights against Luis Orlando Del Valle and Jayson Velez we've seen Nguyen give it his all but fall short in really entertaining bouts that were much more competitive than the official scorecards suggested.
Nguyen will need to show his toughness and skills once again on April 12th as he returns to the ring for the first time this year to take on destructive Mexican youngster Oscar Valdez (9-0, 9).
Valdez will be the one taking a huge step up in class to fight Nguyen though will be heavily favoured to win.
Part of the reason why Nguyen will be the under-dog against Valdez is obvious Valdez's record. Although Valdez has been fighting weak opponents he is skilled and powerful and he could easily have gone 9-0 (9) against a better class of foe. Secondly Valdez was a top Mexican amateur who went to the 2008 and 2012 Olympics as well as various other international competitions.
Despite the imposing reputation of Valdez we know that Nguyen will do his absolute best to put on a show and win or lose we'll enjoy watching him as we always do.
For those wondering about how to watch the bout, it will be streamed on Top Rank TV as part of the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley II undercard. It may be an under-card bout but it'll be a treat for those tuning in to watch it or making their way to the venue earlier.
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)
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