“The Algerian Assassin” Mohammedi (36-3, 22 KOs) will face Lee Campbell (8-1, 4 KOs) on the undercard of the Kovalev-Pascal fight in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A roller coaster of events that brought him to this place in his career. When Nadjib defeated Anatoliy Dudchenko to secure the #1 position in the IBF, he thought his next opponent would be Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins as Hopkins’ mandatory challenger. When Hopkins decided to face Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev in a unification fight for the WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Championships, Mohammedi agreed to fight on the Hopkins-Kovalev undercard and wait to face the winner.
Vince Caruso, Nadjib’s manager, said, “I told him to let Sergey win all three titles and then take the bigger fight with Kovalev. We knew defeating a 50-year old fighter would not be as prestigious as defeating the hardest puncher in boxing.”
When Mohammedi arrived in New Jersey ahead of his fight with Demetrius Walker on November 8, he found out that his trainer was unable to get to the United States. Nadjib and his team scrambled to someone to work his corner. As fate would have it, legendary trainer Abel Sanchez was in town working with fellow light heavyweight Sullivan Barrera. Abel agreed to work Mohammedi’s corner. Mohammedi stopped Walker in the first round. Vince said, “Nadjib was ecstatic with Abel at that fight.”
After the fight, Sanchez became Mohammedi’s head trainer. Although Nadjib was eager to fight Kovalev, the newly crowned unified champion, both he and Abel knew they would benefit from more time together before taking on such a challenge. So, when Main Events sought a special exception from the IBF to allow Kovalev to fight Jean Pascal on March 14, the 29-year old from Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhône, France once again agreed to wait.
According to Sanchez, “I am glad that they did it because it gives us time to adjust to one another. That is the business part of it, and they handle that. I’m the coach. They confer with me obviously but it does give us more time and another training camp to be ready for the winner.” He added, “I have a different method from other coaches, so I think it took a little time for adjustment. But I think he now understands my philosophy and my style of training now. Everyone around him here in Big Bear is doing the same hard work that he is starting to do now. He is adjusting to the lifestyle. He likes that everyone around him is working just as hard as he is, and he isn’t the only one.”
Nadjib added, “For me, working with Abel is going very well. He has changed my life. I get to work with very many good fighters. The team is very good, and I want to face Kovalev next in America. Kovalev is the best light heavyweight right now, and I only want to face the best. I only have one trajectory, the victory.”
When asked about the game plan for Lee Campbell on March 14 in Canada, Sanchez said, “I’ve always trained my guys to do what we do best and Lee Campbell is going to have to adjust to us. If we start trying to adapt to some opponent, then we aren’t being 100% ourselves. We have to take Nadjib’s pluses and improve on them and also work on his minuses. Most of all, we need to work on his pluses because we have only had one training camp, so it is not much time to change anything.”