Cool Hand Luke needs to be better than his best


Luke Campbell will have his chance to claim the WBA World Lightweight title (amongst others) when he steps in the ring to face Venezuelan champ Jorges Linares. It is a tall order for the Brit who comes into the contest off the back of a good victory over Darleys Perez. He will have to be bang on his best to claim the belt, anything less could lead to a long and embarrassing evening for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist.

Linares is a classy operator. He is also no stranger to British fight fans. They will remember him for the two victories he scored over Manchester’s Anthony Crolla in his own back yard. He completely overpowered and outclassed the man he took the belt off and then successfully defended it against 6 months later. His hand speed and movement were just too good for the hard working Mancunian.

The WBA World champion looks in great shape for the fight. Training camp has gone well for him and his boxing skills are on point. This is a top quality fighter that will be entering the ring at The Forum in Ingelwood, California. Linares also has above average power at the weight scoring 27 knock-outs in 42 fights. While he does carry that threat it will be the technical side of his style that will give Campbell the biggest problems.

There is hope for the Yorkshire southpaw as he travels to America to try and fulfil a dream. It could not get any more difficult for him as Linares does pose a massive obstacle to winning the belt. Linares has been stopped in the past. If Campbell can cause him some problems and ask questions of him the champ can start to unravel. Campbell will have to come forward and trade with his opponent it is a case of who can produce the cleaner more eye catching work.

Campbell looks in the good shape himself and at some point he will be put to the test. There will come a time in the fight when he will be asked to come through some bad spots. Whether he is hurt or tied up on the ropes he will have questions to answer. It is inevitable that in a fight against such a talent like Linares he will get on top of the fight. The vital stage of the fight will be when Linares is trying to kick on and move up the gears. How far can Campbell go? He will have to dig deep in stages and keep his head as well as showing heart. If he does that he will be in with a great chance of victory. If he does not, it will be another successful defence for Linares.

It is a step up in class for Campbell but one that he is ready for. He himself has a good boxing IQ and his strengths are similar to his opponents. He does carry power, in his 17 fights he has won 14 by way of knock-out. Campbell will be hoping to cause Linares to lose confidence coming forward by letting him feel his power. In doing so it will lead the champion to let up with the pressure he can put on. Campbell giving Linares something to think about early is vital for the Brit’s hopes of taking the W. If he is not able to do that Linares will just fight his own fight and by default win the contest.

The fight is upon us now. The hard work by both fighters has been put in. A new chapter for Campbell begins with this the fight of his life, so far. An impressive win in America would sky-rocket his profile and give him options moving forward. Defeat is not a disaster. He has lessons to learn and if this is one of those lessons so be it. He will come back. Can he pull of an upset and beat Linares? Absolutely. But it will have to be his level of performance that improves because Linares is showing no signs of slowing down. The champ wants to keep those belts – can Campbell take them?

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Author: Alan Brown

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