Reigning WBA lightweight ruler Jorge Linares’ next fight has been ordered by the boxing organisation he represents as 135 pound champion; Linares, 42-3(27) must face Britain’s Luke Campbell.
The fight must now be worked out between the two fighters and their respective teams, the deadline being 30 days from yesterday, July 21. Campbell, 17-1(14) became Linares’ mandatory challenger with his impressive stoppage win over Darleys Perez in April, this fight on the massive Joshua-Klitschko card. Southpaw Campbell, a 2012 Olympic gold medal winner, has been beaten just once as a pro, by the tricky Yvan Mendy who decisioned him back in December of 2015. Since then he has reeled off five straight wins.
Is Campbell good enough to dethrone the classy champ from Venezuela?
Linares has been on a great run lately, winning his last 11 bouts. Linares is no stranger to both British fighters and fighting in the UK; Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Crolla (twice) tried and failed to beat him on their home soil. Linares, two years older than Campbell at age 31, has an absolute wealth of experience having faced just about every fighting style there is.
It’s fair to say Campbell, as talented as he is (he looked great in forcing Perez to give up, officially with an arm injury) will be the underdog against Linares, even with home advantage. We should definitely see an excellent fight between two fast, clever and skilful boxers though.
A war this one is not likely to be (although Linares has shown he is more than capable of going into the trenches and coming out on top if the need arises; see his tough fight with Mitchell from May of 2015), with a boxing purist’s display of The Sweet Science far more likely.
Linares has to be the pick to win, but Campbell might be good enough to bring out the best in the long reigning champ.
Interestingly, Linares recently relocated to London to train. By the time this ordered fight rolls around, perhaps in October or November, Linares may well feel very much like the “home” fighter.