HBO Jorge Linares vs Luke Campbell
BY KID HERSH
HBO World Championship Boxing from The Forum in Inglewood, California.
First up on the broadcast was a replay of the Canelo vs GGG PPV from last weekend. Then the broadcast moved straight to the main event due to Antonio Orozco coming in far overweight for his matchup against Robert Ortiz, to the point where there was no way he was going to make a newly proposed weight of 143.5lbs, instead of the regular 140lb limit.
Daniel Jacobs had an announcement on the broadcast that he has signed not only to fight on HBO but to be an announcer. Interesting announcement since he is not on this broadcast, but nonetheless it will be interesting to see him develop as an announcer.
The main event featured Jorge Linares (42-3, 27KO's) vs Luke Campbell (17-1, 14KO's). The referee was Jack Reiss. In the first round Linares was the aggressor pressing the action. Both men were careful of the others power but it was Linares that was landing the best punches in the first round due to his superior speed and timing. In the second round Linares was heavily aggressing and breaking through the defense of Campbell more and more until in the final minute of the round he landed a right hand down the pipe to the chin of Campbell that sent him to the canvas. He rose and seemed ok but Linares is really on him heavy. Campbell suffered a cut below his right eye in the process and while trying to hold steady looked like he was starting to break down from the speed, power, and heavy pressure of the champion. In the fourth round Campbell surprisingly turned the fight around despite it seeming like he was on the verge of disaster. This may seem surprising to most people but really it isn't; it is the story of Linares' career really to have these types of ups and downs where he seems virtuoso and then suddenly human. In the fifth round Linares was looking a bit sharper again as he pressed forward and was showing great footwork but you can see once again the problem he has; it seems as if suddenly in fights his opponents either figure him out or simply gain confidence because Campbell definitely is doing well and seems like he belongs in the fight - he is not acting like a fighter that has been knocked down and was getting broken down. In the next couple rounds it was a very close fight as Linares became easier and easier to hit but Campbells punches were not yet having any effect on him. In the eighth and ninth rounds Campbell was again gaining confidence as the fight has been a very good one that is switching hands for control via ring generalship back and forth. Campbell was standing in the center of the ring and keeping Linares on the end of his punches while Linares' punch output has dropped considerably. Going down the stretch in the championship rounds it was very hard to pick between the two fighters at times, with Campbell effectively controlling the range at times and Linares being the effective aggressor at other times. Then suddenly in the twelfth and final round the Linares from the early rounds came back out; showing an excellent defense that set up an excellent offense that was fast and powerful and unpredictable. Linares is such an odd but yet interesting fighter - he is either the virtuoso guy that people think is unbeatable - or the near opposite of that; the man that can be hurt and beaten. The cards came in - after taking quite a while - 115-113 Campbell, 114-113 Linares, and 115-112 Linares for the SD win.