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Linares vs. Campbell: Golden skill and British will

Linares takes on Campbell
Linares takes on Campbell

By Allan Cerf

Saturday, September 23 at the Fabulous Forum, Los Angeles and HBO After Dark, it’s Jorge “Golden Boy” Linares vs. “Cool Hand Luke” Campbell


Background: Back when my boxing crazy (and plain crazy) ex, Michelle and I, used to go to San Jose dives to watch all the fights, we once caught a snoot-full of Jorge Linares, then 22. Whose undercard?  Pavlik’s? Maybe. 


We watched as the young Japanese resident by way of Peru floating around the ring, unleashing gilded combinations on a hapless opponent. He seemed literally, a perfect fighter. Speed, power, grace, ring-craft, technique.  It was awe-inspiring.  Yet all these years later, his ring-veteran’s countenance is proof that boxing, to again paraphrase Larry Merchant- belongs to its masters of geometry. It’s not defensive flaws – Linares has fine defensive technique. His chin, while not granite, is battle tested. Pity Jorge. Physics reared up and said: “Linares you shall be constrained by geometry.”  You will win most of your fights, most by knockout, but your size and angles shall occasionally take you down side streets of unconsciousness.” Hence 3 crushing KO losses on his record. Boxing is like driving – you can do everything right and still wind up in the hospital. Or, dead.


Fighter’s Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)


Jorge Linares: A B B+B-C+B+B+ (Average of all) B


Luke Campbell: B B B B B B B- (Average of all) B


Reality Check: I congratulate Campbell on his Gold medal at the Olympics and steady progress as a pro.  But- he’s yet another go-slow European and at 29 moving up much too slowly. I’m rather underwhelmed by his somewhat pedestrian skills – his punches are hooks from both sides – period. He’s a lefty, good- and while he’s fairly fleet of foot, he has to set himself up to punch. Bad. His toothpick legs will NEVER allow for great power generation.  Linares has aged well – he’s 32 going on 27 with no signs of slowing.  It’s obvious: I like the guy; good guy, great skills, excellent fighter. Campbell’s brain trust may know something. But unless Linares gets old-overnight, ill or injured, I don’t see Luke being able to compete with Golden Boy’s glittering Set O’ Tools. Particularly having no jab to speak of, those Euro-hooks and worst of all, his need to set his feet in stone before punching – I think Campbell – if Linares still has the goods, is getting pasted. “Cool Hand” Luke will need some big-time help to upset Linares. Old-time movie trivia: Paging George Kennedy.

Personal: Family man Campbell and his entire family are models!  Linares as we know, moved to Japan and assimilated so well (speaks great Japanese) he plans to “live and die” there.  His hobbies, TBD.


Fight and Prediction: Linares KO Campbell, 11.  I would then like to see the extremely likeable Linares tell ‘geometry’ to kiss his butt and take on Mikey Garcia and then perhaps Loma – and anyone else.  Make some long dough and retire to his beloved Japan.


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