Promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Eddie Hearn have gotten together with HBO to bring us WBA world lightweight champion Jorge Linares’ latest title defense tonight (Saturday, September 23, 2017) as he faces the challenge of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell.
Linares is fighting under a lot of pressure to win here. He has been fighting in the United Kingdom over the past few years and he has won rave reviews for his wins over Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Crolla. If Linares had put on those performances in the United States he would be in every pound-for-pound list out there but he hasn’t gotten that type of recognition yet. That is part of the reason his promoter Golden Boy is looking to showcase him here. A win ould put Linares on a short list of fighters including Vasyl Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia to make big money fights.
Looking to play spoiler to those big plans is Campbell. Campbell is a 2012 gold medalist at the London Olympics and as a pro he has gone 17-1. His lone setback came against French veteran Yvan Mendy, who was 32-4-1 when he faced Campbell and he has bounced back with five wins in a row to earn this world title shot. Mendy was an experienced pro that left observers with the impression that Campbell bit off more than he can chew, but Campbell chafes at that assessment. Though he was hunting for a rematch with Mendy, Campbell opted for this world title shot instead.
Physically, Campbell is actually an inch taller than Linares and he is younger and has technique to help him match the champion’s arsenal. But is he biting off more than he can chew again? As a decorated amateur he has fought and traveled before but his entire pro career has been fought in England and he even enjoyed the “home cooking” for his Olympic run, as 2012 was held in London. The complicated Linares is a tall order for anyone to overcome in their first major fight on the road.
The rest of the card could get attention from the sports books as we get closer to fight time. Check your local listings for start times on HBO.
Forum, Inglewood, CA September 23rd – HBO
Luke Campbell +310 o9 1/2 -145
Jorge Linares -370 u9 1/2+125