By Scott Gilfoid: Promoter Eddie Hearn thinks that his fighter 27-year-old Luke Campbell (11-0, 9 KOs) may be the best fighter in the lightweight division at this time, even though Campbell hasn’t fought anyone remotely good during his two-year pro career.
On Saturday, #14 WBC Campbell will be fighting #7 IBF Tommy Coyle (21-2, 10 KOs) in a 12 round bout for the vacant WBC International lightweight title at the Craven Park Stadium, Hull, Yorkshire, UK.
This is a step up for Campbell, but not a big step up because there are much better fighters than Coyle in the lightweight division such as Denis Shafikov, Rances Barthelemy, Terry Flanagan, Jorge Linares, Dejan Zlaticanin and Kevin Mitchell. That’s just a small handful of guys that are better than Coyle that Campbell is going to need to prove he can beat in the future before Hearn can start crowing about him being the best fighter in the lightweight division.
“We don’t yet know how good Campbell is. There’s a chance he is already the best lightweight in the world so, if he is, Coyle has a difficult night ahead of him,” Hearn said via Skysports.com. “It’s a fascinating fight because Campbell is the big favourite but Coyle has the bit between his teeth, which makes him difficult to write off.”
We definitely don’t know how good Campbell is right now, but we’re not going to find out with Hearn matching him against Coyle. Hearn needs to break out of the cycle of feeing Campbell lower level fighters and raise his standards tenfold by putting him in with Shafikov, Barthelemy, Linares, Flanagan, Mitchell or Zlaticanin.
Campbell dishes it out okay, but I have a feeling that he’s not going to respond too well when he starts getting hit in return once Hearn starts putting him in with guys that can actually hit back and take the fight to him rather than just soaking up the punishment all night long.
In Campbell’s last three fights, he’s beaten Daniel Eduardo Brizuela, Levis Morales and Aboubeker Bechelaghem. Those are pretty weak opponents, and it kind of shows you how Hearn has been taking it very careful with Campbell. The thing is it doesn’t make sense for Hearn to be putting him in with soft jobs.
Campbell is about to turn 28, and he captured the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Yeah, there were a couple of controversial wins that Campbell got in the Olympics that arguably should have gone against him, but even if he deserved to be merely the bronze medalist and not the gold medalist in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, he still should be fighting better opposition than the guys that Hearn has been feeding him thus far. I mean, come on.
Why in the heck is Hearn still spoon feeding Campbell pabulum at this point in his career. You’ve got to take him off the baby food and put him on solids at this point because his baby teeth have come in a long time ago. Hearn is still babying Campbell with his soft match-making and the guy is pushing freaking 30-years-old. It’s just like how Hearn is matching Kell Brook up with soft opposition, even though he’s about to turn 30 and is the IBF welterweight champion.
“The winner of this, I think, will challenge for the WBC title and the loser won’t be competing at world level,” Hearn said.
Going from Coyle to Jorge Linares isn’t exactly the smartest thing in the world to do with Campbell. Hearn needs to do a better job of bringing his fighters along the right way. He goes from matching his guys against 3rd tier fodder to putting them in world title fights, and it doesn’t always work out well for them.
Coyle has faced guys like Michael Katsidis, Martin Gethin, Daniel Eduardo Brizuela. John Simpson, Derry Mathews and Gary Sykes.