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Luke Campbell vs. Derry Mathews this Saturday

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By Scott Gilfoid: WBC Silver lightweight champion Luke Campbell (14-1, 11 KOs) will be defending his title this Saturday night against former lightweight world title challenger Derry Mathews (38-10-2, 20 KOs) this Saturday night in a toss-up fight on the undercard of the Tony Bellew vs. BJ Flores card at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK.

Campbell has been matched pretty easily since his 12 round split decision loss to Yvan Mendy last December in London. Campbell, 29, has won his last two fights against Gary Sykes and Argenis Mendez. The fight against 30-year-old former IBF World super featherweight champion Mendez was supposed to have been a step up, but it really wasn’t.

Mendez isn’t the same fighter he was three years ago when he was the IBF champion, and he’d lost two out of his last four fights going into the Campbell bout. Further, Mendez suffered an injury early in the fight, preventing him from throwing punches. Still, Mendez was able to drop Campbell in the 2nd round with one of the few punches in the fight. After that knockdown, Mendez stopped throwing punches and just hung around for the next 10 rounds hiding behind his shoulder roll defense.

I saw no improvement in the stork-like Campbell’s game from his loss to Mendy. Indeed, Campbell looked just as vulnerable in the fight as he had in the Mendy fight. The only difference is Campbell didn’t have to worry about getting nailed over and over again like he was in the Mendy fight because Mendez couldn’t throw punches due to his injury. With the win over Mendez, Campbell captured the vacant World Boxing Council 135lb title.

Campbell is going to have to deal with the pro-Mathews crowd on Saturday night, as he’s from Liverpool, and the fans are going to be screaming their heads off. Yeah, don’t be surprised if the close rounds go to Mathews. That’s expected. If all the judges are going to be hearing is screaming from the fans each time Mathews clocks Campbell with right hands and left hooks, you can bet they’ll be putting rounds in the bank for him.
Campbell said to skysports.com:

“This is a great domestic clash and is a bit of a crossroads fight for the pair of us. It’s definitely a tough test, Derry is a warrior who carries that single punch power that can end a fight whenever. We all know that he has a big local following and a great fan base, so I’m looking forward to going into his backyard.”

I think Campbell is going to have MAJOR problems in this fight once Mathews starts putting hands on him. Campbell’s chin is clearly fragile, as we’ve seen in his fights against Mendez and Mendy with him being knocked down by both guys. Mathews may have a heck of a lot of losses on his resume, but he can crack, and he likes to tag his opponents repeatedly with his best power shots.

Mathews isn’t bashful about going to war. That’s the thing with Campbell. He’s been in with a bunch of stiffs for the most part. He’s only had one quality opponent and that was Mendy, who he lost to. Mendez was a good fighter three years ago, but things change rapidly in boxing. I hate to say it, but if Campbell had faced these guys, he’d have been whipped: Mikey Garcia, Dante Jardon, Felix Verdejo, Denis Shafikov, Ray Beltran, Petr Petrov, Jorge Linares, Dejan Zlaticanin, Mickey Bey, Michael Perez, Jose Felix Jr., Terry Flanagan, Juan Diaz, Sharif Bogere, Daud Jordan, Robert Easter Jr., Richard Commey, Rances Barthelemy, an Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Campbell’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been very clever with his match-making for him by NOT putting him with those talents. Instead of facing a murderers row of fighters from that group, Hearn has matched Campbell like a mother hen, putting him in with softer opposition like Mendez, Gary Sykes, Tommy Coyle, Aboubeker Bechelaghem, Chuck Jones, Lee Connelly, Scott Moises, Levis Morales, and Craig Woodall.

Honestly, I’ve never even heard of most of the guys Campbell has faced. They’ve been gawd awful, pretty much the whole bunch. Even the guy that beat Campbell, Yvan Mendy, was clearly seen as a beatable guy, because there’s no way that Campbell would have been matched against him if he was seen as a dangerous fighter like the bunch that accumulated above with my murderers’ row of top lightweights. The thing is, Campbell is so flawed that he couldn’t even beat Mendy. That kind of tells you something about Campbell, doesn’t it?

“I want to keep moving towards a world title shot and we want to reach that goal at some point next year – that is and will always be my main focus in boxing,” said Campbell. “Other than that, the Scott Cardle fight is also there and I would like a crack at the British title at some point – it’s a belt I would love to win. If he wants it, then it can very easily be made.”

It’s nice news that Campbell wants to fight for a world title in 2017, but I don’t see any vulnerable champions in the division that he can beat fight now. I think Campbell should focus on the Mathews fight, because the last thing he needs to be doing right now is assuming he’s going to win that fight. It’s nice that Campbell wants to fight for a world title, but I don’t think he’s going to get past Mathews on Saturday night. But even if he does win the fight, the talent at the top of the division is much better than the soft fodder than Hearn has been feeding him.

Campbell is about to turn 30. I don’t know why he’s thinking of fighting for the British title. I mean, Campbell is kind of long in the tooth to be fighting for a British strap. Ideally, fighting for a domestic level strap should be done in the early 20s rather than someone in his 30s. I think it’s kind of a backwards move on Campbell’s part to be fighting for the British strap. If your goal is to soon be fighting for a worl title, then why the heck are you interested in competing for a British strap? I’m just saying. It doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

Campbell should have gotten that out of his system straightaway after he turned pro back in 2013 instead of waiting until he’s 30 to start yacking about it.

Mathews, 33, lost his last fight to WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan last March by a 12 round unanimous decision. It was a good effort from Mathews, but he just didn’t have the talent or youth to get the job done in that fight. The loss halted a four-fight winning streak from Mathews that he’d put together over a three-year period. In 2013, Mathews was beaten by Stephen Ormond by a 10 round unanimous decision. In the same year, Mathews was arguably robbed of a win in a fight against Anthony Crolla in fighting to a 12 round draw. I had Mathews winning that fight EASILY. It was sad scoring on the night.

My prediction for Saturday night is Mathews to beat Campbell by a 12 round decision. I see Mathews knocking Campbell down three or four times in the process of winning a lopsided decision. Mathews may need to chase Campbell to land his shots, but I see him connecting enough to get a number of knockdowns.




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