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Where does Luke Campbell go after defeat to Ryan Garcia?

Ryan Garcia

By Barry Holbrook: Luke Campbell suffered a disappointing loss to the young 22-year-old contender Ryan Garcia in a crossroads fight last Saturday night in Dallas, Texas.

What made the defeat for the 33-year-old Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) even tougher to swallow was the fact that it was the second consecutive for him. Campbell is going to have to rebuild quickly with his career if he wants to go after another world.

Going back to the domestic level is an option for Luke, but he can’t afford to invest too much time fighting that type of opposition if he wants to ramp up for a third world title try.

Campbell’s attempts at winning world titles

  • Ryan Garcia – seventh-round KO loss for interim WBC lightweight title
  • Vasily Lomachenko – 12-round unanimous decision defeat in a fight for vacant WBC 135-lb belt
  • Jorge Linares – 12-round split decision loss for WBA World lightweight title

Campbell came into the fight with Ryan, having lost his previous bout against Vasily Lomachenko in 2019.

Ryan Garcia

It wasn’t as bad for Campbell to lose to the former three-division world champion Loachenko as it was to get beaten by a non-champion like Ryan, who still up and coming and hasn’t captured a world title.

Campbell fought well against Ryan, knocking him down in the second round, and making it competitive in the first four rounds. Things started to unravel for Luke in the sixth when he was badly hurt by a left hook from Garcia.

The shot from Ryan caused Campbell to stagger and turn his back to Ryan while against the ropes.

We saw a similar situation with Kubrat Pulev turning his back to IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in the third round of their fight on December 12th.

Where to now for Luke Campbell?

It was all downhill for Campbell from that point, as he was pounded by Ryan until getting stopped in the seventh round from a left-hand body shot

“What happens to Luke Campbell after this. He’s 33-years-old, valiant performance, fought hard, dropped Ryan Garcia, but just didn’t have enough to withstand the power assault Ryan Garcia put on him,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN. “Where does he go from here?”

“You know, sadly, that’s one of these fighters that is never going to win a world championship, and I’m going to say that now because this was his last hoorah and chance to win a championship at 33-years-old,” said Sergio Mora about Luke Campbell.

“He’s got incredible, incredible talent. He won the Olympic gold medal, no one has ever been able to do that. And he fought Lomachenko in his prime, he fought Linares.

“He came up short every single time, and now he’s come up short yet again against a fighter [Ryan Garcia] that isn’t even a champion. I think this was the end of Luke Campbell’s championship career.”

Campbell tried hard to get up from the knockdown in the seventh round, but he was incapacitated from the pain. With the body shot that Ryan hit him with, it would take more than a ten count for Campbell to recover.

Campbell wasn’t expecting Ryan to throw a body shot when he was backing up while being attacked. Luke had his right hand up to protect his head, and Ryan took advantage of this by shooting a left hook to his midsection.

That was it. Campbell went down and couldn’t get back up to resume fighting. It probably wouldn’t have mattered if Campbell had beaten the count, as he was fading at that point in the fight.

The writing was on the wall, and it was only a matter of time before Ryan knocked him out with one of his left hooks.

Campbell’s only chance would have been if he went all out for a knockout, but he wasn’t fighting to win. He was too defensive at that point in the fight.

It’s not the end for Campbell

“I wouldn’t say it’s the end,” continued Mannix about Campbell. “I think he’ll probably need to go back to the domestic level for a little while anyway and fight some fights over in the UK ad rebuild after a loss like this.

Ryan Garcia

“We both know we’re in the ‘belts are everywhere division,’ and at some point, if Teofio Lopez has them, he’s going to vacate them and move up to 140 pounds.

“Luke Campbell could decide to move up to 140 pounds when those belts could come available at some point after the unification fight between [Jose] Ramirez and Josh Taylor. I think it may take some time, but I still think Luke Campbell has a shot at becoming a world champion.”

“I hope you’re right because he deserves it,” said Mora about Campbell deserving to win a world title before his career is over.

Moving up to 140 would only make sense for Luke after the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO light welterweight titles are relinquished by the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez fight winner.

Taylor and Ramirez will be meeting up in a unification fight in 2021. Both guys are then expected to move up to 147 shortly aft their match, which will free up the four 140-lb titles.

Ryan Garcia

Aside from that, it wouldn’t be a smart move for Campbell to move up to light welterweight because he doesn’t match-up against those two fighters.

 

It was always going to be a long shot for Campbell against Ryan Garcia, as he was going up against one of the biggest punchers in the 135-lb division.

For Campbell to have stood a chance of beating Ryan, he needed a different game plan. If Campbell had gone all out for the knockout from the opening bell, he would have stood a better chance of winning than for him to invested his time into trying to box.

Ryan’s body shot was too impactful

“Luke Campbell got up in the 11th round, down on the scorecards pretty significantly against Vasily Lomachenko, it just shows you how impactful that shot was that he couldn’t get up from,” said Mannix about Campbell’s body shot knockout in the seventh against Ryan Garcia.

“I think it has the possibility, maybe even the likelihood, of attracting fans that may not have watched boxing before,” Mannix said about Ryan bringing in the casual fans to begin following the sport.

“I’m talking about teenage, Ryan Garcia fans that are following him on Instagram, that are learning about prize-fighting and professional boxing for the first time. He can bring in that audience like no fighter up to this point has done before.”

“Officially, this is the WBC mandatory, but that’s meaningless. Ryan Garcia could have fought Devin Haney whenever he wanted to. He is now the shot-caller in the 135-pound division.

“He may not be the man in the 135-pound division yet, but with the popularity that Ryan Garcia has, you can decide what you want to do next.

“I’m going to go out on the limb because of his popularity, Ryan Garcia, the viewership is through the roof,” said Mora. “That’s one lean, mean pretty boy right there.”

“The crown is on his head but when will the gold be around his waist?” said Todd Grisham about Ryan Garcia.




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