With Victory a Near Certainty, the Better Question is How will Lomachenko Beat Campbell?

by 11 months ago

Presented in partnership with ESPN+

Even as a -2500 favorite heading into his lightweight title fight on ESPN+ on Saturday, August 31, Vasyl Lomachenko has his work cut out for him.

A heavy, heavy favorite to beat challenger Luke Campbell and add the WBC title to his existing collection of WBA, WBO, and The Ring belts, Lomachenko is a near-lock to win his thirteenth straight bout. Although, crazy things do have a way of happening in the boxing ring. I mean a school teacher once beat Manny Pacquiao and “Buster” Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, so really anything’s possible.

The threat of an upset is always a reason to tune in for a great boxing match, but they always need to be a strong A-side to every story, and Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is that highlight reel of an athlete who commands attention and an audience — always.

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Sure, Campbell does own height and reach advantage on the diminutive Lomachenko. Campbell also owns an Olympic gold medal, a 20-2 professional record, and 16 wins by knockout, but who are we kidding, he’s really a lamb for slaughter, a sacrifice served up by the boxing gods so that we can watch one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world rip punches down the middle and dance all over the pocket with the most impressive footwork the sport of pugilism has ever seen.

So, while some people are wondering IF Campbell can beat Lomachenko on ESPN+ on Saturday afternoon (the action all goes down at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 2:00 p.m. on the West Coast), the better question to ask is “how will Lomachenko win?”

Known for his speed, footwork, and even his power (seriously, “Hi-Tech” is the full package), Lomachenko isn’t always a shoo-in for a knockout. In fact, during his 13-fight pro career, he’s only recorded five knockouts. Interestingly enough though, he’s only had three fights go to decision. That’s because Lomachenko often beats upon his opponents so badly that they’re forced to retire on the stool, unable to make it out for another round of action, or the referee has seen enough and calls an end to it.

I mean, if you were getting thoroughly whooped for 18 minutes, who you voluntarily walk out to the center of the ring for another round of beating? Former two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux didn’t think so. He only lasted six rounds with Lomachenko when they fought in 2017.

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Campbell has never been knocked out, having only lost twice as a pro, with both defeats coming via split decision, one of which he avenged last year. But the other loss came against Jorge Linares, a guy who Lomachenko busted up for 10 rounds before sealing the deal with a right hook to the body. That last punch may have been the one that sent Linares to the canvas, but in actuality, Lomachenko was thoroughly kicking his butt, with absolutely stunning combinations.

This type of math doesn’t necessarily equate in boxing, but it’s not a very good sign for Campbell, who will have the hometown advantage on Saturday.

Lomachenko, who hails from Ukraine, has never actually fought as a professional in his homeland, so the road trip shouldn’t be too much of an issue for a fighter who tops many pound-for-pound lists by boxing insiders. This bout in London is actually meant to bring Lomachenko to a new audience and build his star power to a global icon level.

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And, if Lomachenko wants the attention and the fame that more popular boxers like Canelo, Ruiz, Crawford, and Fury receive, he’ll need to put on a dazzling display on Saturday, at the O2 Arena in London, where a win will be imperative, but a knockout will go a lot further towards educating the masses on the wizardry of one of boxing’s pound-for-pound great.

Watch Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko fight “Cool Hand” Luke Campbell on Saturday, August 31, live on ESPN+.

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