Tonight, two of the best lightweight boxers in the world go head to head in a bout that could define both their careers. Former ESPN prospect of the year Ryan Garcia (20-0) had been deemed a â€œpretty boyâ€ by the boxing community, but he faces the toughest task of his young career tonight when he goes against a hungry vet in Luke Campbell. Campbell (20-3) is fighting to avenge his last loss, over a year ago, against Vasyl Lomachenko. With so much on the line for both men, with one of the two becoming a mandatory challenger for Devin Haneyâ€™s world title, this bout is sure to be full of fireworks. Here are the keys for each fighter to come out with their hand raised at the end of the evening.
Ryan Garcia: Pick His Punches
To this point, Garciaâ€™s last two bouts both ended with quick first-round knockouts. With an 85% knockout percentage, in fact, his last fight to go over 2 rounds was in 2018. Garcia has lightning-quick speed and a left hook that still gives Romero Duno and Francisco Fonseca nightmares. Garcia needs to stay calm, though, and I donâ€™t doubt he will be able to.
Despite his flashy persona, Garcia has been relatively quiet and collected in camp. Heâ€™s been all business in the way heâ€™s collected himself and trained, but will that carry over into tonightâ€™s bout? My best guess is yes. Garcia needs to listen to one of the best in the business, and his trainer, Eddie Reynoso, and just pick his shots. Campbell tends to fight with his hands down at times, and Garcia noticed that in the south pawâ€™s style when he did a preview with DAZN for the bout. Garcia looked almost giddy when he saw the opportunities he would capitalize on for a knockout.
One thing with Garcia in this bout that is concerning is his lack of distance in his career. Heâ€™s not gone the distance in a long time, and Campbell has the heart of a lion. If he canâ€™t put Campbell away, and the fight wears on, Campbell may have a chance. Otherwise, if Garcia can pick his shots and incorporate some body shots as well, the bout could be over quickly.
Luke Campbell: Stay â€œCoolâ€/Donâ€™t Get Overwhelmed
Luke â€œcool handâ€ Campbell needs to stay poised in this bout. The veteran has gone the distance with one of the best in Loma. The thing is, Ryan Garcia is one of the fastest young punchers in the sport right now. Garcia tends to hit his opponents so quickly and with such ferocity that they tend to get discombobulated, and then, itâ€™s over.
Campbell can win this fight by being prepared. If he is ready to go against Garcia and eat those quick and fiery shots, he could make this go the distance. As I said before, the longer this fight goes, the more the odds change. Campbell needs to stay calm, cool, and collected if he wants to win this bout. That doesnâ€™t mean he canâ€™t be that passionate and heartfelt fighter that boxing fans know and love, but he needs to not let that fog his judgment. If he does let that fog his judgment, heâ€™ll be laying on the mat.
Prediction: Garcia by KO in Round 4
I think that Garcia is ultimately more ready for this bout physically and mentally. I just hope for his sake he doesnâ€™t overlook the task ahead of him in Campbell. Campbell is scrappy and will give his heart and soul to win this bout. Both men need this win but whoever is more prepared and more poised wins this bout. I think Garcia ends it with his traditional quick punch knockout, but Campbell is definitely an upset candidate.