Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell square off on Saturday (ESPN+, 5 p.m. ET) for three of boxing's four lightweight world titles. It's a battle between two Olympic champions, with each looking to further secure his legacy.
Jorge Linares and Timothy Bradley Jr. are two men who have unique viewpoints on this battle. Linares fought both Lomachenko and Campbell, losing to the former and defeating the latter. Bradley, a former world titleholder in two divisions, has studied both of these men extensively in his preparation to call the fight on ESPN+ on Saturday.
How do each of them see this playing out?
Bradley: It's a good stylistic matchup. Campbell is a taller fighter. Both of these guys are southpaws, so it's going to be an interesting battle because I really haven't seen Loma fight against another southpaw. We've seen Loma's advantage against orthodox fighters, right-handed fighters, but you've rarely seen Loma fight against a natural southpaw.
Stylistically, looking at the fight, I think that Luke Campbell is tailor-made for a fighter like Lomachenko. Campbell has that eastern European type of style, keeping his head right in the middle all the time, really no flex and no bend at the waist. He doesn't move his head a whole lot. It's just going to be target practice for Lomachenko.
Linares: I'll be following that fight very closely. I've faced those two guys in the past. It's a very interesting fight. Lomachenko is a bit faster than Campbell. Campbell is a little bit taller, and he uses his reach very well.
I think the length and reach are going to be a test for Lomachenko for the first three or four rounds because Lomachenko likes to fight up close -- short. Lomachenko will probably not go to the head but to the body.
Lomachenko finishes Linares with liver shot
Vasiliy Lomachenko levels Jorge Linares with a devastating left hand to the liver, and the fight is called in the 10th round.
Bradley: Luke Campbell loves to stay on the outside and control distance. He doesn't fight that well with the back foot -- it's kind of weird. His defense is terrible off the back foot. All he does is keep his hands up, and that's from all those amateur fights.
Lomachenko has figured out this pro system since losing that split decision to Orlando Salido, and being the master of his craft, he knows what he has to do. He moves his head, he gets his head off the line, and he uses angles.
Lomachenko is just so smart that he's two to three steps ahead of guys. They don't even realize it. They have no clue what he's doing to them. He's basically like a python that wraps around you and basically sucks the life out of you. He suffocates you. Loma puts so much pressure on you, and then he keeps you busy by keeping his hands moving, keeping his head moving.
His legs are ferocious too. He gets around you. He's in front of you, then he's on the side of you, then he's back in front of you, and then he's letting his hands go, and he's touching you. Just like pressing buttons, he's just touching you, touching you, touching you, getting you to do exactly what he wants you to do. And then once he downloads all the information he needs to know about you, it's over.
Linares: The toughest thing about fighting Campbell is after the knockdown. He got better after I knocked him down in Round 2, and I could only hit him with the straight right and really nothing with the jab. He's a really crafty boxer. His length was a little bit of a problem for me, and from the knockdown to the end of the fight, it was a pretty even fight.
Lomachenko never hurt me up top but actually got me to the body. I think if we do it again, knowing that he likes going to the body would make it a very interesting fight.
How can Lomachenko win?
Bradley: In the beginning, Luke Campbell is going to try to establish distance and keep the fight outside. But Loma is going to put that pressure on him, and he's going to figure him out. If Luke Campbell can't make any adjustments -- either by pressing the fight or making any kind of adjustments -- he's going to be in trouble.
Lomachenko is going to line up shots to the body to slow Campbell down and see how he reacts. As soon as Lomachenko sees Campbell step straight back with his hands up, he's going to know what he needs to do.
Linares: Lomachenko has the mentality of a fighter, number one. His lateral movement is a problem for other fighters. Just him being so smart, being an Olympic fighter, that was the difference. Going to the body will definitely be Lomachenko's plan.
How can Campbell win?
Campbell feels no pressure ahead of Lomachenko bout
Luke Campbell says he must focus on himself rather than Vasiliy Lomachenko ahead of their title fight in London. For more Top Rank Boxing, sign up here for ESPN+ https://plus.espn.com/.
Bradley: Campbell is going to have to make adjustments. He has been fighting the same way since he was an amateur, and he's hasn't really come up with any real new tricks or special effects. He's straight up and down, straight up and down with quickness. Campbell might try to go forward and try to outwork Lomachenko.
He doesn't have the punching power needed to keep Lomachenko off of him. And he's not going to outbox Loma, so he's just going to have to fight him.
Linares: Campbell wins this fight by unanimous decision if he uses his long reach, which troubled me for some rounds. Not only does he need to use his reach, but he also has to stay extremely active for the entire fight. The rounds where I beat Loma happened when I was active and went after him.
Campbell cannot just wait for Lomachenko to come after him and wait in the center of the ring. And he should never be on the ropes. I can tell you one thing, though: Campbell has a great chance of winning, and don't be shocked if he puts Lomachenko down like I did.
Bradley: I don't think this fight goes the distance. I think Lomachenko stops Campbell because defensively, like I said, he keeps his head in the middle, hands straight up. Lomachenko loves the guys who put their hands straight up in front of them. He's able to use his angles to get around them and blind them with shots, kind of like Manny Pacquaio. That relentless pressure that Lomachenko's going to put on Luke Campbell -- Luke Campbell's not going to have an answer for that.
Linares: Just from fighting both of them, I think that it will be an interesting fight. I think Lomachenko will take it by decision. I most definitely want the winner. I'm fighting at 135 again, and after my fight, I'm looking for one of those two guys.