Betfair's boxing expert Frankie Monkhouse fancies Luke Campbell to upset the odds this weekend in California...
"I’ve mentioned the positives that exist for Linares backers, and the reason the market strongly supports him, but I’m having my stake money on plucky underdog Luke Campbell."
We have a massive weekend ahead for British boxing, with two fighters challenging for world titles, in two different weight divisions. Hughie Fury challenges Joseph Parker for the WBO heavyweight title in Manchester, before Luke Campbell goes stateside in an attempt to wrestle the WBA strap from Jorge Linares.
Defending champion Linares starts as a solid favourite to get the better of the fighting pride of Hull, but I fancy the upset here, and I've spoken to many in the fight game who are thinking along the same lines. If we're right, that spells a big win for punters.
Linares boasts an impressive record vs Brits
strong>Jorge Linares, 32-year-old, is no stranger to beating British fighters, and followers of the domestic scene will remember the man dubbed Golden Boy from that thrill-a-minute 10th round TKO win over Kevin Mitchell at the 02 Arena in 2015. The Venezuelan also banked a couple of positive results in his last two, beating Anthony Crolla at the Manchester Arena last summer, courtesy of a tight points win, before confirming the decision earlier this year, beating the same man at the same venue in rather more convincing style in March.
Linares, based in Tokyo, Japan, stands with a record of 42 wins against three defeats, with each of those negatives ending inside the distance. The champion was first taken out in a round by Mexican Juan Carlos Salgado in 2009, before going down to Salgado's countryman Antonio DeMarco in 11 for the WBC title and then Sergio Thompson in two next time out. Yes, another Mexican opponent.
That gives the handlers of Linares a simple job - keep their man away from Mexicans, push him towards Brits, and he'll keep winning. Fair enough? Of course not, but the sportsbook has him as a 1/4 jolly to do the business on Saturday in California, and [1.31] on the exchange. Each of his last two have been settled on points, both vs Crolla, and him winning over the judges again is 23/10, while a 28th career KO trades at 4/5, both prices available on the sportsbook.
Campbell won four of last five by KO
That's my little bit of housekeeping done. I've mentioned the positives that exist for Linares backers, and the reason the market strongly supports him, but I'm having my stake money on plucky underdog Luke Campbell. Linares boasts 27 fights more experience, but Campbell goes as the fresher man, coming into this contest three years younger, and on an upward curve.
The 29-year-old from Hull doesn't boast the perfect record many expected of him when he got to world title level, but we all knew he would get there, sooner or later. The popular southpaw lost a split decision to Yvan Mendy for a WBC International, down once during that 2015 contest, but he hasn't allowed defeat to derail his progress. Since that surprise loss to Mendy in London, on the undercard of Anthony Joshua-Dillian Whyte, Campbell has won each of his five since, starting with the 2nd round TKO of former British champion Gary Sykes, and ending with a 9th round TKO win vs Columbian Darleys Perez.
Of his five comeback cheers, Campbell has claimed four by KO/TKO. Another night off for the judges is [6.0], but you can forget about the Brit picking up a points verdict, according to Betfair traders, who offer 17/2 (sportsbook). Want to keep it simple and avoid the method of victory market? I wouldn't blame you, and there's enough to get excited about in the away win at [4.4]. Following last week's controversy, we've got to mention the draw price - [25.0]
Cool hand Luke up to the challenge
There's no doubting Linares is a fantastic champion, with a reputation as a man we should be keeping close, but I can't get over the way Kevin Mitchell was giving him nightmares - dropping him to the canvas in the fifth - before falling apart. Crolla also gave the champ plenty to think about first time and I made the rematch a lot closer than the scores had it that night. In my opinion, Luke Campbell is a more technically gifted boxer than both.
Therefore, I'm advising a bet on the better price, and we go Campbell upset win at [4.5]. The younger man carries plenty of power and won't take long to find the target and settle into his stride. I don't think it's needed, but if you wanted to push your luck, I wouldn't put anyone off Campbell by KO/TKO at [6.0].