By Kenneth Friedman: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn was a little perturbed on Wednesday when the British fans cheered more for Vasiliy Lomachenko than they did for the hometown boy Luke Campbell during the media workouts at York Hall in London.
(Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing)
Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) was treated like a superstar by the Boxing fans. Hearn later said that the crowd probably had a lot of Ukrainian fans, and they were doing the cheering. Hearn says he wants Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) to knockout WBA/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko, and take his spot in the pound-for-pound list.
Campbell could have made more money fighting Lomachenko in U.S
Hearn revealed that the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Campbell turned down bigger money to face Lomachenko in the U.S in order to fight him in the UK. The thoughts are that Campbell would have a better shot at beating Lomachenko in England than overseas.
Hearn disturbed by British fans cheering Lomachenko
“There were a lot of Brits cheering for Lomachenko, which is a bit disturbing, because we need them to get behind Luke Campbell on Saturday,” said Hearn to Fighthype about the public workout by Loma on Wednesday. “You can’t disrespect greatness. The Brits don’t do it, because they’re fight fans, and they appreciated greatness. This is one of those moments where the true pound-for-pound #1 will be performing in the UK in once in a lifetime. It ain’t going to happen again.
You’ve seen Ali and Hagler. It’s the same. Those were the best in their generation. Lomachenko is the best in his generation. That’s why it’s sold out. That’s why everyone is going to be watching, because they know this is the best of the best. We’ve got our boy [Luke Campbell] trying to cause the biggest upset in British Boxing history. He’s a quality fighter Luke Campbell, so don’t write him out completely. He’s got no pressure on his shoulders. This is the Lomachenko show,” said Hearn.
What Hearn didn’t touch on in discussing his theory on why the British fans were cheering Lomachenko is the fact Campbell isn’t very popular. For some reason, Campbell’s career hasn’t taken off where he’s become a huge star like Anthony Joshua despite both guys winning gold medals in the 2012 Olympics. Campbell isn’t even as popular as Amir Khan. Perhaps the lightweight division isn’t avidly followed by most fans in the UK.
Campbell isn’t in awe of Lomachenko
“If Luke Campbell is going to win this fight, he’s going to do it here,” said Hearn. “He’s not going to do it here rather than America. If Luke Campbell had no chance in this fight, he probably wouldn’t have bothered. I would have taken it to America, and let him earn more money. He could have made more money taking the fight to America, but he chose to fight here for less money. He believes he’s got a chance to win it here. He’s got to have a piece of brilliance to beat Lomachenko.
Sometimes when you go in with a great, you’re in awe, and have lost even before you go in. That’s not the case, because he doesn’t feel that way about Lomachenko. He knows he’s brilliant, but he’s just known him for too long. So if your backing a guy in this fight, you’re backing Lomachenko. Of course you are. But if you want value for money, you’re backing Luke Campbell,” said Hearn.
It might have been smarter for Campbell to have gone for the money by fighting Lomachenko in the United States, because he’s such an underdog. There’s always a chance that Campbell can win the fight with a lucky shot, but it’s not likely. With the fight taking place in the UK, Campbell’s best shot at winning is if t goes to the scorecards. He could get lucky with the judges. We’ve seen that happen before. Further, if there’s a referee that stops the fight prematurely like the one that halted the Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam fight in the 10th round in 2017. Takam was still fighting back, and looked fine at the time the contest was halted.
Hearn: I want to see Lomachenko get knocked out
“I don’t think there’s too many people in Boxing that aren’t saying that Luke Campbell is one of the best lightweights in the world,” said Hearn. “And stylistically, this is probably one of the toughest fights for Lomachenko out there in the division. Does that mean he’s going to lose the fight against Campbell? We’ll see. I’m not interested in watching Lomachenko dazzle and razzle at the O2. I want to see him get knocked out. That’s what I want to see. Luke Campbell will put it on the line, because this is his chance. Not to just win a world title, but to unify the division, and for him to go on the pound-for-pound list,” said Hearn.
A knockout is Campbell’s best chance of winning this fight, and he has to know that. He says he can win a decision, but he might be kidding himself. Campbell won’t out-box a skilled ring technician like Lomachenko on Saturday. He needs to swinging for the fences, and hope that Lomachenko walks into a shot the way he did in his fight against Jorge Linares last year. Campbell hits harder than Linares, and he’s got much better size. He needs to use his big size advantage to overpower Lomachenko.