Written by Tré Berry III | 07/31/2021
In the 2012 London Olympic Games, 🇬🇧“Cool Hand” Luke Campbell (20-4-0, 16KO) became a local legend, and did it in style, as he won an ◯◯◯◯◯Olympic Gold-Medal on his countries soil. Upon turning professional in 2013, he had an interesting run in a good sense, and was a fun ride while it lasted. Though he unfortunately never won a world title in the pros, he shouldn’t be looked at as an underachiever on the pro level, and I will give an insight as to why that shouldn’t be the narrative to his career.
The most intriguing thing about Luke Campbell is that he won his Gold-Medal in the “Bantamweight” division, but given his height at that age, he was forced to campaign at a much higher weight as he outgrew his natural division, and the Lightweight division is ultimately where he settled at, four divisions heavier than where he operated within his comfort zone as an amateur.
It rarely happens to where physical dimensions forces a fighter out of the divisions where he achieved the pinnacle prize in, but it happened in Campbell’s case. That tidbit of him campaigning at a much higher weight class is noted, because even though his personal punching power had translated well to the higher weight, his punch resistance was ultimately his achilles-heel from 135 lb. opponents, which put him at a disadvantage against the best.
Speaking of the best…it has to be noted that Campbell traveled the hardest road upon his pursuit of winning a world title, and didn’t have it nearly as easy as others who were spoon-fed a lesser opponent towards winning said title. Cool Hand Luke ultimately faced a prime version of 🇻🇪Jorge Linares, who was undoubtedly a great fighter, and was the Ring-Magazine Champion of the Lightweight division. Luke fell slightly short in his pursuit in a close fight, but did prove that he could hang with the best of them despite the close loss.
His second crack at it, he had to go up against an all-time-great talent in 🇺🇦Vasiliy Lomachenko, who was at the zenith of his skills. Campbell, though he was dominated, had a couple of moments that gained him further respect, as he had once again proved his level, though he did not walk home with the 4 belts that were on the table for that particular bout. There was nothing to hang his head over at all in that fight, considering that he had fought perhaps the best fighter in the world at that point.
His following fight, he battled with 🇺🇸Ryan Garcia, who although a polarizing figure considering his dedication to the sport, and quarrels about him not going about it the proper way in his pursuit – is without a doubt a very talented fighter, whose gifts have been honed by new Trainer Eddy Reynoso.
Luke managed to knock Garcia down, but he couldn’t keep him down, and unfortunately, power once again dispensed of Luke – this time by a body-shot en route to the knockout, thus his chance at obtaining an “Interim” belt were dashed, as well as his path to a world title. Though that was the case, Campbell has to be commended for showcasing guts and heart during his time in the pro ranks, and never cheated himself, the process, or the sport in general.
If you look over the landscape of fans & writers today upon the big news that he dropped on us on July 30th, you will notice an overwhelming surge of respect for his efforts, with very minimal backdrop in a negative sense, and that is something that he can hang his hat on whenever he recollects on his career as time passes, and he ages, while he tells his future grandchildren his boxing stories, and chronicles his journey.