Boxing’s big fight this weekend has the best in the world Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1; 10 KO) in action when he faces Luke Campbell (20-2; 16 KO). Lomachenko will be defending his WBA, WBO, and Ring Lightweight (140 lbs.) titles, and the winner also claims the vacant WBC belt. Lomachenko vs. Campbell is presented by Top Rank live from London. The show takes place this Saturday, August 31 and airs live on ESPN+ with a fight time of 1:00 p.m. ET.
- The credentials - OK, let’s run through the list. Two time Olympic gold medalist. 396-1 amateur record. Only one pro loss, which came in his 2nd fight. Became a world champion in his 3rd fight. Three division world champ. #1 pound for pound. There’s just no one in the sport who can compare on paper.
- Lightweight career - It was in May 2018 that Loma stepped up to 140 lbs. He’s 3-0 since, all against strong opponents. But I can’t shake the feeling that he has looked just a little less perfect. He was dropped by Linares and Pedraza took him the distance. At the same time, that feels a little bit like picking nits - he’s still truly incredible, even if it is just the smallest degree less truly incredible.
- Commey - There’s not too much else for Loma at 140 lbs, after this fight, aside from one big name: Richard Commey. Commey is the IBF champ, and should Loma win here, he’ll be the one man between Lomachenko and total unification. Commey is a Top Rank fighter, so in theory, that shouldn’t be a tough fight to make. In theory.
- Olympic Gold - Like Loma, Campbell is an Olympic Gold medalist, winning Gold in London in 2012. That adds an interesting story to this fight and could provide some challenges for Loma. Of course, the last time he fought a fellow Gold, it was Guillermo Rigondeaux, and, well, that was brutal.
- Natural Lightweight - Loma is fighting outside his normal weight, but for Campbell, 140 has always been his home. He’ll bring in a 2” height and 6” reach advantage, and will almost surely try to use that to keep Loma at bay and outside.
- 2nd chance - Campbell has had one prior shot at Lightweight gold when he took on Linares in 2017. He lost that fight on a close split decision. Since then, Linares dropped the belts to Lomachenko, and Campbell went 3-0 to get back here.
- Hometown crowd - A British fighter, Campbell will have the support of the always highly vocal O2 crowd. They will be hot for everything he does.
What else is on the card?
- Hughie Fury (23-2; 13 KO) vs. Alexander Povetkin (34-2; 24 KO) - This is a very nice Heavyweight fight. Povetkin is, yes, an Olympic Gold medalist, and he’s been right near the top of the division for quite some time. He’s never quite made it to the very top, and now at 39 and returning from a year long absence after his loss to Anthony Joshua, it’s really now or never. Fury is the cousin to Tyson, and while he doesn’t quite have Tyson’s resume, he’s a very good fighter. Twice he’s had a top 10 opponent (Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulev) and both times he’s lost. So it’s a major fight for both men.
No offense to Campbell, but Lomachenko is just too good. His movement, his angles, his ability to hit and then disappear - it’s all such incredible high-level stuff. I can see him taking it a bit slow here though as he works through Campbell’s reach, and Campbell is a strong technical fighter who should be able to avoid getting overwhelmed. So I could easily see this going the distance, with Loma outpointing Campbell more and more as the fight progresses. Overall, with a chance to watch the best in the world do his thing plus a high quality Heavyweight fight with big stakes, this is a card to check out.
Prediction: Vasiliy Lomachenko, UD