By Danny Z | Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — In his first time headlining an HBO Boxing card, Jorge Linares was able to outlast London’s Luke Cambell and retain his lightweight world title.
The first round was a traditional feeling out round, as the action was sporadic throughout the three minutes. Linares, 32, however, was able to find openings for counter shots that showcased his quickness and speed. In the second, Linares connected with a three punch combination that sent Cambell on his rear end. Cambell, who won Olympic gold in 2012, rose to one knee, but did look to be hurt. Nevertheless, he was able to survive the remainder of the round and make it back to his corner after some cheering from his ringside fans.
The second round punishment opened up a cut under the 29-year-old Cambell’s (17-2, 14 KOs) right eye and Linares, naturally, begin to focus his punches on the wound. The following three rounds saw both fighters trading back and forth, but Linares was still able to land the cleaner, more effective shots. In the fifth, Cambell’s ringside fans rose to their feet in hopes of charging up the U.K. fighter, but the Linares’ fanatics began chants of their own in response.
Cambell began finding his success throughout the half way point of the scheduled 12-round bout, and the competitiveness of the matchup increased. In the seventh round of action, Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) looked to have lost his footing and turned around slowly as if a timeout was called. Cambell attempted to capitalize on the reduced attention of Linares by throwing a sweeping right hand that, if connected, would have likely inflicted much damage. But, the right hand did not connect as Linares was just out of range of the potential punch.
“I fought very well. I’m happy with the fight. At the fifth round, we had some trouble but we came out on top,” Linares said. “Trust me, I have a great connection with my team and with my trainer, so we worked hard and kept at it. I knew I had to let the dogs out.”
As the final round began and both fighters embraced, Cambell, who was finding some success with his jab in the latter half of the fight, remained compact in his style and threw shots until conclusion. Linares was still finding purpose behind his counters, but not on the level that he maintained during the initial rounds. His [Linares’] patented uppercut did not make too many appearances throughout the bout, as Cambell seemed prepared for it coming in. As the final bell sounded indicating the end of the fight, the scores of 115-113, 114-113 and 115-112 were read — all for Linares, who retained his 135 pound world title.
‘No one can ever doubt my hard work. Yea I got off to a rocky start, he caught me in the eye,” a disappointed Cambell said. “A nice shot that put me on the mat. But I had to fight, I had to get focused. I didn’t think he was landing any shots whatsoever in the second half.”
After the close decision was read, Max Kellerman of HBO Boxing asked Linares who he would like to face next and the name came as no surprise to audience in the crowd.
“We want Mikey Garcia next,” Linares said.