By: Hans Themistode
Luke Campbell has been hit with some hard shots during his career. None however, have left him as debilitated as Ryan Garcia’s left hook to the body did last night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Before Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) drilled his man in the seventh round of their contest, Campbell appeared to be just fine. Outside of the fifth round where he was visibly hurt, the lightweight contender had his poker face on for most of the night.
Still, even as he kept a straight face as Garcia’s shots zipped past his face and occasionally found a home, Campbell admitted that the shot that ultimately ended the night, as well as those that came before it, were unlike anything he’s ever felt.
“He’s very heavy-handed,” said Campbell following his defeat. “Even when I was blocking the shots, I could feel them. That was the hardest shot I was ever hit with. I was having a good round in the seventh, but that was just a fantastic body shot. I was ready to attack again and he just timed the punch perfectly. I wanted to beat the count but just couldn’t.”
Campbell, 33, has grown accustomed to hitting the deck during the course of his career. After all, he found himself there in showdowns against Vasiliy Lomachenko, Algenis Mendez, Jorge Linares and Yvan Mendy.
Yet, no matter how many times the British native fell, he always dusted himself off and continued to fight. Nevertheless, his resiliency went by the wayside the moment Garcia landed his picture-perfect body shot.
“I tried and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. I felt him coming on, and I was moving back. When you move back my body relaxed a little bit and that’s the exact time he hit me.”
The agony etched on Campbell’s face was a stark difference from the one that displayed pure confidence just a few rounds before. After a fairly even opening round, Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) connected with a left hook which sent his man to the deck for the first time in his career. To the credit of Garcia, he bounced right back as if nothing ever happened.
For Campbell, the shot that landed Garcia on the seat of his pants had the full force of his power behind it. So while he stood in his corner and watched Garcia rise back to his feet, Campbell almost couldn’t believe it.
“He did so well to get up from the shot in the second round. I felt that through my arm and knew it was a beauty but all credit to him. He got up and showed he’s got real heart.”