By: Sean Crose
“I probably cried once a day. I had to try and shut feelings off.” So lightweight contender Luke Campbell told the BBC after his WBA title loss on Saturday night to Jorge Linares at the Forum in Inglewood, California. “After the fight” the Englishman added, “I had a good cry.” The source of Campbell’s pain was the passing of his father, Bernard, who died of cancer just two short weeks before the Linares fight. Campbell kept the news of Bernard’s passing a secret, so as not to give Linares the impression he wasn’t emotionally ready to present a legitimate challenge.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
“I didn’t want Linares’ camp thinking it was a weakness,” the 17-2 fighter claimed. “I didn’t want them thinking I was hurt.” Campbell was in training camp in the United States when Bernard passed in the British city of Hull. The funeral for the elder Campbell will be held this coming Thursday. Although soldiering on in the midst of a parent’s death was difficult for Campbell to do, the East Yorkshire native felt it was what Bernard would have wanted of him. Indeed, Campbell made it clear that he feels his father would be pleased, even though he lost a nearly controversial decision to Linares on Saturday night.
Campbell, a former Olympic medalist, gave the respected Linares a true run for his money this past weekend. Although clearly the underdog, the taller southpaw got up from a knockdown and proved able to frustrate Linares with effective punching throughout the fight. Campbell wasn’t able to take away Linares’ WBA title, but he certainly earned the respect of the live HBO audience – an impressive takeaway for any fighter. “I think I shut a lot of mouths,” Campbell told the BBC, “and I thought I actually won the fight.”
Linares admitted that the leadup to the bout wasn’t easy for him, with many not giving him much of a chance to beat Linares. Enduring the naysayers while losing his father on the eve of the biggest match of his career proved to be quite the challenge. Campbell, however, rose to the occasion, as he has been known to do since his amateur days. The fighter once told England’s Mirror that boxing saved him from his own less than promising youth. “Boxing teaches you discipline,” he said, “and without that it was only a matter of time before I got myself into trouble with the police.”
What’s To Be Done About Angel Garcia?
By: Sean Crose
What can be done with the likes of Angel Garcia? The father and trainer of WBC welterweight champ Danny Garcia has proven himself to be a menace to the sport of boxing. Sure, you can say the word menace is hyperbole, but how else to explain a man who disrupts a major press conference with vitriol and behavior that, to the untrained eye at least, appears less than stable? That’s the thing about the elder Garcia – he’s either a complete ass or he’s unstable. There really is no in-between. And frankly, neither option is acceptable in the public sphere.
Truth be told, it’s painful to write about the man in this age of political correctness run amok. At a time when there is a serious belief that the First Amendment is a bad thing instead of the key to freedom it is, the last thing reasonable people should want to do is criticize someone for speaking out. Yet the elder Garcia gives us no choice. Yes, he has the right to say what he wants. No one (or, at least not this author) is arguing that fact. Yet people also have a First Amendment right to call him out for acting in a wildly inappropriate manner. And yeah, the WBC has a right to ban the man from further press conferences, as well as from his son’s corner in WBC sanctioned fights.
In all honesty, I’m still not sure exactly what Garcia was getting at when he went wild at last week’s press conference to announce the welterweight title unifier between his son and the undefeated Keith Thurman. Nor do I know if the man made sense or not. I heard a lot of derogatory stuff, though. I also saw the guy totally obliterate a major press conference that, for all intents and purposes, should have been very good for boxing. Garcia-Thurman is a major bout to be aired on network television in primetime, after all. In other words, it’s just what boxing needs.
What boxing most certainly doesn’t need is a major participant, peripheral or not, engaging in antisocial behavior in a public setting. Mike Tyson’s well documented meltdown hurt the sport – believe it. While the “Iron Mike” of the late 80s through early 90s brought the sport intense interest, the later, ear-biting, vile talking Tyson turned fans off. In other words, the sport can’t afford an unhinged Angel Garcia. Sanctioning bodies, networks and even analysts have to be responsible here.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that things like trash talk need to go by the way side. You don’t have to be a fan of what used to be called talking smack to understand its effectiveness. Trash talk is, after all, psychological warfare. And psychological warfare has been a part of boxing since at least 1890s, when it was practiced by “Gentleman Jim” Corbett. There’s a difference, though, between trash talk and legitimately chaotic behavior. Boxing is chaotic enough. If anything, more order is needed, not less. If he’s able to appreciate the difference, the senior Garcia should grasp the fact that hyping a fight and pissing off decent society are two entirely different things.