The legendary Bernard Hopkins has warned Luke Campbell not to underestimate the untested but unbeaten Ryan Garcia when they collide in a fascinating crossroads fight in Dallas on Saturday night.
In a match that has captivated the boxing public, the flashy Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) will face his toughest examination so far against two-time world title challenger Luke Campbell with the WBC interim 135lbs belt on the line.
Garcia’s potential is vast, with a 7.8 million following on Instagram that resonates outside of boxing, whilst London Olympic 2012 gold medallist Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) is battle-tested at elite level, but still chasing that elusive world crown.
Two-weight world champion Hopkins, part of Garcia’s promotional set-up at Golden Boy, feels the Californian’s blistering hand speed should prove crucial at the weekend though he is intrigued by the Hull man’s confidence.
“Anyone who knows the boxing business knows speed is power. You don’t really see power but you can hear it and definitely feel it, you know it will knock someone down or out,” Hopkins told The Sun.
“When people look at Ryan they see a skinny, nice-looking guy and they think, ‘He cannot punch hard’. But what defines a puncher? Ryan’s timing and speed makes him a puncher because he hits opponents with shots they cannot see. The punches you do not see are the ones that knock you out.
“Campbell’s experience and willingness to take this fight marks him out as a real champion. I am excited by Campbell’s confidence, he is not coming here like somebody has done him a favour.
“He is serious. Ryan is going to have his hands full and he is going to have to figure it out in the heat of battle. Ryan knows how serious this fight is and this is not Campbell’s first rodeo, so he is going in there with experience and a lot of confidence.”