Linares dropped Campbell in the second round, giving him a small but deep crescent shaped cut under his right eye, with a cracking right hand.
The champion then engaged in explosive exchanges in each round to win with scores of 115-112 and 114-113, while one judge scored the fight 115-113 for courageous Campbell, who fought his way back into contention as the match flared.
“I fought very well,” said Jorge Linares. “I’m happy with the fight. In the fifth round, I encountered some trouble but came out on top.
“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! We definitely want Mikey Garcia next.”
“No one can ever doubt my hard work,” said Luke Campbell.
“Yes, I got off to a rocky start. He [Linares] caught me in the eye. 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 connecting shots whatsoever in the second half.”