Jorge Linares legitimizes career with victory over Crolla
By Hector Franco
September 24, 2016
MANCHESTER,ENGLAND - Jorge Linares (41-3, 27 KOs) made the trip to Manchester, England and defeated Anthony Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) for the WBA and THE RING lightweight titles. The Venezuelan won the bout via unanimous decision with scores of 117-111,115-113, and 115-114. Linares is now recognized as the best lightweight in the world.
The fight itself was close and had sustained action throughout. Linares boxed well throughout the early rounds landing the cleaner punches. Linares made an investment in going to the body against Crolla, which played dividends for him in the later rounds. Crolla played his part in putting the pressure on Linares in every round. There were some rounds where Crolla seemed to be taking over with his pressure as he landed his own set of body punches. Going into the bout Crolla was seen as the bigger puncher. But at the end of the sixth round, Linares landed a right hand that stunned Crolla and sent him to the ropes. Luckily for Crolla, the round ended.
Crolla recovered well and went back to putting the pressure on in the seventh round. Many of the rounds could have gone either way, as one man landed the other would fire back. The combinations thrown by Linares were a thing of beauty. They came with such speed and ferocity that in many close rounds they made the difference.
What ultimately made the difference in the fight were the last three rounds. After a pair of close rounds in the 8th and 9th, where Linares seemed to be tiring, the former WBC champion took over. Linares used his movement and utilized a jab to the body to slow down Crolla from coming forward. The flashy combinations to the head and the body began to stand out. Linares also found a home for the uppercut. He started to land the punch on a consistent basis.
When the final bell rang it was clear who was the winner. Now with the victory over Crolla, Linares has provided enough proof that the hype behind him as a prospect was warranted. After two back-to-back losses to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson, many had written him off. This marks Linares’ tenth win in a row since those losses. After the fight, Linares made it clear that he would be willing to come back to the United Kingdom. A rematch with Crolla would be acceptable as the bout was exciting enough. But it would be more intriguing to see Linares unify the division against WBO lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan.
The options for Linares are wide open with the victory over Crolla. Having now had six title fights in six countries is something that should be admired. He’s fought in Panama, Argentina, Venezuela, Japan, the U.K. and the United States. In an era where fighters are not readily willing to travel and put their record on the line, Linares is a fighter who didn’t let his losses define him. Now as the reigning lightweight champion, Linares can finally celebrate knowing that he has lived up to his potential.
(Featured Photo: Getty Images)