Anthony Crolla vs. Jorge Linares Lightweight Title Fight Preview
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night, Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla will face Jorge “El Nino de Oro” Linares at the Manchester Arena live at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. This bout will be televised live on AWE, A Wealth of Entertainment, and will also be shown live on the internet at www.klowedtv.com.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing
This bout will be a unification bout in the lightweight division and will be for the WBA, WBC Diamond, and the vacant Ring Magazine Lightweight Championship.
The light heavyweight commonwealth title will be on the line on the undercard and will be between Callum Johnson and Willbeforce Shihepo. Additionally, Isaac Lowe will defend his commonwealth featherweight title against Tshifhiwa Munyai.
The following is a preview of the main event of the night.
Anthony Crolla (31-4-3) vs. Jorge Linares (40-3); WBA Lightweight Title
This is a matchup between the two top rated boxers in the lightweight division, a division that is quite frankly lacking in big time names.
Linares was once considered a future pound for pound star, but three losses by stoppage have since hurt his value. However, he’s still considered to be the best boxer by many in the lightweight division and is a three division champion.
Linares is thirty one years old and is two years older than Crolla. Linares will be giving up a half inch in height to Crolla, but has a two inch reach advantage. Linares has traveled the world to fight and has fought in locations such as Japan, Venezuela, Mexico, the United States, and England. Crolla has only fought once in the United States and has spent most of his career fighting in England.
Crolla will be fighting in front of a friendly crowd in Manchester, and this is a fact that does not escape Linares.
“I love fighting in my opponent’s back yard with all the noise that comes with it from their fans,” said Linares. “The supporters cannot get in the ring with their fighter, it’s just me and him.”
Linares won several tournaments as an amateur on the national level in Venezuela, but did not win any medals in any major international tournaments such as the world amateur championships or the Olympics. Crolla doesn’t have the amateur success of Linares, and he seems to recognize the technical prowess of Linares.
Crolla stated, “I rate Linares very highly, he’s technically brilliant. Everyone in the gym loves to watch him fight, and he’s the kind of fighter young kids should watch.” He went on further to state, “He likes to fight at his pace and I can’t allow that. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ve got to take advantage of some weaknesses that I think I’ve seen there. I’m confident I can do that.”
Linares’ one glaring weakness is his chin. He has three losses and they have all come by KO or TKO. His losses were to Sergio Thompson, Antonio DeMarco, and an upset of the year loss to Juan Carlos Salgado. He has notable victories over the likes of Kevin Mitchell, Nihito Arakawa, Francisco Contreras, and Rocky Juarez. However, Linares has won six fights in a row and four of his past five victories have come by way of stoppage.
Crolla has four losses on his record but only one knockout loss. His losses were to Gary Sykes (twice), Derry Matthews, and Youssef Al Hamidi. He holds victories over Ismael Barroso, Darleys Perez, John Murray, and Gavin Rees.
Crolla doesn’t have the stoppage power that Linares has. Linares has stopped twenty seven of his opponents while Crolla has only stopped thirteen. Both boxers have been very active recently. Crolla fought three times in 2014, twice in 2015, and once in 2016. Linares fought twice in 2015 and three times in 2014.
If Crolla was known for his power he’d have a good chance at pulling off the upset victory. However, he is not known for stopping his opponents and he will be in the ring with a very skilled, technical boxer. If Linares’ chin can hold up, he should win a wide decision victory. But he may want to go for the stoppage since he’s fighting in Crolla’s backyard.