By: Hans Themistode
Jorge Linares has spent approximately 20 years of his life boxing as a professional. Considering his extensive amateur background as well, it’s safe to say that the Venezuelan product has seen just about everything in the ring.
Still, even with his substantial amount of experience, Linares is tasked with something he hasn’t quite seen before.
In just a few more days, the multiple division titlist will take on WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Having shared the ring with Haney for numerous sparring sessions, Linares thinks highly of his former training partner. With that said, all of that goes out the window come Saturday night.
“The motivation that I have right now is crazy,” said Linares to Matchroom Boxing. “I love this feeling. The champion feeling. This is a new challenge for me. I have a lot of respect for Devin Haney. He’s a young guy, a world champion and I respect that but Saturday night, I lose the respect for him. I’m ready to make an amazing fight.”
At the age of 22, Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) has been touted as one of boxing’s youngest and brightest stars. With the WBC title safely tucked underneath his arm, Haney, by and large, is expected to pick up the win come Saturday night.
From the outside looking in, Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) won’t deny the talent that his much younger opponent possesses. Yet, despite the speed, power and boxing skills that Haney has in his arsenal, when it comes down to it, Linares believes he has one thing that he doesn’t.
“The experience is the best thing I have. He don’t have that. He has talent.”
At the age of 35, Linares has faced some of boxing’s best over the years including Vasiliy Lomachenko and Antonio DeMarco. But while Linares is of the belief that he can rattle off a long list of experienced foes he’s fought, he believes only Haney’s most recent contest against Yuriokis Gamboa can qualify as a good learning experience.
During their showdown which took place in late 2020, Haney was mostly criticized for failing to stop the 39-year-old. Quietly, Linares tuned in to watch how their contest would play out. Although Haney managed to pick up the win, he offers a bit of advice to the young star.
“The only fight where he takes good experience is Gamboa but Gamboa is nothing for me right now. He knows that he can’t do the same mistakes that he made with Gamboa. If he try to do the same thing, I kill him. I can kill him, very quick. If I get the time, he’s going down. If I get the opportunity, I finish the fight.”
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