Linares Outclasses Crolla in Manchester – Anthony Crolla’s title defense of his WBA world lightweight title against Jorge Linares was the main event of last night’s Manchester Arena boxing card promoted by Eddie Hearn. Crolla was making the second defense of his title, while Venezuela’s Linares was looking to return to the world title picture after a layoff of nearly a year.
Linares entered the contest with open questions after the layoff. At 40-3, the 31 year old former three weight class world titleholder was returning after taking time off for surgery to repair a damaged right hand. Meanwhile Crolla (31-4-3) was entering the fight in the midst of the best eighteen months of his long career.
From the outset it was apparent that Linares hit harder and was the far faster fighter, but Crolla remained determined to come forward and work his fight. Crolla showed a tendency to complain to the referee at Linares’ body punching although his trunks were pulled up high on his waist. Perhaps out of caution Linares didn’t sustain his body attack through the middle rounds and it was there that the Mancunian did his best work.
Linares re-established his superiority in the later rounds. Much was made about the fact that Linares had never gone twelve full rounds before, but the experienced Venezuelan showed his class by displaying more power and hand speed at the end of the fight. Linars was cut above the eye early in the fight but the cut didn’t seem to affect him. Meanwhile Crolla was bruising around the face and he was tiring as a result of the high pace he was trying to maintain. Linares closed the fight out the stronger fighter and the judges handed him a UD victory by scores of 115-114, 115-113 and 117-111.
Linares Outclasses Crolla in Manchester
Word from out of Manchester is that promoter Eddie Hearn worked a re-match clause into the contract, so we may very well see Jorge Linares vs. Anthony Crolla II. A unification match with Britain’s undefeated WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (31-0) is also a possibility. Linares is now 2-0 in world title fights on English soil and a return visit to the British Isles is almost a certainty.
There is word that Linares is nursing a tender hand, and with his history of hand problems it is best to be cautious and await official word from the Linares camp about his status.