By Matt Andrzejewski
Jorge Linares scored a mild upset in his twelve round unanimous decision victory against Anthony Crolla on Saturday, Sept. 24. With the win, Linares captured the WBA and The Ring magazine lightweight titles and notched another big win in what has really been an impressive as well as underappreciated career.
Linares was once a fast rising star at featherweight and won a featherweight belt in an impressive performance against Oscar Larios on the Bernard Hopkins-Winky Wright PPV undercard. After one defense, Linares would then move to super featherweight to capture his second world title belt. However, after one successful defense Linares was starched in one round by Juan Carlos Salgado.
The manner in which the loss to Salgado occurred made Linares almost an afterthought in boxing. His career was more or less written off. But Linares came back and notched a few solid wins before facing Antonio DeMarco for a lightweight title in 2011. In a fight Linares was winning and was well ahead, he ended up wilting in the 11th to DeMarco’s pressure and power shots. In his next fight, Linares would get knocked down in the 2nd and stopped on cuts that same round by Sergio Thompson. At this point, the career of Linares seemed destined to come to an end.
It’s the three losses and manner that they occurred that made many feel Linares’ career was underwhelming. He was knocked out three times, two of which occurred early and one where he tired and relented to his opponent’s pressure late. But up to this point, he had captured two world title belts and beaten some championship level fighters rather easily.
After the loss to Thompson, Linares found a way to resurrect his career. He would win another world title at lightweight and get off the deck to score a stoppage of Kevin Mitchell in a very exciting fight last year. And now the win against Crolla makes him the man at the top of the lightweight division at the moment.
It really has been a remarkable career for Linares — a career that for one reason or another has been largely underappreciated. Linares is truly a gifted fighter and hopefully his career will be more appreciated following his latest victory.
Trey Lippe Morrison
Trey Lippe Morrison, the son of the late Tommy Morrison, made his national television debut on Friday, Sept. 23, and scored an impressive first round knockout of the previously undefeated Ed Latimore. His performance had fans on social media buzzing and certainly opened the eyes of many in the industry.
Many boxing fans have been interested in the career development of Morrison. It really started as a curiosity but buzz has been building around his raw power. He showcased that raw power in his destruction of Lattimore. There is certainly something there but there is also still a lot of fine-tuning needed.
Morrison had zero amateur fights. He is literally learning the sport on the job. As impressive as he was on Friday, his people need to make sure they move him at a slow pace. Morrison is years away from being considered any type of contender in the heavyweight division. His team must resist the temptation of bringing in more high profile televised bouts in the near future.
There is an art to moving a fighter’s career. Sometimes, an impressive national television performance is the worst thing in the long run. The TV folks often want to bring that fighter right back in a more high profile bout. And many times, the fighter is not ready for that step up in class at that particular time.
Morrison would be best suited to continue his development at a slow pace and mostly off television. His team needs to avoid the more high profile bouts that some will push for and develop his career the right way.
A Shootout in the Forecast for Friday
In this sport, we need to give proper credit when matchmaking is done right. On Friday, Golden Boy has lined up an excellent fight between lightweights Michael Perez and Petr Petrov. This fight, flying under the radar, will be nothing short of an action-packed, fan friendly fight, and is an example of how easily promoters can make good fights in this sport.
Petr Petrov knows only one way to fight and that is to press forward. The 2014 winner of the Lightweight Boxcino Tournament, Petrov often overwhelms his opponents with his aggression and volume punching. With his style, he does get hit and get hit often which makes him all the more fun to watch.
Michael Perez just can’t be in a bad fight. He is a boxer-puncher but when he gets hit his instinct is to slug. And he gets hit a lot. Perez has been involved in several action-packed fights the past few years, including wars with Omar Figueroa Jr., Fidel Maldonado and Miguel Acosta. The slugfest with Acosta was one of the best fights of 2015.
There is no way Perez-Petrov won’t be an all-out war. The styles of the two, along with their defensive liabilities, will make for a high contact affair. This is a can’t-miss fight and I encourage all boxing fans to tune in to Estrella TV on Friday night to witness it.