Jorge Linares, a skilled hitter who has been an underachiever in recent years, met Nihito Arakawa in the second televised scrap on the Canelo-Angulo PPV, from the MGM in Las Vegas. After ten rounds of this lightweight pairing, Linares, a smooth pugilist, got the nod, by scores of 98-92, 100-90, 100-90, and likely will get a WBA world title crack, against Omar Figueroa.
Some recall Linares got kayoed in round 11 against Antonio Demarco, in a bout he was winning. He got kayoed two'd in his very next bout, against Sergio Thompson, and many wondered if that was all she wrote. But he kept churning out chapters, and came in on a four-fight win streak. Ara tested him early, seeing how his chin was feeling.
The Japanese lefty gained a zillion fans with his rumble last year against Figueroa; he looked to press the issue, coming forward, in the first. Linares got comfy, and started throwing combos. He actually fought most of his bouts in Japan from 2002-2007 and speaks the language. Ara got bolder in round four, and he looked to land the left to the body, get Linares to drop his guard. Linares has swell footwork, and puts together punches well. His one-twos flows so seamlessly. But Ara's chin is also a thing of beauty, from a design perspective.
In the fifth, he ate a left uppercut, but didn't even blink harder than usual, let alone buckle. The cut on his right eye, and the swelling, didn't depress him. The Japanese boxer is a grinder, who stays in your face, even if his is sliced up. He ate left uppercut leads but wasn't discouraged in the least. Linares was cut during round eight, on his right eye brow. It came from a head clash. Ara got bolder because of the site of the slice. He grinned, smacked his gloves together, invited Linares to waltz more violently. Ara's corner told him he needed a KO to win before sending him out for the tenth. He couldn't get it, and knew he lost.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV