Saturday, September 24 saw the crowning of a new lineal Lightweight champion, with Jorge Linares (41-3, 27 KO) defeating Anthony Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision, in Crolla’s native Manchester, England.
With the win, Linares takes Crolla’s WBA Lightweight title, as well as the WBC Diamond championship, which is often reserved for matches of a certain prestige and importance.
The majority of the fight was a similar narrative, round by round. Crolla stalked the mobile and fluid Linares, who counterpunched with combinations that consisted of precision, speed and intuitive punch variety.
Both the head and body of Crolla were being repeatedly tagged with shots of high intensity.
Crolla’s constant pressure did make it uncomfortable for Linares, but his aforementioned shot selection and speed provided the most eye-catching shots, which as a consequence, jolted Crolla’s head and body, which in turn won him most rounds in the fight.
Linares’ superior attributes were highly exemplified in Round 6, where a sharp right hand shook Crolla’s whole body, leaving him to walk back to his corner on unsteady legs.
Had there been more time in the round, questions could have been asked on whether Linares could have given the judges an early night.
Overall, Anthony Crolla was pursuing the occasionally hittable, but mostly elusive, Jorge Linares. His status as a three-division world champion was undoubtedly evident in his performance, which lead to a methodical nullification of an aggressive opponent.
However, despite Linares being the winner in most people’s eyes, there is understandably a rematch clause–as Crolla was making a voluntary defense of his WBA championship.
Eddie Hearn confirmed post-fight that a rematch would be pursued, once both fighters have deservedly recuperated.
Round 6 Highlights
Photos courtesy of Sky Sports