On Saturday, March 25, 2017, Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) scored a dominant 12-round unanimous decision victory against Anthony Crolla (31-6, 15 KOs) to defend his WBA and Ring Magazine Lightweight titles at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom.
The fight was televised on Showtime in the U.S., and it was the rematch of their September 2016 fight, which Linares won by a close unanimous decision.
This time, however, Linares won more convincingly because he spent the earlier part of the fight boxing and moving well and because he was more successful at landing combinations in the later rounds. Linares’ improved performance may have also been caused by the respect that Crolla gained for Linares’ punching power during their first bout.
Indeed, whereas Crolla pushed forward confidently during the opening rounds of their first fight, the 30-year-old native of the UK was more cautious in the opening rounds.
Linares, a 31-year-old resident of Tokyo, Japan, though born in Venezuela, began the fight by using his left hand to control distance and to touch Crolla with jabs to the body and to the head. This tactic allowed Linares to comfortably land quick, short counters as Crolla tried to close the distance.
Crolla tried to close the distance early by ducking in between Linares’ shots and by throwing shots to the body from his high guard. However, he often began to engage without a jab and left himself vulnerable to an uppercut.
By Rounds 5 and 6, Linares was building a comfortable lead and began to land punches around Crolla’s guard. Then, in Round 7, after slipping Crolla’s right hand, Linares unleashed a thunderous left uppercut that dropped Crolla.
Crolla would gather himself enough to finish the fight, but he could not do enough to stop Linares from controlling distance and from landing hard shots from the outside.
All three judges scored the fight 118-109 for Linares, who may have a date with WBC Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia later this year.
What did you think of his victory? Who do you think wins Linares-Garcia 2?
Video: Check out the knockdown below.
All Photos by Lawrence Lustig