Entering his fifth weight class on Saturday night, Jorge Linares completely outclassed Abner Cotto with three knockdowns en-route to a third-round stoppage victory. Linares seemed completely comfortable while showing that his punching power might be more evident at a higher weight.
Sure, Linares was supposed to look good in there, but not this good. You would have had a hard time finding someone that was picking Cotto to win that fight. He was however supposed to make Linares work for his win. He is after all the natural Lightweight and bigger man.
Now that he’s gotten his introduction into the weight class out of the way, Linares will be looking for bigger and better things. With that kind of performance there’s no need to face another foe on the level of Cotto. Linares belongs at Junior Welterweight. He even looked as though he was bigger than Cotto and the punching-power difference was glaring.
Linares seems ready to compete with anyone.
So what’s next for Jorge Linares? He has plenty of choices, but let’s boil them down to the best possible ones.
Viktor Postol just hasn’t looked the same since getting dominated by Terence Crawford. Since then he’s gone on to only fight twice in a two year span. Most recently losing to blue chip prospect turned serious contender, Josh Taylor.
It’s understandable to lose to Crawford as he is on virtually everyone’s pound-for-pound list. Even a loss to Josh Taylor is not too damning considering how good he is early in his career, but that bout was flat out non competitive.
Postol is still a decent named opponent for Linares albeit he is on the downside of his career.
Linares is still new to the weight class and Postol could provide a solid test for him as he continues to get comfortable in his new weight division.
Since losing his lone professional fight to Kiryl Relikh earlier this year, Rances Barthelemy has been idle.
Not a peep, not a word.
He needs a fight and not one against just anybody. Needless to say after his performance against Relikh, along with a few other recent shaky performances, many have their doubts as to whether or not he can perform at the top level. He should want to get into the ring with someone the caliber of a Jorge Linares.
Barthelemy is not a big puncher, he is more of a pure boxer. The opponents he’s mostly struggled with have been pressure fighters and those that use their physical strength to push him back. That’s not Linares’ style so if these two did meet in the ring we could expect a lot of technical boxing.
It’s a great matchup and one that if Linares came out victorious he would be making a big statement to the rest of the division.
While the other two matchups would provide a lot of intrigue, this is the matchup most would be salivating over.
Jose Ramirez has received tons of flak for not entering in the World Boxing Super Series tournament–and understandably so. All of the other big names in his division have all signed up. If Ramirez can get a fight with Jorge Linares than a lot of the criticism he hears will end.
Linares briefly mentioned Ramirez in his post-fight speech as someone he would be interested in facing.
These two need each other. A win for Ramirez would present the best win of his career, while shelving the thoughts that he does not want to face the best. While a win for Linares would give him his fourth world title in as many divisions. There’s no need to let this one marinate. Let’s make this fight next.