Jorge Linares Dominates Anthony Crolla to Retain Lightweight Title in Huge Rematch

By Mike Sloan Mar 25, 2017
Five years ago, Jorge Linares was the victim of back-to-back knockout losses. The Venezuelan was no longer champion and in typical fashion, the fickle boxing world cast him into the gutter, a forgotten fighter.

But like the greatest fighters in the world, Linares picked himself up off the proverbial canvas and crawled back to the drawing board. Ever since Sergio Thompson knocked him out in the second, Linares never looked back. “Golden Boy” hasn’t lost since, having won 10 consecutive battles coming into Saturday’s battle with new rival Anthony Crolla. Along the way, Linares blew Javier Prieto out of the water to win the vacant WBA lightweight crown and has defended it three times, including a close but unanimous decision win over Crolla last September.

Like Linares, Crolla was looking to rebound from a heartbreaking loss. The Manchester native fought bravely in front of his rabid hometown fans in Manchester Arena in one of 2016’s finest fights, but Linares was hair better and got the judges’ verdict. Crolla promised that he’d reverse the decision when they locked horns in the same arena on Showtime in their highly-anticipated rematch, but Linares continued his magnificent dominance over the division; Crolla was in way over his head.

When they battled six months ago, the fight was as close as they come. Linares, though, switched up his gameplan ever so slightly and boxed Crolla’s ears off Saturday night, eventually silencing the raucous crowd. Linares was mesmerizing inside the ropes as he moved with the fluid grace of an eagle and shredded his adversary’s head and body with leads and counters. Though Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KOs) had his moments in the skirmish, Linares put on a clinic for the ages.

Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) nearly scored a knockout in the seventh when he sliced Crolla’s defense with a near-perfect counter left uppercut, a punch that shattered Crolla’s equilibrium and sent him sprawling to the canvas. “Million Dollar” beat the count, but he was never able to fully climb back into the fight as Linares busted him up from all angles down the stretch.

In the end, Linares was magnificent and won a surprisingly lopsided unanimous decision. All three judges saw it the same: 118-109 for the defending champion. After the bout, the Showtime broadcast team intimated that Mikey Garcia, the unbeaten WBC 135-pound king, could be Linares’ next opponent later this year.

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