Saturday night at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom, Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (41-3, 27 KOs), the Comeback Kid from Tokyo, Japan, by way of Barinas, Venezuela, outpointed WBA World lightweight champion Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs), the Fighting Pride of Manchester, to win the crown by unanimous decision after 12 rounds.
The final scores were 115-114 (John Keane), 117-111 (Guillermo Perez Pineda), and 115-113 (Fernando Barbosa).
Linares hits opponents the way he hits the open road, with precision and delight.
Crolla applied pressure in the opening round, targeting the challenger’s body.
Linares returned the favor in the second, using speed and quickness to land combinations before gliding away.
Crolla was getting hit but was undeterred. He pressed forward.
The champ upped the ante in the middle rounds. He drew first blood above Linares’ eye in the fifth. Crolla was hurt at the end of round six by a Linares counter.
Crolla surged in rounds seven and eight. Linares turned up the heat in the ninth and 10th with blinding combinations.
Linares won the championship rounds. Crolla was gassed. He had been outworked. Linares’ speed and resilience won the day and the WBA World lightweight title.
“My fight plan worked and I am satisfied,” said Linares after the fight. “However, I hurt my hand in the sixth round.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight. Crolla told me he was one of my fans. Now I’m one of his fans.”
When asked about a possible rematch, Linares said, “I want to take a break and heal my hand and why not? Back to England.”
Photos by Sumio Yamada
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.